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Valentina Peguero-Lawlor

After a long illness, Valentina Peguero-Lawlor passed away in her Stevens Point home on November 26, 2022.

Valentina was the younger daughter of Angel Maria Peguero Muñoz and Isabel Reyes de Peguero. With her older sister, Eusebia, and her two younger brothers, Angel and Rafael, Valentina grew up in Dajabón, the Dominican Republic.

She dedicated herself to family and faith and had a special love for reading and studying. Her dedication led to a beautiful family life and a successful academic career at the Catholic University in Santiago, the Dominican Republic, where she held various positions, including chair of the history department, director of personnel, director of the library, and acting vice-chancellor.

When the Dominican Republic was affirming its status as a democracy rather than a dictatorship, Valentina Peguero and her co-author, Danilo de Los Santos, published a widely read text on Dominican history: Visión general de la historia dominicana. This text, written in straightforward Spanish by two young but experienced historians, became a formative and memorable work for a generation of Dominicans.

Valentina Peguero and William Lawlor met in 1974 in graduate school at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Lawlor was studying for his doctorate, and Valentina pursued her master’s degree. After receiving her degree, Peguero returned to the Dominican Republic; upon finishing his Ph.D., Lawlor accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

To bring the two together again, a hurricane had to occur. In 1979, Hurricane David struck the Dominican Republic, and Lawlor wrote to Peguero to be sure of her safety. A correspondence began, and the couple married in 1982 in New York City, Lawlor’s hometown.

In the following years, the couple spent time in both Stevens Point and Santiago. When Peguero resumed her teaching at the Catholic University in Santiago, Lawlor taught English at that same university. When Lawlor taught at UWSP, Peguero taught at Wausau Newman High School.

After several years, Valentina began doctoral studies at Columbia University in New York City. Upon completing her doctorate, she accepted an appointment in the history department at UWSP. Lawlor and Peguero later became tenured full professors at UWSP.

Peguero’s extensive and distinguished record of publication is bilingual, with some of her seven books published in Spanish, some in English, and some in both languages. She spoke at numerous professional meetings in Wisconsin, in the United States, and in many nations around the world, including China, Cuba, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. She was a fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at UW-Madison and a member of the Dominican Academy of Historians. At UWSP she won the University Teaching Excellence Award, the University Scholar Award, and the Eugene Katz Letters and Science Distinguished Faculty Award.

Valentina Peguero-Lawlor is survived by her husband of forty years, William Lawlor; her brother Angel and his wife, Clara Peguero Rivas. Valentina’s surviving nieces and nephews include Valentinita, Karlita, Katia, Yris, and Marlena as well as Gabriel and Katie. Valentina was preceded in death by her sister, Eusebia, and her brother Rafael.

Visitation will occur at the Shuda Funeral Home on Monday, December 5, from 4-7 p.m. The funeral service will occur at Holy Spirit Parish at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 6. Visitation is permitted at the church for an hour before the funeral service. Following the service at Holy Spirit, the burial will occur at Guardian Angel Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be sent to Holy Spirit Parish in Stevens Point.

Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.shudafuneral.com.