James Roper died Oct. 16, 2020, in Holt, Mich., of esophageal cancer. He was 82.

Known for his deadpan humor and quick wit, he never shied away from sharing his views. A conversation with him was typically an amazing, entertaining, and educational experience: You just needed to make sure your afternoon was clear of scheduled activities before starting the conversation.

James graduated from George Washington University and earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Princeton in 1963. He joined the philosophy department at Michigan State University in 1964. After a distinguished career of 54 years, James retired from teaching in 2018. While at MSU he founded the debate team and was the director and head coach from 1984 until 2000. MSU’s nationally acclaimed debate team won multiple national championships and in 2005 was named the best debate team in the U.S. for the preceding 15 years.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joan; children Daniel Roper and Michelle Kitze; grandchildren Camryn and Darcy Roper, Matthew and Stephen Kitze; step-grandchildren Jake and Drake Morse; and sister Sandy Kerr.

Graduate memorials are prepared by the APGA.

Graduate Class of 1963