John was born Oct. 23, 1929, in New York City to Peter and Beatrice Miles Headley. 

He came to us from Woodstock (Vt.) High School. At Princeton he belonged to Quadrangle and St. Paul’s Society and graduated summa cum laudein history. He roomed with Bill Bardsley, Bill Benedict, and Jim Young. He earned a master’s degree in history from Yale in 1953, served in the Army Signal Corps from 1953 to 1955, and earned a Ph.D. in history in 1960, also from Yale. 

In 1964 he joined the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he taught until his retirement in 2003 as Distinguished University Professor. A prolific author, his published works centered on the Renaissance and the Reformation. John was an exemplary lecturer, scholar, and author, and set the highest standards in everything he did. As a person he was small, red-haired, and witty, and for many of us, to have been his friend was one of the highlights of our undergraduate years. 

John died Sept. 22, 2017, at Chapel Hill and is survived by his nephews, Peter and Jonathon Headley; and his niece, Elizabeth Pearson. His brother, Peter Ogden Headley, predeceased him.

Undergraduate Class of 1951