After a lengthy illness, Joe died Jan. 10, 2023, in Maryville, Tenn.

Born Feb. 20, 1937, in Clarksville, Tenn., Joe earned BA and MA degrees from Vanderbilt and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton in 1963. As a Fulbright scholar, Joe attended Worcester College, Oxford. 

He taught for 15 years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before coming to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1978. At Tennessee he chaired the English department from 1978 to 1988 and served as acting vice chancellor for academic affairs. He retired in 2004 as Alumni Distinguished Professor of English. Joe was named Macebearer at UT’s graduation in 1999, the University’s highest faculty honor. 

Joe’s scholarship included Old and  Middle English language and literature, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. His research centered on Old English religious poetry and the Latin learned tradition. A 25-year member of the Advisory Council of Princeton’s Department of English, Joe served for several years as chair. He was a member of the Medieval Academy of America’s Haskins Medal Committee and Phi Beta Kappa’s Christian Gauss Award Committee.

Predeceased by his first wife, Marjorie, Joe is survived by his wife, Peggy Gates; daughter Sarah; son Joseph III ’89; one granddaughter; and several stepchildren and step-grandchildren.

Graduate alumni memorials are prepared by the APGA.

Graduate Class of 1963