In Memoriam

William Creighton Peden, III (1935-2016)


William Creighton Peden, III was born July 25, 1935 in Concord, North Carolina. He received a B.A. from Davidson College in 1957, an M.A. in Theology in 1960 and an M.A. in Divinity in 1962 from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in 1965 from St. Andrews University, Scotland. Peden was the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Philosophy at Augusta University, where he remained in residence until 1990. At Augusta, he designed and directed the Cullum Third World Culture Program, which was selected in 1979 as one of the ten most innovative programs by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He was the founding executive director of the Georgia Consortium for International Education (1970-1973), served on state and national panels for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts, and received numerous research and travel grants.

He retired in August of 2008 after twenty-one years as president of the Highlands Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought (now IARPT). Peden was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the American Philosophical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the North American Society for Social Philosophy, and a Fellow of the Society of Philosophers in America. He chaired fifteen international conferences, served as a United States Information Services professor, and lectured at over forty universities in twelve countries.

Peden was the founding editor of the Journal of Social Philosophy from 1970 to 1983 and the founding co-editor of the American Journal of Theology & Philosophy from 1980 to 1991. Peden also served as a contributing editor for Religious Humanism from 1992 to 2007.

He was founding president of the North American Society for Social Philosophy (1983-1990), was co-editor of ten volumes in the Social Philosophy Today book series, and remained on the editorial boards of Philosophy and Social Criticism, the Journal of Social Philosophy, and the American Journal of Theology and Philosophy.

In addition to his editorial duties, Peden wrote over 100 articles and chapters, as well as being the author or editor of over 20 books, including:

  • Wieman’s Empirical Process Philosophy (1977) – author
  • H. N. Wieman’s Creative Freedom: Vocation of Liberal Religion (1982) – co-editor with Larry Axel
  • H. N. Wieman’s Science Serving Faith (1987) – co-editor with Charles Willig
  • Whitehead’s View of Reality (1981) – co-author with Charles Hartshorne
  • The Chicago School: Voices of Liberal Religious Thought (1987) – author
  • The Philosopher of Free Religion: Francis Ellingwood Abbot, 1836-1903 (1992) – author
  • The Chicago School of Theology: Pioneers in Religious Inquiry, Vol. I-II, (1996) – co-editor with J. A. Stone
  • The Collected Essays of Francis Ellingwood Abbot (1836-1903), American Philosopher and Free Religionist, Vol. I-IV (1996) – co-editor with E. J. Tarbox, Jr.
  • Civil War Pulpit to World’s Parliament of Religion: The Thought of William James Potter, 1829-1893 (1996) – author
  • Essays and Sermons of William James Potter (1829-1893), Unitarian Minister and Free-Thinker, Vol. I-II (2003) – co-editor with E. J. Tarbox, Jr.
  • A Good Life in a World Made Good, Albert Eustace Haydon, 1880-1975 (2006) – author
  • Pragmatism and the Rise of Religious Humanism, The Writings of Albert Eustace Haydon, 1880-1975, Vol. I, II, III (2006) – co-editor with John Gaston
  • An Intellectual Biography of David Atwood Wasson (1823-1887): An American Transcendentalist Thinker (2008) – author
  • Evolutionary Theist: An Intellectual Biography of Minot Judson Savage, 1841-1918 (2009) – author
  • Empirical Tradition in American Liberal Religious Thought, 1860-1960 (2010) – author
  • Life and Thought of Bernard Eugene Meland: American Constructive Theologian (2010) – author
  • Life and Thought of Henry Nelson Wieman, 1884-1975 (2010) – author
  • Christian Pragmatism: An Intellectual Biography of Edward Scribner Ames, 1870-1958 (2011) – author
  • From Authority Religion to Spirit Religion: An Intellectual Biography of George Burman Foster, 1875-1918 (2013) – author
  • Religion of Democracy: An Intellectual Biography of Gerald Birney Smith, 1868-1929 (2014) – author
  • From Evolution to Humanism in 19th & 20th Century America (2015) – author

Howard Radest (1928-2014)


Howard was active in numerous Humanist and Ethical Cultural organizations, and the author of nine books and numerous articles. He also was an active member of The Highlands Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought and presented his intellectual autobiography to the Institute in Highlands, NC several years ago.

Howard is survived by his wife, Rita, of nearly 63 years, two sons, Robert and Michael, their wives and five grandchildren.

Spencer Lavan (1937-2016)

Longtime member of (H)IARPT, Rev. Dr. Spencer Lavan,  passed away on September 29, 2016. Spencer was a Unitarian Universalist minister and served as President and Dean of Meadville Lombard Theological School. He authored two books, including Unitarians and India: A Study in Encounter and Response, published in 1991. To read more about Spencer’s life and work, click here.

Donald Klinefelter (1937-2017)

Don Klinefelter, longtime member of IARPT and retired professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, died on October 10, 2017 at the age of 79. Don participated in the very first HIARPT member’s book seminar, organized around Nancy Frankenberry’s 1987 work, Religion and Radical Empiricism.

Don was born Oct. 19,1937, in Beaver Dam, Wisc. Don’s roots are firmly and lovingly established in the college town of Northfield, Minn., where he graduated from Northfield High School (’55) and from Carleton College (’59). Awarded Danforth and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, he received a divinity degree at Chicago Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Don began his teaching career at Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisc., in 1967, joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga in 1969, and was a visiting professor at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., 1974-75. He retired from UTC in 2003, after 30-plus years, having taught religion, philosophy, humanities, and medical ethics. He had a special rapport with young people and thoroughly enjoyed his students, his teaching, his colleagues, and many wonderful friends he met on trips and at professional meetings. He was privileged to have spent several semesters at the Ecumenical Institute of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., and a year at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. He received UC Foundation awards to study at Harvard, Edinburgh University, and King’s College, London, and traveled as well for study in Poland and India. Don served for many years on the Ethics Committee of Erlanger Hospital; he authored a number of scholarly articles, and he received Distinguished Service and Outstanding Teacher Awards from the College of Arts and Sciences. Don was known for his wonderful sense of humor, generous spirit, insightful teaching, and deep appreciation of all his mentors and opportunities. He often commented on his gratitude for his parents and his hometown. His great loves in life were his entire family, his friends and classmates, travel, his church, listening to the radio and reading newspapers — no computers for this guy! Don was preceded in death by his father and mother, Donald and Hedwig, and brother and sisters-in-law, Tom, Barb and Kathy. He is survived by Elizabeth, whom he married in 1963, daughters, Sara (Jimmy) and Anna (Tom); grandchildren, Trenna, Jacob and Jade; sister, Sandy; brother, Paul (Anne); beloved in-laws and several nieces and nephews.