Dustan Berkley Peak

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Dustan Berkley Peak, known as “Dusty,” unexpectedly died in his sleep August 17 at his home in Malibu. He was 58 years old.

Born July 30, 1951 in Santa Monica to Marguerite and Howard Peak, Peak spent his early childhood in Santa Monica, Calif. before moving to Dallas, Texas to live with the extended Peak Family. “In 1959 he returned to Malibu where his parents purchased one of the first houses built on Point Dume,” wrote son Skylar Peak in an e-mail to family, friends and the press. “In that same house, Peak later raised his family.”

In 1966 Dusty Peak was elected the first student body president of Malibu Park Junior High (now Malibu High). As a teenager, he was named most valuable junior lifeguard at Zuma Beach. Peak graduated from Santa Monica High in 1969. He was drafted into the Vietnam War shortly thereafter but was released due to an ankle injury sustained while playing football in high school. He took up electrical contracting during the 1970s, working for Hart’s Electric and started Peak Power Electric in 1978, which flourished until the present.

In June 1980, he married Denise E. Mervel.

“Dusty lived life to the fullest extent possible,” wrote Skylar Peak. “He was an all-around waterman and raised his family to share his passion for the ocean, for surfing, and nature.

“He fought to protect the ocean and land in his beloved Malibu and became a passionate advocate for the environment at city council meetings and community gatherings … most recently, he was campaigning for the establishment of a marine reserve off of our local coast.”

Peak was diagnosed with a severe staph infection following exposure to dirty ocean water in 2002. Radical surgeries ensued in 2002 and 2003 to correct the damage caused by the infection, but they left him handicapped. However, he took up kneeboarding in order to stay in touch with the ocean.

Skylar wrote, “Dustan ‘Dusty’ Peak will be remembered for saying, ‘There is a beautiful thing in life; you are either a participant or a spectator-you make the choice.’”

Peak is survived by his wife, Denise; son Skylar; and daughters Alicia and Ashley. A brother, Martin “Marty” Peak, born in 1954, preceded Peak in death at the age of 21 in 1975.

Services are to be announced.