I was lucky to have enrolled in 3 or 4 classes taught by Professor Fears at Indiana University -- not always easy when hundreds were waitlisted every semester. He was obviously an unusually talented professor. He was also an amazing storyteller -- in the classic tradition. Hearing him discuss Alexander, Augustus, Jesus, and Julius while dressed in ancient garb and showing filmstrips of his trips to every location was enjoyable and enlightening. Students unable to attend his lectures will never know what they missed. I was lucky to get to know him a bit better as a senior, and I'm a better person for it. I am sure countless others would agree!
Professor Fears was my history professor at IU Bloomington, where I studied the History of Rome; The Age of Jesus and Augustus; The Age of Alexander and the Diadochi (my first and favorite of the courses Dr. Fears taught) Ancient Greek History and a Survey Ancient Civilizations course. I am also an avid listener of his Learning Company courses. Many of us will continue to attempt to inspire students the way we were inspired by Professor Fears.
I just learned of the passing of Professor Fears. I, too, have enjoyed immensely his Great Courses lectures, and was looking forward to somehow meeting him someday. My very best wishes to Mrs. Fears.
Dear Dr. Fears, I've enjoyed being taught by you from your lectures. You've kept me entertained while prodding me to learn more. God bless.
Only now have I learned of Dr. Fears' passing. I was spellbound by several of his Great Courses...I loved the guy...he made history real and personal...I wanted to meet him and ask him questions...I wanted to shake his hand and thank him for enriching my life. Thank you, Rufus, well done. All love to your family.
I did not know Professor Fears personally nor was I lucky enough to have attended one of his university lectures, but I have become a great admirer of him through his Great Courses lectures published by the Teaching Company. He truly was a great storyteller, and he sparked in me a blazing interest in history that I never had before. I will genuinely miss learning the lessons of history through his wise and passionate lens. Thank you, Rufus, for making this world a brighter more enlighten place.
Jesse Rufus Fears
March 7th, 1945 – October 6th, 2012
To my dear friend and mentor...your care, your knowledge continues through my work and that of so many of your students. Not even Aristotle's students would remember him so well as we will celebrate you. You said the impossible to me, turn away from the university and teaching...head out into the world as I have and do what others will write of. I have, and because of your aid my accomplishments are worth such writing and any such words that my work garner are actually a tribute to you.
That work has saved tens of thousands of lives via interventions in Africa. I followed your advice and your lessons Professor Fears and applied them well. UN missions; the first free election in DRC in 50 years; the uncovering of multiple war crimes and arms dealers have filled many years of work. Aiding countries to control their own destinies and resources while harnessing their own freedom have been my work, work that was undertaken at your suggestion and not so gentle pushing.
You promised to write the history of what I would do, but surprisingly I have outlived you. I think neither of us expected that given the threats in my work. But somehow you slipped away while I stood on the orange sand of an African beach staring out into the Indian Ocean on an October day and before you could account for your own victories.
As your mere consul I will remember you as though you were riding as Augustus had in the triumph with your slave whispering in your ear "...remember thou art mortal..." as so we all are. But you will live again and we will meet there to spill the wine and laugh once again!
To my Dearest Friend,
Indian University 1980-1985
I was devastated to learn of the passing of Dr. Fears who has given me many hours of learning through the Teaching Co.materials. I would like to contribute to a charity in his name. Please advise.
I just learned today of Professor Fears passing. I am sad to have lost such a fine teacher. I'm thankful to have your lectures on video so I may share you with my son when he gets older. (He's eight) God bless you and your family my friend. Rest in peace my friend.
Dr Fears was a master story-teller, bringing history alive. My heart goes out to his loved ones.
I have spent countless hours listening to his lectures while driving. I will miss him dearly.
