In Memoriam

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Peter Murchie Wilhelm ’48

A picture of Peter Wilhelm

Peter Murchie Wilhelm ’48, July 15, 2011, at home in North Fort Myers, Florida, from leukemia. Born in Oakland, California, Peter lost his father at seven and moved with his mother and brother to Portland, where they lived with a maternal aunt, Margaret Standish, and her husband, Miles, cofounder of Lane-Miles Standish Printing Company—a prominent Portland business and a landmark, with its distinctive corner turret. Peter graduated from Grant High School and entered Reed, where he earned a BA in economics. At 6 feet 7 inches, he was ruled too tall to serve in World War II and often spoke of how dramatically the campus atmosphere changed when the war ended and veterans came to Reed intently focused on earning their degree. He ran a campus snack bar and worked summers in the timber industry as a choke setter for a logging crew and a compass man for a timber cruiser. In 1950 he married Elizabeth Lee Bragg. They raised three children and moved to New Jersey in 1958, where Peter worked as an independent sales representative in the timber business. After a late-’70s divorce, he married Astrid Bork; the couple lived for many years in San Francisco, then moved to Rhode Island and Vermont to be close to Peter’s family before retiring to Florida. Peter’s many friends remember him as a warm, kind, outgoing man who had a vibrant sense of humor, could talk with almost anyone, did the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink, believed strongly in peace and social justice, and treasured sports and the outdoors, jazz and classical music, the many dogs in his life, and, above all, his family. Survivors include his wife, Astrid; his children—Doug, who provided the details of this memorial piece; Gordon; and Sarah-Lee Terrat—and five grandsons.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2011

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