I grew up on a ranch near Buena Vista, Colorado, and received my BA and MA degrees in Spanish from the University of Colorado in 1965 and 1966. I then earned my PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
I joined the faculty at Penn State in 1971. I directed more than a dozen Ph.D. dissertations and a similar number of MA papers in Spanish American literature and Comparative Literature. I served as graduate officer in Spanish for many years, and then as Assistant and Associate Dean for the College of the Liberal Arts. In 1998 I returned to the department as interim head. I retired from Penn State in 2001 and with my wife, Linda Deniston-Peavler, an artist, returned to Buena Vista to live on the family ranch.
In 2002 I became heavily involved with the northern Chaffee County Search and Rescue team. In 2008 I became president of the team, and have participated in over 200 search and rescue missions, some of which have made national news. I have also served on the executive board of the Colorado Snowmobile Association and as vice chairman of the board of the Colorado Off-Highway vehicle coalition.
I have two children and three grandchildren, all still living in the State College area.