Richard Carl Peters

Memorial services for Richard Carl Peters, 92, Lawrence, will be held at a later date. Richard passed away on Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at his home.

Richard was born on March 20, 1928 in Frankfort, Kansas the son of Carl and Hazel (Cisne) Peters. His childhood was in part defined by the Great Depression and World War II, with the family relocating repeatedly throughout the Midwest, and his father frequently absent due to work. Despite the hardships, he recalled his childhood as being quite happy. He became an Eagle Scout in 1942, while living in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, at 14 years of age. The family returned to Kansas City in 1943, and Richard graduated from Westport High School in 1945.

World War II ended before he could join, but Richard enlisted in the Army after the war, serving first in the Infantry, and then as a draftsman with Corps of Engineers, to include a six month stint in the Aleutian islands. After separating from the Army, Richard began his architecture studies at the University of Kansas with the help of the GI Bill and the Army Air Force ROTC. His studies were interrupted in 1951, when he was called back to active duty during the Korean conflict. Richard remained an officer in the Air Force Reserve, occasionally being recalled to active duty, such as during the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and ultimately retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1976.

Richard separated from active duty in 1953, returned to KU, and completed his architectural degree in 1954. He worked for several architectural firms following graduation, and in 1957, at just 29 years of age, decided to start his own firm. The early years were difficult, but with experience and incremental successes, the firm grew and later merged with another practice, becoming larger still. Richard stayed with his firm for 33 years, and was very proud of their many projects, to include the following:

Deerfield Elementary School, Babcock Senior Apartments., Haworth Hall and Child Development Center., Lawrence City Hall, Lawrence Public Library, Edgewood Public Housing, Frank Carlson Federal Office Building in Topeka, Maupintour Travel headquarters {now KU Extension}, Alvamar and Lawrence Country Clubs, the Golf Course Superintendents Headquarters, First Baptist Church, Westside Presbyterian Church, and his personal favorite, the home he designed and had built for his family in Lawrence.

He married Mary Kathleen Denny in 1951. They celebrated their 50 year anniversary in 2001, and were blessed with three children and five grandchildren. Kathy passed away in 2007, but Richard was delighted to find a second “love of his life” in Carol Louise (Freeman) Owen They were married on May 18, 2008 in Lawrence, Kansas. She survives of the home.

Richard was a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA); a past president of the Kansas Chapter of the AIA; a distinguished alumnus of the KU school of architecture and a prior visiting professor at the school; a past member of the board of directors for the Lawrence National Bank, United Way, and Cottonwood; past president Lawrence Country Club; past elder and trustee for the Westside Presbyterian Church; and a 50 year member of Rotary.

Other survivors include his children, Chris (Julie) Peters, Coralville, Iowa, Laura Peters, Overland Park, KS, John Peters, Wellington, KS; step-children, Dan (Connie) Owen, Overland Park, KS, Sarah Bourgeois (Rod) Old Greenwich, CT, Cisley Thummel (Rob) Leawood, KS; sister-in-law, Virginia Kinsch, Topeka; nephews, Greg Peters, Middletown, CA, Brad Peters, Overland Park, KS; grandchildren, Cole, Jake, and Caleb Peters, Hailey Vincent, Ethan Rackham, step-grandchildren, Garrett and Ben Owen, Daniel and Mark Bourgeois, Caroline and Joe Thummel; great-grandson, Liam Peters. He was preceded in death by his beloved brother, Harold Peters.

Richard was a self-avowed “car nut”, who chronicled the dozens of cars he had owned, beginning with his first, a 1931 Chevrolet coupe with a rumble seat. He never met a dog he didn’t like, and he and Kathy raised two litters of AKC-certified Beagles early in their marriage. Richard obviously loved architecture and design, and always cherished having met Frank Lloyd Wright as a student at KU. Speaking of which, he has been a lifelong fan of all things Jayhawk, and of his adopted hometown of Lawrence.

Richard also loved to travel, beginning with trips to both Montana and Florida when he was merely 16 years of age. Alone, with Kathy, later with Carol, and frequently with close friends or extended family members, Richard visited all fifty states, and multiple countries around the world. Most of all, though, Richard loved people. Family, of course, who he cherished dearly. Friends, as well, who he had in amazing abundance. Professional associates, also, who valued his input, as he did theirs. Strangers were just people he hadn’t gotten to know, yet.

Richard’s love of life, of people, and of new experiences, will be missed by all who knew him.

Memorial contributions may be made in Richard’s name to the Salvation Army or Family Promise, and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

11 Condolences

  1. Lynne Umbarger on January 2, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Dick was a wonderful part of my life while I lived in Lawrence 1995-2000 and attended West Side Presbyterian. He was definitely a man to emulate with his sweet smile, constant kindness, and care for everyone around him. May God bless and comfort all the family!

  2. Eric Ragland on January 2, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    A wonderful man. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family. God bless and god speed.

  3. Nancy Hedrick on January 3, 2021 at 1:42 am


    I am so sorry about the passing of your dear Father. There is nothing more difficult than losing a parent. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time. May you feel the presence and love of your Dad deep within your heart and may you always find comfort in his spirit and the special memories that you shared together.

    With Heartfelt Sympathy,

    Nancy Hedrick

  4. Linda L Trotter on January 3, 2021 at 7:31 am

    So sorry for your loss. DIck will be missed by many. I knew him as a friend and neighbor, an employer, and a business man who contributed much to the Lawrence community. My thoughts and prayers are with his entire family.

  5. Regina Fagan on January 3, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Knowing Richard but a short period of time and learning of some of his many accomplishments, we consider it a privilege to know of him and some of his friends. We are very sorry for his loss.

  6. Kathleen Argersinger on January 5, 2021 at 7:13 am

    Thinking of you Carol, knowing how much you will miss this special gentleman you shared so many wonderful times with. I can tell your relationship was a special blessing to each of you. Sending prayers and condolences.

  7. Dale Glenn on January 5, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Without Dick, my career would have taken a much different path. I joined his firm while I was teaching at KU, and quickly learned that my education was continuing as well.
    Dick was an entrepreneur, a developer, a mentor, and a leader who took chances and was successful. His mantra was to surround himself with people who worked harder and were smarter than he was. He never succeeded in that, but he kept trying. He was one of the best, and I’m proud to have been a friend.

  8. Larry Hatfield on January 5, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Dick was a real gentleman and professional. Always enjoyed being around him no matter the situation. Condolences to Carol and family. Larry Hatfield

  9. Dan and Julie (Larson) Rea on January 6, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your dad, Chris and family. A piece of history feels gone with a dad’s passing. I hope you feel God’s presence and the comfort of your loved ones and friends as you go through mourning his loss.

  10. Dan and Julie (Larson) Rea on January 6, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your dad, Chris and family. A piece of history feels gone with a dad’s passing. I hope you feel God’s presence and the comfort of your loved ones and friends as you go through mourning his loss.

  11. Iris Fischer on January 6, 2021 at 2:26 pm


    My condolences to you and your family on this enormous loss. I met Richard only once, but Hans always spoke of him as a gentleman and a fine architect. My thoughts are with you.

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