by Michelle Blackley; The Penfield Post, June 21, 2001
Nothing stands in the way of Pat Oliver and the legacy of actor Peter Deuel — not even the Atlantic Ocean. Oliver, of Stockton, England, made her second trip to Penfield last week, with her husband John Oliver, to pay homage to 1960s actor Peter Deuel, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of his death.
Deuel — who had a reoccurring role in Alias Smith and Jones, grew up at 1790 Penfield Road, now Northfield Coffee Co., and attended Penfield High School — died in the 1970s, playing Russian roulette [untrue]. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Penfield, next to his mother.
“Coming here is a little off the beaten-track, so we take pictures and videos of the coffee house and his grave, so the other girls in the fan club can see. We even went to the library and found his high school year book,” said Pat Oliver. “But being here, where he lived, it is amazing for me. I look around and think, ‘He could have walked there, or sat here.'”
The actor who also appeared in Gidget and John Wayne movies [untrue], may be dead, but his memory is still very much alive to many around the world.
“From the moment I first saw him on Alias Smith and Jones in 1971, I was just drawn to him. I can’t explain it,” Pat Oliver, 53, said. “I thought I was the only one who felt this way, until I started talking to other women. None of us can figure out what it is about him that we love so much.”
John Oliver, said he came on the trip in support of his wife.
“Oh, I enjoyed the show he was in; it reminded me of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the comedic way the characters played off each other,” he said. “But Pat is the true fan. We have more pictures of Peter in our bedroom than we do of me.”
Deuel was raised at the Penfield Road house with his mother and father, who is a doctor, and believed to still be living; brother Geoffrey, who also became an actor, and now lives in Pennsylvania; and sister Pamela, who may be living in Canada. [Geoffrey doesn’t live in Pennsylvania and Pamela doesn’t live in Canada.]
Jackie Poslusny and Eileen Ludwig, who have owned the Northfield Coffee Co. for almost three years, couldn’t believe it when fan club members started sending letters and coming in.
“At first I though they were crazy,” Poslusny said. “But the cosmic vibes are in motion when people who love him come here.”
Ludwig, whose husband is from Penfield, knew about the Deuel link to the building.
“It’s just amazing how much people care about this man,” Ludwig said. “We have gotten letters from the mid-West, and a man from Erie, Pennsylvania, sent us videos of Deuel’s work.”
While in town, the Olivers also placed greeting cards from other members of the fan club at Deuel’s grave. But after taking photos, they took the cards back home.
“We have a big following of fan club members,” Pat said. “I talk to girls all over the United States, Brazil, and Europe. Some of them can’t make the journey, so it will thrill them to know their cards touched his grave,” Pat said.
The Olivers also saw a fresh, white rose, at his grave, whom they expect may be from his high school sweetheart.
This “mystery woman” also visits Northfields to be close to Deuel, according to Poslusny. But she will not reveal her name because her husband doesn’t know about her past with the actor.
“It was a horrible day when he died, I will never forget it. I feel like he never got the big break he deserved. If he lived, I know he would have made it big,” Pat Oliver said.
Poslusny and Ludwig are considering showing Deuel’s films during the month of February, when his birthday is.
“I don’t know when we will make it back next,” Pat Oliver said. “But there really should be a plaque or something out front, letting others know about the man who lived in this house.”