Dr. Oliver Leon Peters, 91, died at his home in Laramie on Nov. 1, 2018. Oliver was born October 21, 1927 in Osceola, Texas on his grandmother’s farm to parents Ermine and Robert Mitchell Peters.
His early education was in a one room schoolhouse. He graduated from La Vega High School in Bellmead, Texas, and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University; the first in his family to attend college. Oliver met his future wife, Betsy Ross, at Baylor. After graduation, he worked on Capitol Hill while Betsy completed her master’s degree at the University of Maryland. He enjoyed city life in Washington, visiting museums and attending weekly chamber music concerts with Betsy at the recently constructed National Gallery of Art. They married in 1950 at Betsy’s family’s farm. He enlisted in the army and was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco during the Korean Conflict. He later completed a master’s degree at Baylor and a Ph. D. from the University of Arkansas. Drawn to live in the west after a camping trip in Colorado, the family moved to Laramie in 1964 where Oliver joined the faculty of the English department at the University of Wyoming.
He had always cared deeply for his country. During the turbulent 1960s, he supported the civil rights movement, the equal rights movement, worker’s rights, and environmental awareness. The Vietnam War caused him great distress. He did his best to raise awareness of all these issues among his students, family and colleagues. One example of this is his campaign for the reinstatement of the Black Fourteen by wearing a black armband and encouraging others to do the same. His beliefs led him to become an avid worker in the Albany County and Wyoming state Democratic Party.
His pleasures were reading, golfing, fly fishing, dinner parties, and backpacking with many friends; especially fellow professors William Steckel, Herb Dietrich, Walter Edens, Deborah Hardy, and David Tomatz.
After 20 years of teaching, he accompanied Betsy when she joined the State Department as a foreign service officer. Years of living in Bahrain, Italy, Israel and Benin followed. Their travels were extensive while stationed overseas. In 1993 when Betsy retired, they returned to Laramie where they rejoined their lifelong friends, outdoor pleasures and political activism. His worldview had expanded considerably by living in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. His interests then focused on all human rights with a global perspective.
Oliver is survived by his wife Betsy, whom he loved with his whole heart. Other survivors are his son Robert Mitchell, his daughters Elizabeth (Michael Bierer), and Sidney. His grandchildren are Kyle Stevenson Peters, Cedric Oliver Peters, Isaac Oliver Bierer, Liliana James Bierer, and Sarah Bo Abigail Peters.
The family would like to express their immense gratitude to Kimberly Shepherd, who has cared for Oliver and Betsy for the past three and one half years.
There will be a brief graveside service with Military Honors at Greenhill Cemetery on Saturday, Nov, 10 at 9 a.m. and a gathering of friends, associates, family and their friends on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Democratic Party Headquarters; the former Big Hollow Co-op building at 119 South First Street. All are welcome to attend either event.
To honor Oliver’s life, the family requests no flowers. Instead please consider donating to the Laramie Downtown Clinic or Laramie Interfaith Good Samaritan, two of the charities he supported over the years.
Arrangements by www.montgomerystryker.com