John Stafford Peale

Published 5:55 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

Sept. 2, 1936 – April 22, 2022

The Rev. Dr. John Stafford Peale, a scholar and teacher who loved the life of the mind, died peacefully April 22 at his home in Charlottesville. He was 85.

Dr. Peale was a professor of Philosophy and Religion for his entire 38-year teaching career before retiring from Longwood College (now Longwood University) in Farmville in 2000.

He is survived by his wife, Lydia Woods Peale of Charlottesville; children, Laura Poplack (Steven) of Redwood City, California; Cliff Peale (Pepper) of Covington, Kentucky and Lacy Peale of Arlington; grandchildren, Rachel Poplack, Maggie Peale, Emma Poplack, Dan Peale and Jacob Peale and sisters, Margaret Peale Everett of Sherman, Connecticut and Elizabeth Peale Allen of Pawling, New York.

John Peale was a philosopher at heart, always with thousands of books in his home and a cluttered desk where you could find him early each morning. In 1985, he published his first book, “Biblical History as the Quest for Maturity,” through Edwin Mellen Press. He dedicated the book to Lydia, “who knows both what it meant and what it means.” He was a tennis player, a runner and a dedicated fan of North Carolina basketball.

John and Lydia loved to travel, particularly with family. Starting in fall 1990, they spent a year in Beijing, China, teaching at the Foreign Affairs College and traveling throughout China. The trip sparked John’s love affair with all things Chinese. In all of their pursuits, John and Lydia were guided by their Christian faith, their belief in the power of intellectual study and their hopeful vision of a more just and compassionate society for all.

Dr. Peale was raised in New York City and Pawling, New York. After graduating from Deerfield Academy, he graduated from Washington & Lee University in Lexington. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Boston University, a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of North Carolina.

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at 2 p.m., on Monday, May 2, at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 Rugby Road in Charlottesville, VA.