Peete did not begin playing golf until he was in his 20s, but immediately excelled at a game most pros learn as young children. He learned the game while peddling goods to migrant workers in Rochester, New York, playing on the public course at Genesee Valley Park. Growing up poor, Peete suffered a badly broken arm that was never properly set. He was the leader in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour for 10 straight years, 1981–90. Peete was inducted into the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
Peete died after a long battle with lung cancer, in Atlanta, Georgia on April 29, 2015. He was 71.
Peete and his first wife, Christine, who divorced in 1987, are the parents of Charlotte, Calvin, Rickie, Dennis and Kalvanetta Peete. He was married to Pepper Peete and had two daughters, Aisha and Aleya.