Peter D. Molan, 64, Middle East scholar

December 31, 2005

Peter D. Molan, a Middle East scholar and linguist, died Wednesday of complications from open-heart surgery performed this month at Sinai Hospital. The Tuscany-Canterbury resident was 64.

Born in Chicago, he earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Northwestern University in 1963. He joined the Army and studied at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where he learned Arabic and graduated with honors. He spent two years as a senior Arabic linguist in Asmara, Ethiopia, doing military intelligence work. From 1971 to 1972, he was a Fulbright-Hayes Fellow at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

Family members said that to finance his graduate school education in Near Eastern studies, he became a farrier, shoeing horses throughout the San Francisco Bay area. He was earned his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978, and then spent the early part of his career teaching at Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, Cornell University and the University of Provence in France.

In 1984, Dr. Molan moved to Elkridge after joining the Department of Defense as an analyst. He traveled throughout the Middle East, becoming conversant in Arabic dialects.

Dr. Molan relocated to North Baltimore in 1995 and retired from the Department of Defense in 2001, but continued to teach and consult. He spoke frequently on radio talk shows and at local colleges and universities on the Iraq war and the Middle East.

He was active in the peace movement and was a leader of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace and Women in Black. "He was strongly convinced that the Bush administration rationale for the war in Iraq was untrue," said his wife of eight years, Linda C. Barclay. "He worked tirelessly in opposing it."

He was a past president of the Tuscany-Canterbury Association.

Plans for a memorial are incomplete.

In addition to his wife, survivors include three stepchildren from a previous marriage: Joyce Donner of Spring Lake, Mich., David Carlson of Columbia and Christopher Carlson, of Seattle, Wash.; and a stepbrother, Michael Ryan, of Gold Canyon, Ariz.

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