Roberta (Peck) Vater, 90, of Manchester, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 27, 2019. She was born on December 25, 1928, in New Britain, CT, daughter of the late Robert J. Peck and Doris Peck-Wilkins. Roberta was raised in New Britain, attended public schools and was a graduate of New Britain High School. She earned her B.S. and M.S. from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Roberta was a gifted jazz vocalist and an accomplished professional musician, performing and composing throughout her life. One of the highlights of her musical career was recording an LP at Columbia Records in 1967, produced by John Hammond, who was instrumental in furthering the careers of luminaries like Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and Bruce Springsteen, among many others. Roberta had the honor of performing at the iconic Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, and with renowned musicians Woody Herman, George Benson, Red Norvo, and Clark Terry. She sang for many years in collaboration with talented musicians at a variety of Connecticut venues, including the 880 Club and Black Dog Taverns. Roberta was a well-loved teacher of piano and vocal music, both privately and at the Hartford Conservatory, as well as at Manchester Community College, where she taught performing arts workshops. Immensely proud of her family, Roberta passed on her love of music to her children and grandchildren, and leaves behind many beautiful memories. She is survived by her two daughters: Karen (Vater) Iuliano and her husband, John, of Naples, FL, and Debra (Vater) Sansone of Windsor, CT; four loving grandchildren: Kristen (Iuliano) Gould and her husband, Mark, of Charlotte, NC, John Iuliano and his wife, Laurie, of Dedham, MA, Grace Sansone of Hamden, CT, and Lucy Sansone of Windsor, CT, as well as two great-grandchildren: John and James Iuliano, of Dedham, MA. Roberta also leaves five surviving siblings: Lois Shaw of Hamptonshire, England, Warren Peck of Punta Gorda, FL, Linda Peck of Redlands, CA, Brenda Lugo of Bloomfield, CT, and Susan Fagan of Wethersfield, CT; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families. Calling hours will be held on Friday, February 1, 2019, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, at the Manchester Funeral Home, 142 East Center Street in Manchester. Funeral services will be celebrated on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at 10:00 am at the funeral home. Burial is private. Memorial contributions may be made, in lieu of flowers, to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation in New York City, or to Boston Children’s Hospital. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.manchesterfh.com
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