Welcome to the memorial page for

Carl A. Peterson

December 21, 1930 ~ March 1, 2017 (age 86)

The Piano Brothers

Carl Adrian Peterson, 86, Emeritus Professor of English at Oberlin College and former Chair of the Department, died Wednesday, March 1, in Oberlin. He was born in Warren, Pennsylvania in 1930. He received a BA in History and English from Pennsylvania State University and a PhD from University of Wisconsin, Madison with a concentration in 18th and 19th century English literature. He joined the Oberlin College English Department, of which he was a member for 39 years, in 1958 teaching courses on the British novel, seminars on "text and image", incorporating the Allen Memorial Art Museum collections and workshops on nonfiction writing in the Creative Writing Program. Additionally he taught in the Oberlin-in-London Program, with a focus on theater literature and performance, published on 18th century poetry, literary illustration, architecture, Victorian poetry, as well as Pre-Raphaelite art. He chaired the English department for seven academic years, between 1981 and 1995, retiring in 1996. In 1956 he married Thalia Gouma-Peterson, a Fulbright graduate student and native of Athens, Greece. Her career focused on Ancient and Byzantine art, as well as contemporary women artists. Throughout their 44 years together, (she died in 2001) the couple travelled extensively in Europe pursuing mutually shared interests in historical sites and museums. For the last 12 years of his life he was a resident and active member of the Kendal at Oberlin community, where he participated in many organizations, most notably the Website Committee, on which he served as chair and the Play Readers Group as both a director and performer. He is survived by sons Gregory of Waban, Massachussets; his wife, Gillian Payne; their three children, Alex, Julia, and Aiden and Christopher of South Orange, New Jersey; his wife, Tiffany and their son, Elliott; other surviving family members include his sister, Dorothy Sarver; nephews, Jim and William Peterson and nieces Mary Amtmann, Meg Spernoga and Anne Kuhns. In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made to the Kendal at Oberlin, Staff Vacation Fund. A Memorial Celebration of Carl Peterson's life will be held Sunday, May 28 at 2 P.M., in the Kendal at Oberlin Main Auditorium. Online condolences may be made to

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