Peter Karl Meyer, 63, retired E.R. physician who made exploring the coast his full-time job

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Peter Karl Meyer
Peter Karl Meyer

Dr. Peter Karl Meyer, 63, died on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. He was a loving husband, exceptional father, dedicated physician, talented writer, inquisitive coastal naturalist and an exemplary role model to many.

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Peter received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Zoology from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He subsequently received a Doctor of Medicine Degree from the Ohio State University, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Following his medical residency at Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem, Peter packed up his Volkswagen Bug, and, along with his dog, headed for the North Carolina coast, settling in Wilmington.

Dr. Meyer practiced medicine in the Emergency Department at Cape Fear Memorial Hospital, MedCare Urgent Care and as medical director of UNCW Student Health. He was board-certified in emergency medicine and maintained a special interest in hazardous marine animals. In 2011, Dr. Meyer retired from medicine and made his passion for exploring the coast his full-time job.

As a naturalist with an insatiable curiosity about the coastal environment, Peter’s keen interest in his surroundings motivated him to explore, investigate and learn everything he could about plants, animals and coastal ecosystems. With a special ability to translate difficult-to-understand scientific information into less-technical language, Peter’s goal was to write so that the general public could learn to appreciate the value and wonders of the coastal environment.

Since retiring from medicine, Peter, and his wife, Cathy, were coast-walkers, hiking every coastal beach of North Carolina and many more beyond. Thousands of miles were trekked on Masonboro Island, which was a truly special and inspirational place for him. Through his writing and fieldwork, he hoped to instill in others respect and concern for the environment and the earth we all call home. Peter authored five books, including Nature Guide to the Carolina Coast, as well as many medical and nature articles.

Aside from coast-walking and writing, Peter enjoyed running, biking, playing soccer, reading, drawing, photography, and catching, cooking and eating seafood, especially blue crabs.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William George Meyer and Helen O’Hara Meyer.

Peter shared a treasured life with, and is survived by his best friend and wife of 32 years, Cathy; sons, Ben and his girlfriend, Katie, and Jason, and his wife, Sarah; sister, JoAnn, and her husband, Col. Bear McConnell; brothers, Michael, and his wife, Jenny, and Patrick, and his wife, Sandy.

A memorial service to celebrate Peter’s life will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 6, at The Tides neighborhood marina.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

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