It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of former Old Trail School headmaster Peter G. Wilson on September 3, 2021, the date of his 85th birthday.
Peter left behind an incredible legacy built on kindness, integrity and dedication to his love of education. Peter first arrived at OTS in 1981 to begin his tenure as headmaster. During his time, he stabilized the school—increasing enrollment from 275 students to 530; oversaw the construction of the Meyo Library and renovations of Alderfelder and Burton D. Morgan halls; continued to refine the OTS curriculum; and built a lasting endowment that our community continues to benefit from today.
“I believe it is only with time and the benefit of perspective that we can truly understand the degree to which we are shaped by the people in our lives,” said Board President Tom Eaton III ’92. “Peter made an indelible mark on me during those formative years at OTS, as I know he did on countless others in our community. He was a great example of how to lead and treat others with humility and grace. To quote Benjamin Franklin, ‘To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.’ Farewell Mr. Wilson; you will be missed.”
While the Old Trail community mourns this tremendous loss and offers deepest condolences to his wife and best friend, Lois, and the entire Wilson family, we know Peter’s indelible spirit lives on in each of us and in every Old Trail student—past, current and future.
Katie Keith Dettling ’95, P ’31
Mr. Wilson was not only the steadfast headmaster for my entire nine years at OTS, but an influence far beyond. First and foremost, he was an important champion in my unusual pursuit of career as a professional ballerina. Mr. Wilson saw the value in pursuing a passion, even at just 11 years old, and was so supportive in those important early years. This support laid the foundation for 20 years employed as a performing artist, but just as importantly, the foundation to now serve other young people through owning a ballet school in the very same community!
Molly (Vollman) Makris ’95
Mr. Wilson was a warm and kind headmaster. I transferred to Old Trail halfway through first grade and at first was an incredibly nervous child, but he always made me feel comfortable and like Old Trail was my community. I remember his smile and his friendly winks. He helped to create a learning environment at Old Trail that has been an inspiration to me throughout my career in education and academia.
Galen (John) Maynard ’92
Mr. Wilson played a special role in my time at OTS and his darkroom kindled my lifelong love of photography. The time I spent in his class working with a pinhole camera, developing 35mm film, and learning how to use the tools in the OTS darkroom are among some of my fondest memories of my time at Old Trail.