I just came across this sad, very sad news. Joe or Dr. Flay was my teacher in the late 60's, a time of campus upheaval, yes even at Penn State. I took a number of classes with him and I remember him as a warm and generous man, encouraging honest dialogue and debate, someone who embodied courage and integrity. I remember him as well speaking to campus protest groups, both supporting the students but also urging personal responsibility for our actions. He stood out like a beacon of honesty.
I was fortunate enough to have enjoyed a number of dinners at Joe and Bonnie's home. I have such warm and fond memories of all that he taught me and all that I learned from him.
My sincerest sympathies to his children and grandkids, he was a wonderful human being.
I just heard about this, a bit belatedly. Joe was my teacher in the 1980s and on my thesis committee. More important, he taught me the meaning of decency combined with rigor. I still recall our intellectual battles, culminating in my thesis defense on Michel Foucault, where he commented, "You know the difference between you and Foucault? Foucault was smart enough not to be so damn consistent." I don't think I've yet plumbed the full depth of that remark. Thanks, Joe.
Joe was my teacher and friend for four decades, from my discovery of his work on Hegel while researching doctoral programs to our periodic phone calls over the past several years. Lately our conversations were centered on movies he'd watched and how much he missed Bonnie. One of the most demanding experiences of my life was a study of Foucault that we pursued together one State College winter. Joe elicited an almost physical intensity in working through those texts. Joe's integrity as a scholar and warmth as a friend combined in his teaching, which was always of the highest level. He will be greatly missed. My condolences and best wishes to Sally, Chris and Greg.
We send our sincere condolences to the Flay family. Joe was our teacher at Penn State in the late 1970s and we remember fondly his enthusiasm and dedication.