Peter Easton graduated just a few years after World War II. Raey Webster finished when Elvis Presley was king. They finally met when American Sniper was one of the biggest things on the silver screen.
It was 2014 and Raey had just purchased his mother’s condo in Naples, FL. One day, he noticed Navy Aviator Wings on a door two doors down the hall.
Raey knocked. Peter answered. A friendship was born.
They quickly discovered that they not only shared a U.S. Navy connection but also had both graduated from the Toms River Campus of Admiral Farragut Academy — Peter in 1949 and Raey a decade later. As they compared notes, the men realized they had a lot in common, including rocky starts at Farragut.
Coming from public school during ninth grade, Peter failed four out of five subjects his first year. And when Raey enrolled, he was a self-proclaimed “show off with disciplinary issues.” Through hard work, committed teachers (Raey cites Cedric Lewis, to whom the 1959 Trident yearbook was dedicated), and solid friendships, the boys turned to men, and then to the Navy.
Peter graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and spent his career as a Naval Aviator. In Vietnam, he was among the first pilots assigned to the Grumman A6 Intruder. After being promoted to Captain in 1974, Peter’s final duty — his “dream tour” — was as Defense Attache to the Republic of Singapore.
Lured by “warm weather and not having to wear a necktie” Peter and his wife Kathy retired and managed a small hotel in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he captained a seaplane shuttle until moving to Naples in 2010. Throughout the years, Peter remained especially close to Farragut roommate Frank Herosher, as well as classmates Joe Kelly, Leo Brandenburg and Pat Dollard.
Meanwhile, Raey’s path also took him to the skies. From Farragut, Raey attended Mercer College and then became a Navy Aviator. Early in his military tenure, Raey took advantage IBM’s free computer classes for Navy personnel. That led to a 25-year career with the tech giant.
These days, Raey splits his time between New York City and Naples, while also traveling the world. He is an avid art enthusiast and runs daily. As for Peter, he has a summer home in Virginia Beach, enjoys golfing weekly and is a very active member of his condo association — the same condo where he met Raey.
Both men are grateful for their Farragut experience and have given generously to their alma mater. Both are looking forward to reunions this fall during Alumni Weekend on the St Petersburg campus. It will be Peter’s 70th and Raey’s 60th.
Until then, they’re thankful to be only two doors down.