Peter Mandel Hall died peacefully on Dec. 8, at the age of 83, with his wife Debra Janes by his side. Diagnosed with cancer in 2011, Peter faced it until the end with grit, humor, and an inspiring positive attitude.
Peter was a professor of sociology, at the University of Missouri-Columbia from 1972 until moving to Fort Collins in 2009, where he was an affiliate professor at Colorado State University. He obtained his BSW/MSW (1957/1959) in social work from University of California-Berkeley, participating in the free speech movement, a precursor to the national anti-war movement. He earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Minnesota in 1963.
Peter published two books and more than 50 journal articles in many subfields ranging from symbolic interaction to environmental sociology. His remarkable productivity continued to the end. At the time of his death, he was at work on numerous projects, including a sociological memoir and an article on hydraulic fracking. Among his many accomplishments Peter was president of both the Midwest Sociological Society and the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, a recipient of the G.H. Mead award for career contributions to the field of symbolic interaction, and a member of the CSU editorial team for The Sociological Quarterly. The Peter Hall lecture series at the Midwest Sociological Society was established in his honor in 2003.
Peter’s interests included progressive politics, gourmet food, zinfandel wine, photography, Irish folk music, camping, running, hiking the Fort Collins foothills, Cardinal baseball, Mizzou sports, New York Times crossword puzzles, impressionist art, and genealogy which allowed him to reconnect with cousins Charles and Muriel.
His strong belief in equality and social justice was instilled in him by his parents, Clara and Robert, and passed down to his children and grandchildren. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Debra; children, Rachel (William), Daniel (Cindy) and Carrie (Nick); grandchildren, Maude, Elly, Kate, Keaton, and Micah; siblings, Robin (Sara), Sally, Tony (Lisa), and Molly (Abe).
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction and Midwest Sociological Society’s Peter Hall Lecture Series, Southern Poverty Law Center, or a charity of your choice.
Contributions to the Hall Lecture Series may be sent to:
Dr. Lisa-Jo van den Scott
Department of Sociology
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7