Dr. Peter William Schramm, 68, passed away peacefully, cared for by his wife and friends, at home in Ashland, Ohio, on Sunday, August 16, 2015.
Peter was born December 23, 1946, in Gyor, Hungary, son of the late William Joseph and Rose Anna Schramm. He and his family risked their lives to flee communist Hungary in 1956 to come to America. Peter’s father had always told him, “We were born American, but in the wrong place.” So, for his tenth birthday, his father gave him America.
Peter’s family started Schramm’s Hungarian Restaurant in Studio City, California, and he worked there as a waiter while attending Hollywood High School and California State University Northridge. His love of books and learning led to a B.A. in History in 1971; an M.A. in Government from Claremont Graduate School in 1975; an M.A. in International History from The London School of Economics in 1976; and a Ph.D. in Government from Claremont Graduate School in 1980.
Out of gratitude for the freedom that had been given to him, and love for all that was worthy of love in his adopted country, Peter devoted his life to studying and teaching the principles of American freedom.
He was the founding President of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, whose mission is to restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful place in American life. He served in the Reagan Administration as the Director of the Center for International Education in the United States Department of Education. Beginning in 1987, he served as Associate Director, Executive Director, and Senior Fellow of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ohio, whose mission is to restore and strengthen the capacities of the American people for constitutional self-government. As a full professor at Ashland University and Director of the Ashbrook Scholar Program, Peter was a beloved teacher to generations of students, who learned from this immigrant the foundations of American self-government and the virtues required of a free people.
Peter was a great souled man, with a love of life that was contagious. He gathered cherished friends around him wherever he was, including his students, and enlisted them in the joyous pursuit of everything that is good and beautiful and true. His gift for teaching was part of his gift of friendship, and the soul of it was love: love of the inexhaustible goodness of the world, in the light of which Peter sought to live; love of his friends; and love of America. As he wrote to a friend in his last days, “I cannot believe my great good fortune that nearing the end of life I can—with friends and happy allies—employ whatever gifts I have left on behalf of saving our country and making it worthy of the saving.”
Survivors include his wife Sally of Ashland, Ohio; daughter, Emily Scott (Jeremy) of Ashland, Ohio; son Joseph Schramm of Mansfield, Ohio; daughter Bekky Schramm of Columbus, Ohio; son USMC Sgt. John Schramm (Erin) of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; grandchildren Jacob Scott, Giselle Schramm, and Jack Schramm; a sister Marta Batche (Leonard) of Campobello, South Carolina, and a niece and nephew.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, August 20, at the Ashland Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 308 Claremont Avenue, Ashland, Ohio. Friends may call from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel at Ashland University on Friday, August 21, beginning at 2:00 p.m. Friends may call beginning at 1:30 p.m. The interment will take place at the Vermillion Cemetery in Hayesville immediately following the memorial service.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Peter W. Schramm Scholarship Fund at the Ashbrook Center, 401 College Avenue, Ashland, Ohio 44805.