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Obituaries » Carl Peter Resek

Carl Peter Resek

June 29, 1929 - May 27, 2016


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On May 17th Carl Resek Ph.D. died at home in California under the compassionate care of Hospice of Petaluma and his beloved wife.  The cause of death was leukemia.

Dr. Resek was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia on June 29, 1929, to Drs. Felix and Sonya Resek, both successful pediatricians. The family owned a large home in the center of the city where Carl lived with his parents and older sister Judith. He fled Prague with his parents and sister within six-weeks of the Nazi invasion. They escaped shortly after the S.S. came to their home, searching for Felix, an active Zionist. Fortuntely, Felix was not at home and the family left the city that night. Their escape route took them through Germany to Denmark, Great Britain, and finally to New York.  Both his parents practiced medicine after the family settled in Kew Gardens.

Carl graduated with honors from Brooklyn Technical High School where he was on the chess team. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. He and his first wife, Kate Resek, raised their children, John and Susan, in Leonia New Jersey.  They were divorced in 1985.

Dr. Resek was a scholar of American Social and Intellectual History, with a particular interest in the progressive movement of the early 20th Century. He taught at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College. From 1970 to 1972 he served as a senior member of the planning staff for the new campus of the State University of New York to be founded at Purchase. He subsequently assumed the title of Dean of Humanities at SUNY Purchase and served in that position from 1971 to 1990.

His most distinguished awards were a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Fulbright Lectureship at the Ionian University in Corfu, Greece. His publications included “Lewis H Morgan, American Scholar;”  “The Progressives,” and “War and the Intellectuals, the Collected Essays of Randolph Bourne.”

Dr. Resek and his wife, the art historian, Dr. Shirley Blum moved to the Adirondacks in 1988 where they lived for many happy years on Ledge Hill Road in Westport. Less than two years ago they moved to Shirley’s home town of Petaluma California.  Always an outdoorsman Dr. Resek lived a rich and satisfying life, pursuing his love of music, paddling on the waterways, hiking Adirondack trails and late in life he began rock climbing. His voice might be heard from time to time in a contentious letter to the Valley News or Maureen Dowd of the NYTimes.

Dr. Resek is survived by his two children, his son, Dr. John Resek and wife Judy Cohn PA, and daughter, Susan Resek L.C.S.W.; stepson, Jason Blum and wife Lauren Schuker Blum; three grandchildren, Anna Resek, Ethan Miller, and Roxy Blum; and his wife and life’s companion of thirty years, Shirley Blum. The family wishes to thank the Adobe Creek Funeral Home of Petaluma and request that any memorial donation go to the Hospice of Petaluma, 416 Payran Street, Petaluma, CA 94952.