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1938 Porter "Peter" 2022

Porter "Peter" Woodbury Dawley

October 27, 1938 — November 23, 2022


Porter(Peter) Woodbury Dawley Jr. passed away peacefully Wednesday, November 23rd at the
Gardner Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Gardner, MA at the age of 84. Peter was born on
October 27th, 1938 in Gardner, Massachusetts to the late Porter W. Dawley Sr. and Dolly
(Ferguson) Dawley of Westminster. Subsequent to his graduation from Gardner High School in
1956, Peter became a Pre-Med major at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Following his
post-secondary education, Peter shifted his attention to the family business, beginning a long
career with Dawley and Shepard and the Westminster Cracker Company; a company started by
his great great grandfather in 1891. Peter knew all of the jobs in the bakery and was an officer
of the corporation. Westminster Crackers became famous for their production of the common
cracker, thin and thick saltines and the ever popular oyster cracker. The Westminster Crackers
breading factory was sold to Pillsbury in 1982. However, Peter retained the rights to make
In 1988, The Westminster Cracker Company was re-incorporated in Rutland, Vermont. As
President of the Company, Peter resurrected Westminster Crackers, enhancing distribution up
and down the east coast and across the country. Peter was a brilliant and shrewd business
man, a true entrepreneurial success. Ordering a bowl of soup anywhere in the U.S. is likely to
be served with a small package of Westminster’s famous oyster crackers. Peter enjoyed the
satisfaction of having rebuilt the business from the ground up. He retired from Westminster
Crackers in 2002.
Peter was an Eagle Scout. He was an avid skier. He quite enjoyed any and all thriller novels
written by Robert Ludlum. However, most notably, Peter was a talented drummer. He had a
great affection for some of the most talented drummers in the world including Buddy Rich,
Steve Gadd and most recently Frank Bellucci. He always traveled with a pair of drumsticks and
practiced any time that he could. Peter’s quick wit and humor will be greatly missed.
Peter leaves behind two sons, Porter W. Dawley III of Longview, WA. Eric G. Dawley and his
wife MaryBeth of Westminster, MA. His grandchildren JuliAnna S. Dawley and Jack W. Dawley
of Westminster. He also leaves a brother David Dawley of Hanover, NH along with nieces,
nephews and cousins.
A private Memorial Service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be
made to the Oakmont Regional High School Music Department. Checks made out to ‘AWRSD’
with ‘Oakmont Music’ on memo line of the check. 9 Oakmont Dr., Ashburnham, MA. 01430

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