John Lounsbury

1918 - 2003

John F. Lounsbury, born in Perham, Minnesota, passed away on December 26, 2003, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at the age of eighty-five.

John received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Illinois, and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University (1951). He began his career at Antioch College, and later taught at Eastern Michigan University. John joined Arizona State University as chair in 1969 and remained in that position until 1977. He remained in the department until retiring at age sixty-eight, in 1987.

During his tenure at Arizona State, Lounsbury was instrumental in establishing a Ph.D. program in 1972 and through his sociable personality did a great deal to bring harmony to a fractionalized department.

He authored or co-authored several books, chapters, and many journal articles in areas including physical geography, economic geography, planning, agricultural geography, gaming, and land use policy.

John’s greatest contribution to the discipline, however, was as a mediator and consensus builder. This is reflected in his various roles as director of projects including the “Spatial Analysis of Land Use Project,” the “Environment-based Education Project,” and the “Commission on College Geography.” In the period 1957-1980 he was personally engaged in, or supervised, a series of grants from various sources that totaled in excess of $2,700,000.

His duty as an officer during World War II was defining experience. He was among the first to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Badly wounded, for the rest of his life he walked with a limp. He received numerous awards and medals for his military service.

Lounsbury had an easy teaching style, and was famous for injecting humor and anecdotal stories in his lectures. An excellent mentor, he guided several M.A. students and four Ph.D. students.

A student scholarship fund was established in John’s name at Arizona State University. To contribute to this fund, send a check made out to “A.S.U. Foundation-Lounsbury Travel Fund,” and mail to the ASU Geography Department, Tempe, AZ 85287-0104.

John Lounsbury (Necrology). 2004. AAG Newsletter 39(2): 17.