Peirce F. Dr Lewis
Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Services P. C. - State College
1034 Benner Pike
State College, PA
Dr. Peirce F. Lewis October 26, 1927 February 18, 2018 Dr. Peirce F. Lewis, 90, died at Mount Nittany Medical Center, State College, on February 18, 2018. He was born on October 26, 1927, in Detroit, Mich., and is the son of the late Peirce and Amy Fee Lewis, of Pleasant Ridge. Mich. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Felicia L. Lewis, of State College; his son, Hugh G. Lewis and his wife, Joselyn, of Gettysburg; his three granddaughters, Gillian Desonier-Lewis and Isla and Raquel Lewis; his sister, Frances Lewis Stevenson, and her husband, John, of St. Augustine, Fla.; and his beloved nephews and niece. Peirce was a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in 1944. He served in the U.S. Army for two years before attending Albion College where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy and History in 1950. He was a member of the Society of the Sigma Xi, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Beta Kappa. He began studies at the University of Michigan towards a Ph.D. in Geography which he obtained in 1958. He married Felicia L. Stegeman, of Detroit, Mich., on February 2, 1952. During his Ph.D. studies, he was recruited to work as a civilian geographer in the U.S. Army Forces Far East Command in Tokyo, Japan where Peirce and Felicia lived from 1953-1955. They also spent a year at the University of Washington in Seattle where Peirce did a post-doctoral study focusing on geomorphology of North America. Peirce and Felicia moved to State College in 1958, when Peirce joined the faculty of Penn State University's Geography Department where he taught from 1958 until his retirement in 1995. Peirce loved everything about geography and revelled in any opportunity to share his enthusiasm for the subject with others. His acclaim as a lecturer and essayist is widely acknowledged by students and colleagues alike. His writings have received awards from the Association of American Geographers and the International Geographical Union. In 2004, he won the J. B. Jackson Award for his book, New Orleans: The Making of an Urban Landscape. He gave invited lectures for more than 100 audiences around the country, both academic and public. He was a visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley, and at Michigan State University. He received several awards for his vibrant and engaging approaches to teaching geography, including the Lindback Foundation Award, Penn State's highest award for distinguished teaching, the first Penn State Provost's award for distinguished multidisciplinary teaching, and a national award as a distinguished teacher at the college level by the National Council for Geographic Education. Peirce enthusiastically encouraged his students to truly observe the world around them. Former students often note that field trips with Peirce were a highlight of their Penn State experience. During his term as president of the Association of American Geographers, Peirce worked strenuously to improve public understanding of the nature and value of professional geography. He was also a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. He served as a geographic consultant for the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, for Pennsylvania Public Television, and the filmmaking branch of the Encyclo- paedia Britannica. Throughout the years, he was involved in many activities, including the State College Literary Club, and was an engaged member of the State College community. He co-authored the State College Borough sign-control ordinance that was adopted in 1969, and became the model for the Centre Region. He also served on the Borough Traffic Commission and multiple terms on the Borough Planning Commission where he was an outspoken advocate for responsible planning. In 2004, Peirce and Felicia jointly received the Borough Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to the quality of community life. He was a loving husband, father, uncle, and grandfather. Peirce will be greatly missed by family, friends, and the many people whose lives he touched. At the request of the family, there will be no services. Memorial contributions may be made to Schlow Centre Region Library at "Schlow Library Foundation", Schlow Library, 211 S Allen Street, State College PA 16801 or online at https://www.schlowlibr . Arrangements are being made through Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Services, State College. Online condolences may be made at
Published by Centre Daily Times on Feb. 22, 2018.
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19 Entries
Peirce was a fine individual with intellectual talent and an understanding of others. He was the type of person who one always remembers in the most positive light. While he is missed his memory lives on for all who knew him.
david werner
February 16, 2019
Everything everyone has previously said in the guestbook I heartily second...He impacted my scholastic, professional, personal life to a degree even, like no other non-family member....6 courses with him...I'd have taken more if able. Humorous, witty, kind, such a hard worker..he will be sorely missed. All my best to his family.
Jim McCrory
March 13, 2018
Dr Lewis was an incredibly gifted, passionate, and engaging teacher who had a profound impact on the way I view the physical and human landscape. He and his contributions to education will be greatly missed.
Matt Tharp
March 1, 2018
Dr. Lewis was an inspiration to me as an undergraduate at PSU from 1980-1982.He opened my eyes to the potential geography careers around me as well as the world as a whole. He will truly be missed. Rest in Peace.
Dan Urich
March 1, 2018
I owe a huge personal, intellectual, and professional debt to Peirce. As my doctoral adviser in the 1980s, he was a sage guide, a rigorous critic, and a remarkable inspiration.

Peirce continues to have a profound influence on me as a geographer, a teacher, and a person. He may be gone, but I know that some small part of him lives on in my own work, and particularly in my teaching. My sincere condolences to Felicia, Hugh and the rest of the family.
Donald Rallis
February 27, 2018
Peirce Lewis was a remarkable man. I met him as a graduate student in geography at the University of Minnesota, and he provided both inspiration and real help in my doctoral work. Though I left academic geography not long after earning my PhD, the lessons I learned from Dr. Lewis have remained with me all my life.

