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Joseph Tamney, 1933-2009

Joe Tamney , Emeritus Professor of Sociology, passed away on October 25, 2009.

Joe Tamney was born in Queens, New York City on January 8, 1933. He received a B.A. (Cum Laude) in 1954 from Fordham University. After graduation, he served two years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army based in Germany. He then returned to Fordham and completed an M.A. in 1957. He went on to Cornell University where he received his Ph.D. in Sociology in 1962. After Cornell, Joe was on the sociology faculty at Notre Dame, Marquette (where he was also Chair of the department), and the University of Singapore from 1962 to 1971. He joined the Sociology Department at Ball State University in 1971 and reached the level of Full Professor in 1975. He was Chair of that department from 1977 to 1983 and retired from Ball State University as a Professor Emeritus of Sociology in 2002.

Joe was a vibrant and active member of the academic community. He published seventy-seven articles in scientific research journals and nine books on topics including religion, politics, and community. He served as Editor of Sociology of Religion(1994-2000), President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (2003-4), member of the North Central Sociological Association Executive Council (1985-88), and Editor of the sociology of religion section newsletter for the American Sociological Association (2000-2002).

On the personal side, Joe had an easy-going personality with a great sense of humor. He was passionate about social justice for the less fortunate such as the poor and the homeless. He was a loving and supportive father of five children, including an adopted African-American daughter. There are also eight grandchildren. Joe would watch college and professional football games with his three sons. He was interested in modern art, liked listening to jazz, loved good wine and trying new foods, and was always reading a good book, and did so up to the end of his life. Joe had cancer and passed away on October 25, 2009 in Reston, Virginia.

Donations in memory of Joseph Tamney can be made to the Dr. Joseph Tamney Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to students at Ball State University who show great promise in research. Please make checks payable to Ball State University Foundation and indicate the Dr. Joseph Tamney Scholarship (#8055) in the memo. Please mail donations to Ball State University Foundation, Alumni Center, Room 230, 2800 West Bethel Avenue, Muncie, IN 47304.

Department of Sociology
North Quad Room 222
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Phone: 765-285-5977