Another piece of old Andover has been lost with the passing this fall of Peter Loosigian. A fixture at Strawberry Hill Farm on Lowell Street for most of his 91 years, Pete had come to be known as the old farmer who could always be spotted either driving a tractor, working his way through the brambles of the raspberry patch, or kneeling amid rows of strawberries or vegetables ripe for harvesting. Growing things was his love and true calling on the scant 10 rocky acres that had been his family’s home for nearly 100 years.
Peter made his first appearance in the front bedroom of the 1830 farmhouse on a cold day in February 1921, the youngest child and only son of Armenian immigrant parents. A good student, he was the proud winner of the Barnard Essay Contest during his Punchard High School years. Soon after, he joined the Army Air Corps during World War II, serving in the Pacific. His military training led him to a post-war job at Watson Park, a chemical company in Ballardvale.
Around that time he got lucky, meeting and winning the hand of Alice Arozian, an attractive and vivacious art school graduate from Watertown. She would have to make a huge adjustment to farm life when Peter decided to turn his folks’ subsistence farm into a viable business. And that he did, with her help and that of other family members who regularly pitched in, including their daughter Lisa, sons Jon and Peter, his sister Bertha, and nephew John Durgerian.
And so, for more than 60 years Strawberry Hill would be synonymous with the man himself. The farm was his main source of pride and the true love of his life. He knew every inch of it like the back of his hand and worked it tirelessly seven days a week spring, summer, and fall.