Peter H. Fries

LSA regrets to report a longtime member and supporter, Professor Peter H. Fries, 85, of Mt Pleasant, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at My Michigan Medical Center Midland.

Peter was born on June 18, 1937, in Ann Arbor, Mi., son of the late Charles and Agnes (Carswell) Fries. Peter received a Bachelors in German studies from the University of Michigan and continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a PhD in Linguistics. He married the love of his life, Nancy McDowell, on May 16, 1964. Peter retired after many years of Linguistics at Central Michigan University. He enjoyed traveling, birding, gardening, supporting many philanthropic organizations and clubs.

Peter and Nan (It’s hard to separate the two) were very active throughout their lives and around the world, promoting linguistics research and supporting those expanding the field. Included were visits to “Koko” the Gorilla, who used ASL to converse, and many other zoological organizations around the country. Their travels, by trusty van, included stopovers with family, friends, colleagues, and former students. Though they wintered in Tucson, surrounded by many friends, Mt. Pleasant was their home.

Peter is survived by his brother, Robert McMillan Fries (Leslie); many great nieces and nephews; and a world of “children, grandchildren” and communities of friends. He was preceded in death by both parents; wife, Nancy McDowell Fries in 2019; brother, Charles Carswell Fries; sisters, Carolyn (Carol) Fries Emshwiller, and Corinne Fries Dick. Peter’s memorial service will be held at Charles R. Lux Family Funeral Home in Mt. Pleasant, Mi., on Saturday, August 26, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Following the service, all are invited to a luncheon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Red Cross. Envelopes are available at the funeral home. To sign the online guest book or leave a condolence for the family, please visit