Memorial celebration set for late BU professor
A celebration of the life of James Walter Percey Jr., a former Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania professor and department chair, will be held at the Percey farmstead in Shickshinny on Aug. 4. He passed away on Jan. 15, 2012. Percey retired from BU in 2002, where he had taught constitutional law, Irish politics and other political science courses.
James Walter Percey Jr.
BU professor taught black and women’s studies
James Walter Percey Jr. of Shickshinny, born July 28, 1934, in Philadelphia, died Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16, 2012, at North Fort Myers, Fla. Jim retired from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2002, where he taught constitutional law, Irish politics and other political science courses for 37 years. He was Department Chair from 1976-1977. Former students recall him as an ebullient professor who challenged them to grow intellectually and personally. Remembered as a defender of students’ rights, he mentored a generation of aspiring student journalists and successfully defended the free speech rights of writers of The Gadfly before and against the University administration. He advocated for, and taught, the first black studies and women’s studies courses at the university. He oversaw the university’s mock national conventions every four years between 1968-1984, featuring speakers such as then U.S. Senators Joseph Biden, Frank Church, John Heinz, George McGovern, Lowell Weicker; and then U.S. Representatives Shirley Chisholm, Daniel Flood, and Gerald R. Ford. In 1967, he was state representative to the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention. Previous to that, he served as assistant to Lancaster Mayor Thomas Monaghan. Jim also served in the U.S. Army. Military Police in Heidelberg, Germany, and as bodyguard to General Anthony McAuliffe. Jim was a proud graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, received an MA from Rutgers University and did graduate work in Political Science at UCLA in California, where he taught briefly before coming to Bloomsburg in 1965. He was an avid reader and cook, a raconteur, and lover of jazz and often recounted the story of how he came to be featured by name in Sarah Vaughan’s hit Smooth Operator Jim’s life will be celebrated at the Percey farmstead in Shickshinny on Aug. 4. Survivors include his beloved wife of 19 years, Christine D. Carpenter; children: Michael, Siobhán, James (Jake) and David; son-in-law, Joseph Mankowski; daughter-in-law, Paulette Percey; and grandchildren: Madeleine, Jacob, Brandon and Clara. He was preceded in death by his mother, Jennie (née Mulcahy), and father, James. Memorial contributions may be sent to Hope Hospice, 9470 Healthpark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908.