Peter Joseph Orenski, born April 21, 1940 in Czernowitz, Province of Bukovina, (then part of Romania, today the city of Chernivtsi in Western Ukraine), died due to complications of prostate cancer on August 13, 2016 in New Milford, Connecticut at the Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center. Just 6 days after he was born, his family fled the advancing Russian troops to Bucharest, Romania. In 1960 the family emigrated to the United States. His father, Stefan Walter Orenstein (who changed his name to Orenski in 1945) was a biological scientist who was born in Vienna and his mother Herta Bendetz Orenstein was a musicologist born in Bukovina. Peter and his father both became United States Citizens in 1965 after his mother’s death. Peter was educated as a chemical engineer, graduating from Columbia University in 1963 and attaining the degree of PhD in chemistry in 1967. From 1967 to 1987 he worked for Union Carbide in Tarrytown, NY and afterwards he eventually settled in New Milford, Connecticut.
In the true spirit of American capitalism and entrepreneurship, he started his own business following his interest and passion in flags after he left Union Carbide. His company, TME Company, Inc., designed flags and lapel pins for people, businesses and embassies all over the world. His latest projects included the study and creation of flags for Native Americans and their tribes. Peter was active in the North American Vexillological Association as a board member and treasurer. He authored a number of important works such as “A Flag for New Milford: The Practical Guide to Creating a Successful Civic Flag”, “Quo Vadimus” (an essay on the State and Future of Vexillology), and he co-authored “Native American Flags”. He also gave presentations to the International Congresses of Vexillology. Peter has left a wealth of information and superb design work for use by future generations.
Peter was known as “Flag Dancer” by Native Americans, “The Flag Man of New Milford” by the citizens of that municipality and region and as “The Flag Dude” by nearly everyone else in the world. He travelled extensively, was fluent in a number of languages, and had close friends on every continent. He will be remembered for his patriotism and support of the Veterans’ Organizations and the town of New Milford. In 1995, he ran a contest to design the town’s flag and had the flag made; it still flies above the Town Hall. Although Peter never served in the military he had a great deal of admiration and respect for those that did. His association with the men at the Korean War Veterans Association in Danbury, CT was particularly meaningful to him. Peter was an active member who helped to raise money, work for the organization, and help prepare for the meetings. He always shared his ideas and patriotism with these American heroes. Peter’s enthusiasm, humor, and charitable good works will be missed by the many who knew him. Lillis Funeral Home is handling arrangements. There will be no calling hours but a memorial service will be held and announced in the near future. Donations may be made in his honor to the New Milford VNA & Hospice, 68 Park Lane Rd. New Milford CT 06776 and the Korean Wars Veterans Association, PO Box 2632, Danbury, CT 06813, or to the charity of your choice.