The Elmhurst College community is saddened by the news of the death of Dr. Ronald G. Goetz, Professor Emeritus of Theology and Religion. He was a thoughtful scholar, an engaging teacher, a valued colleague, and a warm friend. He passed away October 9 at the age of 73.
Ron devoted most of his professional life to Elmhurst College and its students. He earned degrees from Northwestern University (B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.) and Harvard Divinity School (S.T.B.) and had served as a pastor before turning to an academic career. He joined the Elmhurst family in 1963 as an instructor, rose through the faculty ranks, and, in 1986, was appointed to the Niebuhr Distinguished Chair in Christian Theology and Ethics. He served as Chair of the Department of Theology and Religion from 1990 until his retirement from the full-time faculty in 1999, after which he continued teaching on a part-time basis. In 2003, he was awarded the Elmhurst College Founders Medal for service.
Ron lived life faithfully and enthusiastically. He was a prolific contributor to theological discourse. He published nearly 200 articles and reviews, many appearing in The Christian Century, which he served for many years as Editor at Large. His wide-ranging interests included jazz, and many will remember him as a visible spokesman for the Elmhurst Jazz Festival. At the time of his retirement, a Festschrift, or compilation of tributes and short essays, was published in his honor by colleagues and fellow scholars (Faithful Witness, Elmhurst College Press, 2002).
Elmhurst College joins in offering sympathy to Ron’s family and circle of close friends. A memorial service will be held at Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel on Sunday, November 5, at 3:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to Elmhurst College (ATTN.: Office of College Advancement), 190 Prospect Av., Elmhurst 60126.