Duke Professor Emeritus John Herd Thompson Dies at 72Historians in the News
tags: obituaries, Duke
Duke historian John Herd Thompson, an authority on Canadian history and a former history department chair, has died. He was 72.
Thompson taught at Duke from 1989 to his retirement in 2012. While at Duke, he served as chair of the history department and as director of the Canadian Studies program. He was known for his love of Canada, baseball and jazz, and for his devotion to his students.
“John was a dear colleague, with a wonderful sense of humor, a joie de vivre approach to life, and a camaraderie that endeared him to staff and colleagues,” said William Chafe, professor emeritus of history. “If you were up for a verbal tussle about sports, politics, or personalities, John was there with you, ready to engage, laugh, make a sarcastic joke, or just enjoy the moment. He will be sorely missed.”
Thompson was born in Winnipeg in 1946 and received his Ph.D. from Queen’s University in 1975 before emigrating to the U.S. He explored the history of Canada, the Canadian west and relations between Canada and the U.S. in a number of books, including “Canada and the United States: Ambivalent Allies,” “British Columbia: Land of Promises” and “Forging the Prairie West.”
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