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Obituary: Robert Williams Peters


Dr. Robert William Peters was born Sept. 3, 1921, and died March 25, 2011. He was 89 years old. He was a resident of Chapel Hill, N.C., for 41 years. Dr. Peters was a World War II veteran, having served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He graduated from Ohio State University and was a professor in Pensacola, Fla., and then in Hattiesburg, Miss.

In 1969, he founded the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Robert W. Peters Award Fund was established to honor students with demonstrated interest in research and the potential to contribute to research. Dr. Peters chaired the academic program in speech and hearing until 1981.

Dr. Peters is survived by his wife of 53 years, Helen Peters; his two children, Colin Peters and his wife, Erica Ernst, of Chicago, and Sheila Barnett and husband, James Barnett, and their children, Shannon and Jason of Walkerton, Va. He is also survived by a former daughter-in-law, Sarah Kelder, and Colin and Sarah’s son, Thibaut, of Bowling Brook, Ill. Other survivors are his nieces, Janet Werner, and her husband, Lance, and their children, Jessica and Michael, and Judy Van Englehoven and her husband, Evert, and their children, Andrea, David and Daniel; and his nephew, Roger, and his wife, Kathy, and their daughter, Kristin. He is preceded in death by his parents, William Peters and Janet Peters (Morris), and his sister, Margaret Lundquist. Special friends include his co-workers Joe Hall of UNC, Brian Moore of Cambridge England and Kaitlyn Wilson.

Funeral services will be held Friday, April 1, 2011, at 11 a.m. at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 632 Laurel Hill Road, Chapel Hill. Graveside services will be held Saturday, April 2, at noon at Shepherd’s United Methodist Church, 163 Fleets Mill Road, St. Stephen’s Church, Va. Visitation will be on Thursday from 6 till 8 p.m. at Walker’s Funeral Home, 120 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill.

The family would like to thank Raquel Pena, Pastor and Alex Sibrian for their loving care of Robert and Helen Peters. He was also treated very kindly by the staff at UNC Hospitals. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Aldersgate United Methodist Church or to the Building Fund for Shepherd’s United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 245, St. Stephen’s Church, VA 23148.

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