accents on english | fall 17-spring 18

Home / Content / James Ney (1932-2017)

James Ney (1932-2017)

in memoriam

Naira Kuzmich

James Ney

accents on english

Newsletter of the Department of English
at Arizona State University

Fall 2017-Spring 2018
Volume 21

Editors' note: some information in this piece adapted from an Arizona Republic obituary published June 4, 2017.

James "Jim" Ney, professor emeritus, passed away peacefully May 30, 2017 at the age of 84. Ney held an MA in theology from Wheaton College and EdD in English language and literature from the University of Michigan. He had a long and productive faculty career in the Department of English at ASU before retirement. He was internationally known in the field of TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and his teaching and research took him and the family around the world.

Ney was born in Kenya, Africa, on July 28, 1932 where he lived until age 7. His family moved to Nanaimo, BC, Canada, where he grew up in the outdoors, sailing, fishing, and hiking—passions that stayed with him for life. He was a long-time member of the Arizona Yacht Club, and his later pursuits reflected this interest. In 2007, he gave a lecture as part of the Department of English's emeritus series, "Mysticism and Sailing Lake Pleasant."

Jim Ney sailing on Lake Pleasant, Arizona. / Courtesy photo

Ney was married to his wife, Marie for 63 years and they have three children. 

Memorial services for Ney were held June 12, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Image: Jim Ney in his sail boat on Lake Pleasant. Ney used this photo in his 2007 presentation in the Department of English to illustrate the mystical concepts of silence and solitude, which one undertakes "... in order to hear the voice of God." He quoted Sister Faustina Kowalski (1905-1938): "One has to have silence in one's soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence but an interior silence. A talkative soul is empty inside."