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Dr. Jeremy W. Rusk

December 26, 2018

Dr. Jeremy W. Rusk of Bel Air, California and Belmont, Massachusetts, predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Marianne Childress Rusk, father to Michelle Rusk, Ian Rusk and Kristin Rusk Robinson, their spouses Mark Jones, Carolann Rusk and Grant Robinson, and beloved “G-Dad” to six grandchildren, Alexandra and Samuel Jones, Heather, Chloe and Aidan Rusk, and Caleb Robinson, passed peacefully in Los Angeles after an extended battle with cancer.


Born in Webb City, Missouri in 1936, one of two sons of Ralph Rusk and Martha Webb Rusk, Jeremy graduated in 1954 from Webb City High School, where he captained the football team and played center and forward on the famous 1952-1953 “Big Eight” basketball teams. He loved to recount how that team from “lowly little Webb City” beat nearby Joplin three times and went on to compete for the state championship. Jeremy was later inducted into the School’s hall of fame for his academic and athletic accomplishments.


While an undergraduate, Jeremy met and married the love of his life, Marianne Childress of Harrisonville, Missouri. They both graduated from Baylor University in 1958. Jeremy went on to earn his Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of religion from Harvard University in 1976. 


In 1971, Jeremy moved his family to England to help establish Harlaxton College, a study abroad program housed on the grounds of a 19th century English manor house in Lincolnshire County. There he served as the College’s director and a professor of philosophy until the family’s return to the U.S. in 1975. 


Jeremy had many wide-ranging interests, from restoring antique automobiles to writing poetry. During his retirement he researched and authored a historical novel based on the lives of his civil war-era ancestors.


But his proudest achievement was serving as the founding director of Harvard University’s Center for Lifelong Learning and the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement (HILR)—a first of its kind program that provides opportunities for senior citizens to continue their academic pursuits into what Jeremy liked to refer to as their “third age.” He believed strongly in the pursuit of knowledge at all ages and developed close friendships with many of the HILR’s early members. Jeremy eventually retired as an administrative dean of Harvard’s Graduate Schoolof Arts and Sciences.


A visitation will will take place in the Brown & Hickey Funeral Home 36 Trapelo Rd. Belmont Friday, January 11 from 1pm to 2pm.  Relatives and friends kindly invited. Burial will be private.  In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to either the American Cancer Foundation, or The Alzheimer’s Association.


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