Theodore (Ted) James Peters, age 82, of Eau Claire, WI died unexpectedly while mowing his lawn the afternoon of September 20, 2016.
In the final week of his life, Ted biked 14 miles, swam in the Eau Claire River, worked in the yard, had meals with good friends, tracked the new adventures and challenges of his grandchildren, and even played a round of golf with a good friend the morning of his death. As he said frequently, he lived a wonderful life.
Ted was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 21, 1934. He grew up in Lamont, Michigan where he went to a one-room school house. He attended the University of Michigan where he met Karen VandenBerge, his lifelong best friend to whom he was married for sixty years. Once he identified his chosen career path in speech pathology, Ted very quickly received his college degrees: a Bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University in 1961; a Master's degree from Western Michigan in 1964; and a Doctoral degree from Michigan State University in 1967. (The unusual speed was partly due to having four children in a one-bedroom student-housing apartment.) Upon completion of his doctoral degree, he taught at UW-Madison from 1967-71. He was then hired as Chair of the Communicative Disorders Area at UW-Eau Claire in 1971 and continued teaching at UW-Eau Claire until his retirement in 1993. As a college professor, his students, colleagues, and clients appreciated his integrity, expertise, and compassion. Ted published numerous articles in professional journals and a textbook (in collaboration with Barry Guitar), Stuttering: An Integration of Contemporary Therapies, in 1980 which continues to be used in many college classrooms across the country.
Ted lived a full and active life. He had a lifelong love of the water, growing up with a home on the Grand River and frequently boating on Lake Michigan. For the last thirty years, he lived on the Eau Claire River, where he loved boating, swimming, working on the lawn, fixing paths, shoring up the bank, and any other "upkeep" work that he could dream up. He swam with Karen most every day in the Eau Claire River in the summer, taking a long swim the day before he died. Ted loved to canoe and kayak with Karen, often by moonlight, on Lake Altoona, the Chippewa River, and on the Mississippi. It was on the Mississippi that he kept his houseboat, the "K2," where he took many trips with family and friends that he documented. They camped all over the country and Canada, including a trip this summer to favorite Indian Lake in the U.P. with sister- and brother-in-law, Jane and Bob. Ted was an avid reader, especially of American history and professional materials (even on vacations). He was always politically informed and he was always a socially engaged community member. Ted was an early member of the Unitarian Church where he enjoyed the sense of community and friendship that it provided.
Ted was also a wonderful father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. His emphasis on education, personal integrity, professional achievement, and family is exemplified in his four children: JoAnn, Lisa, Gretchen and Doug. Ted remained very active and interested in his children's lives right up until his death. He was always attentive in conversations, offering incisive questions, and always offered unconditional support.
Ted would say that his most important legacy is his grandchildren. Ted and Karen embedded in their grandchildren a sense of the inherent value of education, hard work, achievement, and adventure; Kira is following in her grandparents' footsteps as a STEM teacher in NM, Nissa is a manager at a food co-op in NM, Alex and Zack are geologists at a gold strike in Arizona, Elek is a student in Beijing, Mara is studying music in Vienna, Anna just returned to college after a summer giving trail rides in Glacier, Sid plays hockey at the University of Minnesota, and Jake is studying engineering at the U of Kansas.
Most of all, Ted will be remembered for his compassion and caring and his tears at every good-bye.
A private service is being held by the family.
The family suggests memorials to Feed My people.
Obituary and tribute below found on Hulke Family Funeral Home website.