Greenhouse Canada

Remembering Robert B. Peters

July 22, 2015  By Dr. Cari Peters

July 22, 2015, Allentown, PA — It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of Robert (Bob) Peters, 97 years old, founder of the Robert B Peters Company.

The mentor, father and grandfather passed away peacefully surrounded by his family this past weekend in Allentown. He was a true floriculture chemist who designed and formulated the earliest Peters Fertilizer Products that still carry his name today.

Born October 12, 1917 in Hanover, Pennsylvania, he was the oldest of six brothers. He made his home in Allentown where he started his first business, Peters Horticultural Services, in his mother’s garage in 1947.


Bob was happily married for over 50 years and has four children, 13 grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

His passion for plant nutrition began in 1947 after he completed his service in the U.S. Armed Special Services during World War Two.

He received a degree in floriculture from SUNY Farmingdale and completed much of his research at Cornell University in the 1950s and 60s with Dr. Ray Sheldrake.

He began his journey of crafting fertilizer by traveling the east coast visiting greenhouses and taking samples back to his home laboratory for analysis. He loved helping growers solve the problems they faced when growing plants; he is affectionately remembered driving his army jeep from greenhouse to greenhouse.

His vigorous sense of wonder about fertilizer had a wide range from the earliest days of growing roses hydroponically to later in life as an avid orchid collector.

He formulated many of the most popular water-soluble blends that are still popular with growers today, including Peat-Lite Special and his patented Excel technologies.

Bob joined his family at JR Peters Inc. making the Jack’s Fertilizer products for the last 25 years.

“My Dad was such an integral part of plant nutrition, he realized there was a need for high quality, water soluble fertilizer in the early 1950s,” said Jack Peters, CEO of JR Peters Inc.

“He spent his life designing products that address the nutritional problems that are seen most often during lab testing. It was so meaningful to have him by my side for all these years, he will be missed by us all.

“His legacy in the industry will be carried on through the growers that use his “True Blue” Solution to grow beautiful plants all over the world.”

Bob’s granddaughter, Dr. Cari Peters, follows in his path as the third generation Peters Family in Allentow.

“I always hoped that I would get some time to work with my grandfather in our company’s lab. He truly was an inventor that possessed a passion and love for horticulture and the chemistry that makes the plant grow.

“I will always treasure the time we shared together getting our hands blue. I cherish these memories and look forward to continuing the high quality standard started by my grandfather many years ago.”

A memorial service will be held Friday, July 24 for family and friends at Schisler Funeral Home, 2119 Washington Ave, Northampton, PA 18067.

You can also see more about Peters life story at

Condolences can be sent to the family through the JR Peters Facebook page at:

To continue Bob’s passion for our local horticulture industry, memorial contributions may be made to the Penn State Extension Floriculture Program Endowment within the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, Office of Development, 240 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802.

To send your memorial contribution online to the Penn State Extension Floriculture Program Endowment, please follow the link below.

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