“With no college degree, an auto mechanic for a father, an entrepreneurial mother, one grandfather who was a hotel doorman and another who was a janitor, I was not the person expected to do what I have done,” says Peebles, who has also penned two business-related books.
While he was growing up, Peebles’ family had its financial struggles. “So as a teenager, I wanted to be wealthy,” says the D.C. native, now a frequent fund-raiser and active philanthropist. In June, the Peebleses hosted more than 100 people at their Bridgehampton home to benefit the Rose Brucia Educational Foundations, which works to prevent child abductions in Florida. The family regularly supports Russell Simmons’ annual East Hampton Art for Life fund-raiser in July. And in August, the couple held a fund-raiser for the president at their $8 million Tudor home in Washington, D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood.
Keeping family values close to his heart is important to Peebles. Around 2006, when he purchased the Bridgehampton escape (at $5.39 million, a fraction of the orginal $20 million asking price), the self-branded “type-A personality” made a conscious decision to ease his round-the-clock work to schedule in order to spend quality time with his wife, Katrina, and two children, Donahue,17, and Chloe, 8. “I wanted to be involved in how our son grew up, be part of our daughter’s life, be a husband who is present for my wife,” reflects Peebles. “When they lower me into the ground, do I want my kids to say, ‘Wow, there is a guy who made all this money’ or ‘There is the guy who was there when I needed him’? I want to be remembered as their father, and being my wife’s husband.”
Daughter Chloe is an accomplished equestrian, competing in the Hampton Classic and Wellington, Fla.’s FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Peebles has missed watching her compete only once—he got there, but was late. For seven years, Peebles coached his son’s Y.M.C.A. basketball team. Now, with Donahue Jr. fresh off of summer internships in finance, the men of the family talk shop, opening the possibility of The Peebles Corporation expanding into a family legacy.