Peter Edwin Gerschefski, 84, of Maggie Valley, passed away on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at his home with his wife by his side.
Pete was born March 21, 1936, in New York City. At age four, he moved with his family to Spartanburg, South Carolina, where his father was appointed to the faculty of the School of Music, Converse College. After completing kindergarten, elementary and junior high schools in Spartanburg, Pete graduated from Phillips Academy, (Andover, Massachusetts), after what he would later often describe as the happiest and most productive years of his educational experience. Pete attended Yale University (B.A., 1958), University of Southern California (M.A., 1960) and Florida State University (Ph.D., 1962) .
Pete’s professional career included college music teaching and music administration. After teaching courses in music and mathematics at Converse College (1959-60) and holding graduate teaching assistantship positions at FSU (1960-62), Pete accepted the position Assistant Professor at North Carolina Wesleyan College (Rocky Mount, North Carolina) from 1962-65. His primary responsibilities there included starting a college band program, and teaching courses in music theory and composition. A non-instructional highlight was his assignment as Chairman of the Self Study Committee and author of the college’s first Self Study (SACS) in 1964-65. Pete left NC Wesleyan in 1965, and, after advancing to the rank of Associate Professor at University of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina 1965-71), accepted the position of Music Department Head, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Two years later, in 1973, on the death of Harold Cadek, Pete initiated and cemented a partnership between the (pre-college) Cadek Conservatory of Music and the University. He was appointed director and served the Conservatory administratively until 2002. In 1981, Pete was awarded an Alumni Distinguished Service Professorship, a citation which he proudly held until his retirement from full-time teaching in 2005.
In retirement, Pete and his beloved wife, Sheri Melton, enjoyed traveling and sharing time between their condos in Edisto Island (South Carolina) and Maggie Valley (North Carolina). Especially exciting and gratifying were the personal and professional accomplishments of their respective children: Ann Gerschefski (Sherman, Connecticut), professional Broadway musician and real estate agent; Jake Hardesty, M. Danielle, son Eliot (Rockford, Illinois) college teacher; Susan, M. Nick Frigerio (St. Louis, Missouri) financial planning; Jim Arnold (Chattanooga, Tennessee) wholesale shipping coordinator.
Pete was preceded in death by his mother, Ina Magnuson Gerschefski, and father, Edwin Otto Gerschefski.
In addition to his wife, Sheri, and children mentioned above, Pete is survived by sisters JoEllen Wade (Carol Diamond) (Candler, North Carolina), Martha Gerschefski (Clint Schaum) (Inman, South Carolina), Michael Gerschefski (Hiawassee, Georgia) and John Gerschefski (Jean) (Orrs Island, Maine).
The care of Mr. Gerschefski has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at "Obituaries" at www.wellsfuneralhome.com