News Uncategorized

September 13, 2019 at 9:41 am

University Community Remembers Dr. Bruce Ergood, Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Bruce Ergood, portrait

Dr, Bruce Ergood

Dr. Bruce Ergood, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, passed away on Sept. 5 at the age of 88. he died in Rochester, N.Y., while returning from Silver Bay, a YMCA Conference Center in the Adirondacks and his summer home, according to his obituary in the Athens Messenger.

Ergood arrived at Ohio University in 1970 and taught for more than three decades, retiring in 2006. He was promoted to Associate Professor and received tenure in 1974. His Ph.D. was from the University of Florida in Latin American Studies. He co-authored “Appalachia: Social Context” with Bruce Kuhre, and wrote “In Our Own Words-100 Year Anniversary of Silver Bay YMCA,” as well as cataloguing 50 years of AFSC work in Mexico.

“Bruce was a conscientious objector during the Korean War; he performed two years of alternate service with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Mexico, which began his lifelong interest in Latin America as well as his many friendships there. He spoke ‘rural Spanish’ well, which helped in daily life and his graduate program. He received two Fulbright scholarships to Argentina, as well as one from Rotary International, teaching at the U. of Tucuman. He was loved by his colleagues and students,” according to his obituary.

“The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is saddened by the passing of Bruce Ergood. During his more than three decades in the department, he contributed significantly to our expertise in rural sociology. He was active in Ohio University’s Latin American Studies program and took students with him during several of his trips to the Honduras,” said Dr. Christine Mattley, Associate Professor of Sociology and Chair.

“His commitment to public sociology and to human rights was best exemplified by his work in Honduras to help establish sustainable health care to rural Hondurans. He helped train local volunteers in nutrition, sanitation, childhood and chronic diseases and treatment of medical emergencies. He was also a musician, and I remember him playing the clarinet at faculty picnics when I was a new faculty member,” Mattley continued.

“Bruce Ergood taught primarily in social problems, race and ethnic relations, the sociology of Appalachia, and the sociology of Latin America. He was a great friend to generations of Latino and Latin American students and did extraordinary work in community development in Honduras, both as a faculty member and in his retirement,” said Dr. Eric A. Wagner, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and former department chair.

Bruce Ergood playing clarinet

Bruce Ergood performing locally.

Ergood had two Fulbright awards in Argentina and was a 1958 graduate of Yale Divinity School and a fluent speaker of Spanish, according to the OHIO Emeriti News, which featured a May 2014 article on the work of Ergood and his wife, Jane, working on sustainable health and development in the Honduras.

“I met Bruce – or Brucito, as he always wanted me to call him – when I became a Rotarian back in 2006,” said Dr. Emilia Alonso-Sameño, Professor of Spanish at OHIO. “He had retired and was actively involved with a project he and his wife, Jane, had initiated in Honduras in the early 2000s. The project was committed to providing health care education, sustainable farming practices and opportunities for economic growth and development for the Honduran people. The Rotary helped support the funding of items like textbooks, supplemental teaching materials and first aid kits. On a couple of occasions, Brucito asked me to translate correspondence from Spanish into English. He spoke Spanish fluently and took advantage of every chance to practice his Spanish with me. He had a deep respect and understanding of and appreciation for the Central American region, its languages and its variety of cultures. E. Snedecor, a prominent Rotarian, back in 1921 said: ‘Rotary’s strength lies in the sincerity of purpose of its members.’ Brucito genuinely embodied Rotary’s principles of veracity, fairness and justice for all. He will be missed.”

Read about Ergood’s missionary work in the Athens News story headlined “Local couple works to bring healthy, sustainable living to Honduras.”


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