"James Kettner was a wonderful colleague and a warm
and loving human being," said Jon Gjerde, chair of
the Department of History. "He was a devoted teacher,
a learned scholar, and a dedicated servant to his
campus and department. Most of all, he was a friend
whose gentle kindness was apparent to everyone he
touched. Jim will be sorely missed by all those who
knew him at Berkeley and elsewhere."
Kettner was born on Oct. 4, 1944, in Greenville,
Ohio. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Harvard
University in 1966, he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship
from the British government and attended the University
of Sussex in England, obtaining a second bachelor's
degree in history.
He received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard. His
doctoral thesis, "The Development of American Citizenship
1608-1870," was the 1975 winner of the Jamestown Prize.
The prize, awarded by the Institute of Early American
History and Culture in Williamsburg, Va., is considered
a great honor by academics in his field.
"He was proud that the doctoral thesis book won the
Jamestown Prize and was quoted in a Supreme Court
case," said Kettner's sister, Pamela Engel. "But I
think he was probably the most proud of his teaching
and his students."
Kettner came to UC Berkeley as a lecturer in 1973
and worked his way up to professor. He taught undergraduate
and graduate students and welcomed the opportunity
to advise them.
"He was graduate advisor probably for 15 years and
kept his door open all day long," said UC Berkeley
history professor Robert Middlekauff, Kettner's longtime
friend and colleague. "His office hours were from
about 6:30 in the morning until he went home at night.
He really believed in the study of history, and he
just believed powerfully in education, and he was
genuinely fond of students and wanted to help them.
"Jim was universally admired because he worked so
hard and was willing to do anything to help students
in the department. He was somebody who just gave freely
of himself to the department, and his colleagues recognized
Kettner spent his career at UC Berkeley teaching,
serving for several years as vice chair of graduate
studies in the history department, participating on
departmental committees, and serving for numerous
years as acting chair of the department during the
summer. Friends and colleagues described him as a
selfless, warm, thoughtful and quiet man who helped
shaped the successful careers of many graduate students.
Kettner is survived by three sisters and two brothers:
Pamela Engel of Wabash, Ind.; Mary Linda McNairy of
Red Wing, Minn.; Christina Kettner of Saginaw, Mich.;
David Kettner of Melrose Park, Penn.; and Stephen
Kettner of Kalamazoo, Mich. He also is survived by
several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service for Kettner will be held on Monday,
August 26, 2002 from 5-7 p.m. in the Toll Room at
the Alumni House on the Berkeley Campus. For questions
concerning donations in the memory of Kettner, please
contact Chris Egan, manager, Department of History,
at 510-642-2789 or firstname.lastname@example.org.