Peter David Tessner, 68, of Hartford, Connecticut, died on Wednesday, July 31, after a rapidly progressing illness.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was a graduate of Marquette University High School, and he earned two Bachelors' degrees (zoology and philosophy) and a Master's degree in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Peter then studied conceptual foundations of science at the University of Chicago, where he coauthored "Planck's Principle," published in Science.
A devoted husband and father, Peter was married for more than 35 years to Martha Risser. Their daughter Agnes ("AJ") recently graduated from Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy and will be attending Wellesley College in the fall. He is remembered as a gentle, loving, committed, and involved parent. Peter enjoyed volunteering at Noah Webster Microsociety Magnet School when his daughter was a student there. He started a chess club, was a lunchroom volunteer, and especially enjoyed helping students discover the magic of reading.
An avid reader, Peter's wide-ranging literary interests included such authors as Barbara Cassin, Charles Darwin, Edmund de Waal, Jacques Derrida, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Seamus Heaney, Susan Howe, David Lee Hull, Tove Jansson, K?jin Kartani, Giacomo Leopardi, Pablo Neruda, Celeste Ng, Thomas Pynchon, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ali Smith, Qiu Xiaolong, and Carlos Ruiz Zafón. He enjoyed traveling and lived for several months each in Athens, Kyras Vrisi (near Corinth, Greece), Barcelona, and Shanghai. Just a few weeks ago, he returned from a family trip to Pisa and Kyras Vrisi.
Peter was predeceased by his parents, Ernest Anthony Tessner and Agnes Zimar Tessner. He is survived by his wife, Martha Kay Risser, his daughter, Agnes Judith Tessner Risser, his mother-in-law, Judith Risser, his sisters-in-law, Laura Wahlen and Kathleen MacAvaney, his brothers-in-law, Mark Wahlen and Paul MacAvaney, his nieces and nephews, Andrew Voit, Amber Schroeder, Kevin Wahlen, Kelly MacAvaney, Dennis MacAvaney, Sean MacAvaney, and their families, and by his friends.
Donations in his memory may be made to Real Art Ways, an organization in Hartford that was a meaningful part of Peter's life.
Published in The Hartford Courant on Aug. 5, 2019