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LETTER: Remembering two of MUN’s best

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

In recent months two great former Memorial University history professors passed away. Prof. Tom Evans taught history at Memorial for over 30 years until his retirement in 2003, where he specialized in histography and honours reading courses.

Tom was renowned for his insightful historical analysis and he would captivate students with his elegant lectures.

Tom was also very respectful to his young students and would often instill in them great confidence that they could overcome any academic challenge.

Chris Youe specialized in colonial and foreign policy history where he often formulated brilliant analysis pertinent to the cause and effect of World War I and in 2004 Chris insightfully evaluated the early years of Vladimir Putin’s Russian presidency as reminiscent of the Cold War that would likely be revived in years to come.

During his tenure as the Memorial University History department head from 2003 to 2009 Chris Youe’s competence and engagement reverberated throughout the department and in 2006 Chris was very empathetic towards a student who was going through a difficult period of stress and traumatic experiences.

In early December of 1999 one of Tom Evan’s students went to him with a sense of futility that he could not do well in a gruelling exam where he would have to recite his entire knowledge of 12 books that he had read in an honours reading course over the entire term.

Tom’s response was to study on and you will learn what you know and go before the profs and talk with great confidence and knowledge and as you make your case there will be no mistake that you worked hard and earned our respect as one of our department’'s best.

And now as Tom Evans rests, his legacy withstood the test and he is on the other side because he was one of the best.

Chris Youe told me many times there was no afterlife.

However, a few weeks ago I wrote and published an article, in which I was strangely compelled to extrapolate a historical analysis from Chris. In the past week I was thinking about Chris frequently and I only found out a few days later that he had passed.

I never knew that Chris was even ill, yet I was thinking a lot about him in recent weeks and more often in recent days. Chris must have been sending out vibes as he passed over to the other side and received his big surprise.

Chris was an insightful prof and an understanding guy and when I heard he had passed I thought of an argument we had and my last words were I’m sorry and Chris said OK.

Have fun, Chris, up there and beyond and keep singing those songs (Forever History Department Christmas Party, December 2007).

John Ryall

Mount Pearl

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