By coincidence, I am spending this week (February 26-March 2) teaching in the College of Communications at Penn State, and I thought of him many times as I made my way around the campus and across this part of the Commonwealth.

His was was a life well lived. May he rest in peace.
Rob Britton
February 27, 2018
Peirce Lewis was, and continues to be, my inspiration. He was a great teacher who taught me the joy of reading the cultural landscape--something I try to pass on to my students. His enthusiasm and passion was remarkable. A true scholar, a caring person.
John Harner, BS 1986
February 27, 2018
The Pierce Lewis Family.

Wanted you to know that about 30 years ago I was fortunate enough to acquire Dr. Lewis's wonderful Steinway Piano on which I have taught many students from 5 to 85 to play. What a privilege it has been! My prayers are with you.

God Bless
Doris Partridge
February 27, 2018
Dr. Lewis was one of the best professors I had at THE Pennsylvania State University .... he showed me the importance of The Christian Science Monitor as text book for the history and geography of international affairs, his explaination of the "3 ways to make rain" was something I used as a teacher in the secondary school classroom, his explaination of the "sheer geography" of how Chicago, "a location of terrible site and situation", came to be was another lesson that I've carried with me all these years, and his general enthusiasm and passing for teaching the geography of international affairs was not only entertaining, it was well worth the tuition I paid for my undergraduate education ..... Dr. Lewis, may you Rest In Peace after a job WELL DONE in the classroom !!!
Rod Dietz
February 25, 2018
Pierce's teaching added immeasurably to the quality of my life. Even now, as I prepare to travel to the southwest, I am pulling out my Raisz Map, an intellectual gift from Pierce. My geography education in the Master's program at PSU was outstanding, but nothing gave me a lifelong appreciation for the landscape like Peirce's Classes did. Condolences to Felicia and Hugh. May his memory be a blessing.
Vivian Levensohn
February 24, 2018
Peirce was a wonderful man who leaves a remarkable legacy in State College and beyond.
David Werner
February 24, 2018
Pierce was the single most influential professor of my entire education career. Three degrees and three great universities and his course, Geography 102 'How to Read the American Landscape,' remains the most enlightening moment of my life. His views on observation and assessment shaped my career, my writing and now my teaching at Penn State. I will dedicate my class on the contemporary landscape this Monday to his memory and most engaging teaching style.

As he said at the start of each of his remarkable slide lectures when he lowered the lights, 'Now I will plunge you into intellectual darkness' ...and off we went on a captivating journey of discovery.

Rest in Peace dear friend and mentor.
Paul Daniel Marriott
February 23, 2018
Felicia and Hugh,
My deep sympathies to you and the whole family for the death of Pierce. I knew him almost solely through his writings and community works, and knew him as a leading figure in the most fascinating areas of geography. It's a regret of my life that I didn't get to know Pierce, and you, during my years in State College. I wish you well.
Robb Johnsrud
February 23, 2018
Felicia,I'm so sorry for your loss. Really, the loss of *all* of us who knew Peirce. He was an important inspiration to me when I was a young faculty member; he really taught me (without realizing it) how to teach and how to write. I will be forever grateful that he also became my friend. I will never forget him.
Eliza Pennypacker
February 22, 2018
Best professor I ever had! I'm a land surveyor and think of him(and his classes) often while at work, traveling, or just out and about on my own time. I consider myself fortunate to have had him as a professor. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

PennState, BS Geography, 1996
Jonathan Ritchey
February 22, 2018
I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Lewis during my very first term at PSU, and enjoyed his fascinating deliveries in three different courses. I still quote him frequently and remember him as a superbly engaging lecturer and insightful mentor. An example of his ability to inspire: I was visited in 1980 by a cousin who was academically adrift. He sat in on "Physical Geography" with Dr. Lewis for a week. Went home and finished his semester, transferred to a geography program at Univ. of Idaho, became a cartographer with USGS and has served all over the world, including "wintering over" in Antarctica. Sorry to the Lewis family for your loss and thanks for sharing him with all of us. RJ Leach, LtCol USMC (ret)
February 22, 2018
Felicia: anyone who spent time with Pierce knows of his magical presence in a room, his wit, humility and love of the world. His enthusiastic teaching style has stayed with me all these years--I try to emulate the same energy with my own students. He was nothing less than inspirational, and so deeply admired. -Bonj Szczygiel, former student
Bonj Szczygiel
February 22, 2018
Great Professor and friend! We shall miss him.
Penn State, BS Geography, 1974
Steve Handwerk
February 22, 2018
Dear Falicia and family,
I am so sorry for your loss of Peirce who
will be so fondly remembered by us all.
Sending you much love and prayers as you grieve this loss. Sincerely, Betsy Tanabe
February 22, 2018
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