Cover photo for Peter Torczynski's Obituary
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1986 Peter 2023

Peter Torczynski

May 7, 1986 — December 5, 2023

Peter Vincent Torczynski, 37, of Edgewood, New Mexico, passed away on December 5, 2023, at his parents' home in Albuquerque after a brief time on hospice. Peter was born on May 7, 1986, in Albuquerque to John and Jeanne Torczynski. He is survived by his parents, his younger sister, Karen Simmons, her husband Phil, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins, all of whom loved him and will miss him.

From his earliest days, Peter was interested in "real things" and technology. When he was young, he had collections of sprinkler parts, flashlights, watches, and electronic components, especially LEDs. His collections were bolstered by Saturday-morning trips to Builder's Square and Radio Shack, which were fortunately nearby. His interest in watches led to a sixth-grade science-fair project on how temperature affects the accuracy of watches, which won an honorable mention at the New Mexico State Science Fair.

When a friend gave him an old computer in the mid-1990s, Peter discovered the first great passion of his life: computers and information technology. The household telephone was typically unavailable for long periods of time due to his use of the dial-up modem. During this period, Peter acquired more and more old computers and began learning about how they worked in detail.

Peter was home schooled from his earliest days through high school, which allowed him to study computers quite deeply. When in high school, he worked independently to achieve an A+ computer certification. During this period, Peter also worked as a student intern at Wavefront Sciences, a local optical-technology company, where he learned to program in Visual Basic. Motivated by a family vacation to Crater Lake, he wrote a computer game depicting a battle between two mythological monsters. In his senior year, Peter was selected to be a National Merit Finalist and also received a Lockheed-Martin college scholarship.

Peter began studying information technology at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 2004 and graduated in 2008 with a B.S. degree. During the summers, he worked as a student intern at Sandia National Laboratories. Upon graduation, he accepted a staff position at Sandia Labs, where he stayed until 2020. During this period, Peter held several information-technology positions and earned multiple Cisco computer-networking certifications. In his spare time, he also built many computers for himself and for family and friends.

During this time, the same friend introduced Peter to what would become the second and third great passions of his life: adopting rescue cats and working on cars, especially Jeeps. In 2009, Peter acquired two rescue cats, Lucky and Princess, whom he loved dearly the rest of their days. After buying a house in Albuquerque in 2009, Peter embarked on his first serious car project, restoring an old Honda Accord that he had previously bought from another friend for $150.

In 2017, Peter moved from Albuquerque to Edgewood to get away from the hubbub of city life. This move provided Peter with much more space to work on cars, including a barn that was repurposed as an auto shop. Over the next few years, Peter brought his vehicle total up to 8: 5 Jeeps, a Ford F250 pickup truck, the Honda Accord, and a Honda Civic. The extra space also allowed him to expand his flashlight and computer collections to include many vintage models.

Shortly before moving, Peter discovered the fourth great passion of his life: 3D printing. During his time in Edgewood, Peter first acquired and then built many 3D printers. He taught himself how to use CAD programs to design household items, artistic creations, and even car parts. Peter also frequently made plastic parts for his family and friends, like custom brackets that his parents could use to hang stained glass pictures made by his sister. Toward the end, Peter got to the point of even using 3D printers to build other 3D printers.

Music also played an important role in Peter's life. As a child, he took piano lessons and progressed to the point of being able to play many hymns, Christmas carols, and worship songs. In college, he took up the guitar, first acoustic and then electric, and helped lead worship at Intervarsity meetings. Toward the end, Peter enjoyed occasional jam sessions with his Uncle Steve over the internet.

By 2020, various health issues had gotten to the point that Peter had to separate from Sandia Labs and go on long term disability. In his last 2 years, Peter adopted two more rescue cats, Ash and Xenia. With their love and affection, they filled the void in his life left by the passing of Lucky and Princess.

Peter also identified as Petra during this period. This was a very difficult announcement to make to the family. However, the family never wavered in their deep love, their desire to maintain this vital relationship, and their commitment to always be there to help whenever help was needed. Petra understood and appreciated this, even when some of his family continued to call him Peter.

In mid-November of 2023, Peter's health took a serious downturn, and he entered the hospital, where it was discovered that he had end-stage liver disease. Although his medical team did everything possible to help him, his body did not respond to the treatments.

A high point during his time in the hospital was a three-day visit by his aunts Patty and Pam (Jeanne's sisters) and Patty's husband Steve. Their visit was instrumental in helping him return to the faith of his earlier days. Peter passed away at his parents' home about a week later.

Peter was a kind, sensitive person and a loyal friend. He had a gentle sense of humor, he loved learning, and he valued time alone to think deeply about important matters. Finding the truth and doing his best were both very important to him. Peter was gifted with the type of mind that could master the intricacies of many kinds of technology. He was always generous in using his knowledge and skills with computers, cars, and other types of technology to help others, especially family and friends.

Peter was a dearly loved and invaluable part of our lives. He will always be deeply missed. "Good night, sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

No public memorial service is planned. Remembrances of Peter can be sent to the family at RememberPVT@gmail.com. In lieu of sending flowers or other gifts, donations in his memory can be sent to Animal Humane New Mexico at AnimalHumaneNM.org.

This is an addendum to Peter’s obituary. The obituary refers to “the faith of his earlier days”, and we, his parents, wanted to expand on that. When Peter was 5 years old, he heard the Bible story of Nicodemus from John Chapter 3. Included in that passage is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Peter was intrigued by the fact that Nicodemus had gone to Jesus at night, and the next day Peter told Jeanne that he had gone to Jesus at night to believe. He continued in his faith, and his faith grew most strongly in the first few years in the Intervarsity group in college. However, later in college something went wrong. Although we were never able to understand exactly what that was, we did know that Peter felt like he needed God but God was not there. He eventually turned away from his faith. In a letter posted on Facebook a few years later, Peter wrote “If I'm wrong and there is a real God, I'm sure that I will eventually find this God.” We believe that Peter did return to God in his final days. During his first days in the hospital, Peter told a pastor friend that he was an atheist. However, starting with that conversation and during the next few days, the Lord, in his infinite grace and mercy, provided Peter with many opportunities to hear strong testimonies of God and His faithfulness, particularly in times of difficult struggles. Many of these conversations were from people whom Peter knew loved him dearly. We saw Peter’s heart softening. John had a conversation with Peter just before he lost his ability to communicate, and we believe at that moment he chose to humble himself and recommit himself to the Lord. Although we are in the midst of the heartrending sorrow and grief of losing his physical presence, ultimately the most important thing is that Peter is now in the presence of the Lord and will be for all eternity, made new and at peace. Praise God!

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