Peter Cline

Peter Cline

Peter Cline in the classroom at Earlham.

Earlham College has lost a beloved member of its faculty. Peter Knox Cline, 66, professor of history, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, March 29, 2008, at Reid Hospital.

Peter planned to retire from Earlham in May after 32 years at the College. Friends had gathered in the Richmond Room at 4:00 p.m. on Friday for a retirement reception honoring him. When Peter did not arrive, a colleague went to his residence and found him in distress. He was taken to Reid Hospital and sadly died the following afternoon.

Peter came to Earlham in 1976 with a B.A. from University of Wisconsin, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Deeply committed to the power of the liberal arts to enrich students’ lives, Peter read widely, deeply and thoughtfully, passing his vast knowledge on to his students. Peter excelled at leading classroom discussions, usually sparked by a wicked sense of humor. He gave considerable time to grading student papers and he often returned them with extensive comments.

Peter was trained as an historian of Great Britain. Over the years, he taught courses on British history and early modern Europe. He taught for many years in Earlham’s Humanities program, and since 2002 had taught the General Education Earlham Seminar and Interpretive Practices courses. He was teaching a Philosophy of History course this semester.

Peter was associate academic dean from 1988 to 1990 and served several turns as director of the Humanities program.

Peter was born in La Crosse, Wis., in 1942 and raised there. In 1964 he married Ann Esch, also of La Crosse, Wis., in London, England. They divorced in 1977, but remained close. She predeceased him in 2001.

Peter’s parents, Edgar Allen Cline and Audrey Marie Knox Cline, also preceded him in death. He is survived by his three siblings, Judith Deng of Indianapolis, Ind., Stephen Cline of Stamford, Conn., and Kathleen Cline of Kent, Wash. He is survived by one niece and three nephews, Tania Deng (Earlham Class of 1987) of Indianapolis, Brian Deng (Earlham Class of 1988) of Encinitas, Calif., Dr. Stephen Deng of E. Lansing, Mich., and Andrew Cline of Stamford, Conn. He also is survived by two great-nieces and two great-nephews, Alexandra Deng, Emily Deng and Michael Deng of Encinitas, Calif., and Geoffrey Deng of E. Lansing, Mich.

The family held a memorial service for Peter at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 14, 2008, at Stout Meetinghouse on the Earlham College campus.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Peter Knox Cline Memorial Scholarship, Earlham College, Advancement Office, 801 National Road W., Richmond, Ind. 47374.

Friends, please note that commenting for this memorial is now closed. To download a PDF of all comments left for this memorial, please click here.

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