I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of professor Fears. He made learning so enjoyable while teaching many valuable life lessons. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
My condolences to his family and friends. Like many others who have written on this page, I only knew him through his wonderful history lectures from the Teaching Company. I have learned so much from him. I homeschool and his lectures have been invaluable to me. Originally I just listened to his lectures for homeschooling purposes, but he made history so interesting that I watched many just for myself. Professor Fears, you left a mark on the world. Thank-you.
an irreplaceable treasure of a man.
I was in shock to find out Dr. Fears had past over the weekend.
I think Dr. Fears is my favorite professor and I have enjoyed hearing all of his teaching company lectures. Always standing above the rest.
I remember him speaking of travels with his son and family. My prayers are with you guys for your loss.
I never met Professor Fears in person but I feel I've lost an old friend after listening to and watching his lecture series with The Teaching Company. I loved those so much I introduced my two oldest sons to them and they too became avid Rufus fans. The oldest got his history degree at Northwestern and the younger is a Letters major at OU and got to take Rome, Greece and Great Books with Dr. Fears.
I am now introducing my youngest son, an 8th grader, to Rufus.
Well done Dr. Fears. Like your definition of great books, you wrote and spoke of noble themes, in noble language, and you will definitely speak to us across the ages, so long as we have your recorded lectures!
God bless you sir for sharing your love of antiquity and your gift of lecturing with me and my sons.
What a wonderful man! I truly enjoyed the time I spent in his class! I used to drag others to hear him lecture. I also recommended his classes to everyone I ever knew at OU. Besides being an incredible teacher, he was such a kind man. I couldn't believe that he invited us to his home for a Christmas party, and was so pleased when we came. I offer my true condolences to his family. Thank you for sharing him with us.
You will be truly missed! Thank you for being a wonderful Professor to us all, a loving husband to Charlene and great father to Betsy and Jesse. Jesse truly loved the long vacations and neverending support. You will always be his hero! Thank you for giving him and all of us wonderful memories !
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Fears. Words cannot accurately expressed the amount of respect I hold for him to this day. I studied under him in 1997-1998, and these were the most memorable courses I have ever taken. He was a brilliant, captivating, kind, remarkable man. He will truly be missed. My deepest sympathies to his family. My hope is you will know the incredible impact he had on so many lives.
Oh my heart hurts, I am so so sad.
The very first time I visited Dr. Fears I was all atremble and even near tears, for it is a vulnerable task to earnestly confess one's Dreams. I entered his office hurriedly and began my declaration abruptly, afraid that old cowardice might overcome my resolve. Speaking as one whose life is on the line (and in the truest sense it was) I said, “Hello sir, my name is Lauren Smith, most people forget my name, but it is very important to me that you do not, because in you I see what I most desperately desire to become.” In a less articulate outpouring of speech I continued on endeavoring to convey my essence. When at last I had finished my manifesto, Dr. Fears smiled knowingly and said, “So you love Wisdom too.”
In Dr. Fears I found an uncommon friend, sublime of soul, and an excellent guide, who altered the course of my life for the better. I am studying what I love in graduate school today only because of the time and effort Dr. Fears spent encouraging, kindly correcting and actively supporting my reading, writing and thought. Never did I guess that I would be deprived of my professor so soon. I am deeply thankful for his life's work which ultimately was to set all hearts ablaze for Wisdom and to recall us, all human beings, back to our best selves.
I owe so much to my beloved teacher's memory and thus I send off his spirit with bereaved Crito's promise, “the debt will be paid.”
The debt will be paid so long as I and all those who knew him remember his resounding principles and attempt to emulate the man who, “of all the men of his time was the wisest, the best, and the most just.”
Quotes from Plato's Phaedo, at Socrates' death scene.
As many previous posters have said- Dr. Fears was hands-down my very favorite professor. He was an astounding, interesting and inspiring person whom I greatly admire. Seriously, how many professors of the Classics & History get THIS kind of response from their students?! He made everything he taught interesting & alive. I really look forward to his Heavenly lecture series, once I get there to see him again. Rest in Peace Dr. Fears. We love you.
