Hoyt Peder Oliver, 85, died at home in Oxford on June 15, 2021. He was preceded in death by parents The Reverend Young Allen Oliver and Selma Pederson Oliver, and sister Linda Oliver Long. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, LaTrelle (Blackburn), children Laurie and Erik, and grandsons Lucas, Simon, and Arthur.
Hoyt was best known as a professor at Oxford College of Emory University, where he expanded the minds of thousands of students through courses in philosophy, sociology, and religion for forty years. However, he was also an avid gardener who shared generously, an outdoorsman who instilled that love in his children and grandchildren, a talented cook who nourished family and guests, a masterful woodworker who "released" beautiful sculptures, a vocalist who sang with his church choir for nearly sixty years, a calming counselor for couples he was to join in matrimony, a servant of the community through many civic endeavors, a true partner in leadership, an infamous humorist, a mentor, and a visionary.
As children of Methodist ministers, both Hoyt and LaTrelle had moved every few years; hence they sought to put down deep roots in one special community, Oxford. Hoyt's path was like a Möbius strip in that his post secondary academic studies and career began and ended with Emory. In addition to a certificate (AA) from "Emory at Oxford" and a BA (philosophy) from Emory, Hoyt completed a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Boston University and a PhD in Religion in Higher Education from Yale University. For three years between Emory and Boston, he served with the Methodist Board of Global Ministries as a short term missionary in Seoul, Korea. An Eagle Scout himself, he led a Boy Scout troop there and taught English in two schools. He became The Reverend Doctor through ordination into the ministry of the Methodist Church in 1962 and returned to Oxford to join the faculty of Oxford College in 1966.
A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, July 17, 2021, 2:00 PM, at Allen Memorial United Methodist Church, 803 Whatcoat Street, Oxford. In lieu of flowers, gifts in his memory may be made to Allen Memorial UMC, PO Box 117, Oxford, GA 30054, or Oxford College of Emory University Scholarship Fund, 801 Emory Street, Oxford, GA 30054.
Rejoice, smile, and laugh, for as he would say, "I've gone OHM."