College Remembers Professor Emeritus Edward S. Perzel

Edward S. Perzel, 81, professor emeritus in the UNC Charlotte Department of History, passed away on June 16, 2020, in Bristol, Tenn. Perzel served as chair of the Department of History, president of the faculty, and associate dean of what was then called the College of Arts and Sciences.

He began work at UNC Charlotte as an assistant professor in 1965, with a specialization in U.S. colonial and frontier history as well as the local history of the Charlotte region. Perzel received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati and a doctoral degree from Rutgers University.

He was the recipient in 1978 of the NCNB (now Bank of America) Award for Teaching Excellence and co-author of the book The Echo of the Bugle Call: Charlotte’s Role in World War One, a history of Camp Greene.

Among his many contributions to the university, the college and the community, Perzel conducted two important oral history projects in the 1970s and 1980s. With one project, Perzel and his students greatly expanded J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections’ Oral History Collection, with their interviews in 1979 of people from across Mecklenburg County about their lives in the Charlotte area from the 1890’s through World War II, in cooperation with WSOC radio station.

The second oral history collection is a series of 16 interviews he recorded in 1987 and 1988 with UNC Charlotte founder Bonnie Cone about the creation and development of the university. He conducted a number of interviews with Cone in the 1970s and 1980s, and these 16 were recently added to the publicly accessible collection.

Upon his retirement from UNC Charlotte in 2000, he and his wife Ellie moved to Ashe County, where they built a house, and he began taking art classes. He was involved with the Ashe County Arts Council, serving 14 years on the council’s board and as president for three years. He was president of the Paul and Florence Thomas Art School for eight years.

Friends and family note that he never tired of figuring out how things worked, and was enthusiastic about sharing his discoveries. He also shared his strong commitment to a well-rounded education and enjoyed being “found” by some of his favorites long after his retirement from the university, they say.

Arrangements and more details are available here.