Durham, NC- Peter Anton Klem died peacefully surrounded by his daughters at home on October 26, 2016 from congestive heart failure. He was born to the late Frederick and Olya Klem on June 7, 1937, in Binghamton, New York.
Peter spent his younger years in Binghamton, New York raised primarily by his Grandmother. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in English from Cornell University, his Medical Degree from State University of New York. During the Vietnam War, he served in the US Army as a Captain and physician. He moved to Colorado to raise his daughters and dedicated a lifetime career to work as community-based psychiatrist. He moved to Tennessee and taught at the medical school at Vanderbilt. He lived the past 13 years in Durham, North Carolina to be close to family and to write his book.
He pursued and received a Master’s Degree in Literature from Vanderbilt University which he used to help write his lifetime research project, an ambitious book called Life’s FAQs Answered addressing ten of life’s great questions. He completed this project of over 30 years this past December 2015, and it is now available on Amazon.com.
Peter was a true renaissance man who enjoyed all types of art. He was a talented pianist who explored all genres of music. He shared his love of music with his children and grandchildren by teaching them piano and taking them to concerts. He had a profound love of movies and cinema. He was a film critic and wrote movie reviews for independent papers in Denver, Colorado. He attended the Telluride Film Festival faithfully for decades. He traveled the world and often took his family with him.
Peter was a very spiritual man and found himself at home with the McMannen United Methodist Church where he played organ, sang in the choir and with The Boys of Summer. He was a man of service and volunteered hundreds of hours delivering food to those less fortunate with Meals on Wheels.
More than anything, he was a loyal and committed family man and friend. He was an adoring and doting father, grandfather, and uncle who made sure his family was always taken care of. His grandchildren provided the air he breathed, and he loved his nephews deeply. He was a dedicated friend who remained in contact for decades.
Peter is survived by his loving daughters, Rachel Klem of Durham, and Mimi McLaughlin of Chapel Hill, grandchildren Mara, Jack, Aidan, Miranda and Grace, his loving brother Malcolm Travis and nephews Josh and Oscar Travis.
Peter is preceded in death by his parents, Fritz Klem and Olya Travis, Stepfather Harvey Travis and sister Mitzi Klem.
A memorial service will be held on November 19, 2016 at 11am at McMannen United Methodist Church in Durham. There will be a reception directly following.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Peter Klem’s name to: McMannen United Methodist Church: http://mcmannenumc.org/online-giving; Meals on Wheels, Durham: http://www.mowdurham.org/donor-information; Duke Libraries Annual Fund: https://www.gifts.duke.edu/library.
Please feel free to contact Mimi McLaughlin at (919) 360-1033. Arrangements for the Klem family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral service. On-line memorials: www.hallwynne.com.