Ted Denise

November 15, 2005

Theodore C. Denise, Professor Emeritus of philosophy at Syracuse University, died suddenly on November 15, 2005, while attending a conference on “The Ethics of Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency” at The Naval War College in Newport. Rhode Island. He was 86 years old and died of an aortic aneurysm.

Professor Denise was born in Whitewater, Wisconsin on March 9, 1919. He served in World War II in the South Pacific from 1942-46 with the Army Amphibian Engineers. He married Kathleen Cowles in October 1942. They had been married for 63 years at the time of his death, and lived in Easthampton, MA.

Professor Denise was educated at the University of Michigan, where he received B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy and where he played varsity football. He joined the Philosophy Department at Syracuse University in 1948, and taught there until his retirement in 1984. He served as Chair of the Philosophy Department for more than a decade and was instrumental in the department’s achievement of national prominence. During his years at Syracuse he taught thousands of students and was regularly voted by students as among the most popular teachers at the university. His textbook, Great Traditions in Ethics (with Peterfreund and White), was first published in 1953 and is now in its 11th edition.

Professor Denise spent summers in Northfield, Mass., where he enjoyed “two-o’clock tennis” and socializing with friends and family. He remained fully vigorous until the day of his death, and played tennis 4 days before. He had a wonderful personality and was beloved by a wide circle of family members and friends.

Survivors include his wife, Kathleen Cowles Denise of Easthampton, Massachusetts; a daughter, Patricia Denise White, of Fountain Hills, Arizona; two grandchildren, Olivia White of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Alexander White of Toulouse, France; a step-granddaughter, Jennifer White of London; son-in-law, James Nickel of Fountain Hills, Arizona; daughter-in-law, Susan Hankin of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; sister-in-law, Helen Cowles Thompson of Northfield, Massachusetts; five nephews, four nieces, and several great-nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his son, Theodore Jr,. (Todd).

An endowment in Professor Denise’s honor was established several years ago by his late brother, Malcolm L. Denise, at the University of Michigan Department of Philosophy. Contributions may be sent to the University of Michigan, Denise Philosophy Endowment, Department of Philosophy, Angell Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. A memorial service will be held on July 3 in Northfield, MA.

Obituary prepared by Patricia D. White.