I never missed a chance to hear Dr. Fears speak . I own and continue to enjoy a number of his courses from the Teaching Company series. His death is a great loss to Oklahoma University and the entire state.
Almost seventeen years since I've sat in one of his classes and I still recall Dr. Fears often and fondly as one of my favorite professors. Whether an auditorium sized class or a small, intimate one, he took the time to know each and every student. He was always very generous with his time, and on occassion hosted student get-togethers at his home. He brought life and excitement to every one of his lectures. I've never known anyone to make history so fun! I was privilged to have had many of his classes.
What a privilege it was to be in his book club this past year. He was one of the most knowledgeable speakers I have ever listened to. The University and the state have lost a real legend. Our sympathy to his family.
Dr. Fears was hands down my favorite professor at OU. It is such a loss. I still read my class notes and watch his lectures on the DVDs I luckily never sold. I learned so much from him and enjoyed every minute. I am saddened that the future OU scholars will not get to know this great man. Thanks for the incredible knowledge Dr. Fears.
An amazing professor, I enjoyed attending his class "Freedom in Greece" at OU. He made an impact on many lives, he will be greatly missed.
Dr. Fears provided understandable and cognizant remarks to every subject he tackles...Dr. Fears was FUN...we always looked forward to his lectures in Ardmore sponsored by the Noble Foundation. Our deepest sympathy to his family ... our state and nation are in mourning for this great man.
Dr. Fears was an outstanding example of 'higher education'; he taught so well that students enjoyed learning and felt as though they were reliving historical events right there in the classroom. He was not only a great teacher, he was a good leader. If you went into office hours he would ask about your major, plans and goals for life. He will be sorely missed in Norman. Prayers and best wishes are sent to his family and loved ones.
I heard him speak at Profiles and Perspectives seminars by the Noble Foundation in Ardmore.
He was so easy to listen to that I feel as though a personal friend has died. Dr Fears spoke of America's need for a new George Washington, sadly now America needs another educated speaker like Dr Fears.
May The Lord bless his family, co-workers, students and the audiences who loved him so.
Requiescat in pace, Dr. Fears
I was privileged to hear Rufus speak at a number of YPO/WPO events over the years as well as at a lecture series at Oklahoma Christian University. Additionally, two of my children are Letters/Classics majors and were blessed to have classes/capstone with him. My oldest, Todd, also worked with him at OCPA and considered Rufus his mentor. What a brilliant, kind, funny man with such a gift for storytelling and making history come alive and relevant to today's issues! His death is an enormous loss for the University of Oklahoma, the state of Oklahoma, and all of those who loved him! Our deepest condolences to his family. You will be in our prayers!
I regret my children will not be able to experience one of Dr. Fears' lectures as I was fortunate to as a student. I have often thought of taking an afternoon off work and sneaking into his class, but unfortunately it is now too late. He will be missed.
An amazing person. I never met you in person but through your work I will admire you as long as I live.
I was enrolled in Dr. Fears Freedom in Rome course at OU during the spring of 2004.
Through this man, I lived a day in the life of a Pompeiian before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. I crossed the Alps with Hannibal. I defied the Roman Senate when I crossed the Rubicon with Julius Caesar. And with the Roman legions occupied in Spain, I led a slave revolt with Spartacus.
By this man, I saw history brought alive with unbridled enthusiasm. And now this man, this teacher of teachers, is gone, and he will be sorely missed.
I sought out your class for this next spring because of how amazing an educator you were. I will sorely regret never being taught by such a great man. Thoughts and prayers for the family. Requiescat in pace, professor Fears.
My husband and I have attended Dr. Fears continuing education courses for the past few years. We have greatly admired him and feel that this is a great loss! Our deepest sympathy to his family
The best professor I've ever had, and it's not even close. The University of Oklahoma and the entire state lost a legend today. God bless sir.