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Professor Emeritus Dr. John E. Stuckey ’51, 1929-2023

Retired Chemistry Department faculty member remembered for mentorship, dedication to Hendrix

John Stuckey obit photo.jpgCONWAY, Arkansas (June 12, 2023)—The Hendrix College community is saddened by the June 6 passing of Dr. John E. Stuckey, a Hendrix College alumnus of the Class of 1951 who returned to campus and taught in the Department of Chemistry from 1958 to 1992. He was 93.

Dr. A.Y. “Al” Gordon ’80 recalled that he first met John Stuckey because Stuckey was assigned to be his academic advisor; ultimately, though, Stuckey became one of the true “difference makers” in Gordon’s life. 

“I am so fortunate we maintained our friendship all of these years,” Gordon said. “There were times that my self-confidence was lacking, but he knew ‘the buttons to push’ to renew that confidence. He was a professor serious about his work, but he had a great sense of humor. My first day back to Hendrix as a sophomore I went to his office to inform him that I was changing my major from chemistry to biology. His response was, ‘Ah, you’ve decided to take the easy route.’ He chuckled and told me he would change my advisor to someone in the Biology Department, but that I could remain with him if I chose to do so. Although we had incredible faculty in biology, I chose to remain John’s advisee. That was one of the best decisions I ever made… the memories of our friendship will forever be special to me.”

Colleagues also remembered Stuckey’s steady mentoring of students and faculty alike, and his love for the College.

“John Stuckey and family greeted and guided my family and me when I started my life at Hendrix and Conway in 1970, and John remained my friend and mentor for the rest of his life,” said Dr. Warfield Teague, Willis H. Holmes Distinguished Professor Emeritus, who retired from the Department of Chemistry in 2008. “He was a trusting and trusted teacher and mentor to students with high standards and expectations for them. As department head of Chemistry, he was organized and forward-looking in his support of academic standards. It was a pleasure to serve with him in maintaining a strong departmental program at Hendrix. He was the most Hendrix-centric person I have known.”

“John was a great mentor,” said Dr. Tom Goodwin, Elbert L. Fausett Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, who taught alongside Stuckey from 1978 until Stuckey’s retirement. “He accepted and encouraged change; therefore, progress was made under his leadership. [And] he loved Hendrix!”

A graveside service, officiated by his daughter the Rev. Elizabeth Stuckey Utley, will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 13, at Lone Tree Cemetery Chapel in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the John E. Stuckey or Hazel Garrison Thatcher Scholarship funds at Hendrix College.