AMIS, William D. "Bill" William D. Amis (Bill), Professor Emeritus, Georgia State University, bookstore founder, and opera lover who was always ready to set out on a new adventure, died at home January 18 at the age of 91. Bill was known for his intellectual curiosity, his warm smile, the sparkle in his eyes, and the deep respect with which he held others. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. He is survived by his wife of forty-two years, Paula Stephan Amis; son, David Amis and his partner Jonathan DeLoach of Atlanta, Ga.; two sisters, Ruth Amis Clark, of Greenwood, S.C., and Fran Amis Lowrimore, of Hemingway, S.C.; three generations of nieces and nephews; and a multitude of friendships spanning generations and continents. The eldest child of Thomas Broadus (T.B.) Amis and Ruth Jackson Amis, Bill was born August 13, 1925, in Brownwood, Texas, where his father was the head football coach of Howard Payne University. In 1932 the family moved to a farm near Newberry, S.C. Bill graduated from Newberry High School in 1942. He attended Newberry College and Johns Hopkins University before being inducted into the Army in the summer of 1945. One of his first assignments in the Office of the Theater Chaplain was to deliver matzos for Passover to military personnel in Paris. Of this experience, he wrote his parents, "Again, and again and again I thought there's nothing, there can be nothing quite like Paris," a conviction he firmly held for the rest of his life. Subsequently he edited the Occupation Chronicle, a weekly publication of the Department of Information and Education. After military service, he enrolled in Swarthmore College and graduated with a double major in sociology and psychology in 1949. He went on to do doctoral studies in sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and received his PhD in 1959. Bill joined the faculty of the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University in 1955. After leaving to take positions first at Emory University and then Wake Forest University, he returned to Georgia State in 1961. He held the rank of professor. He retired from Georgia State in 1988. With Mark Stevens, Bill founded The Science Fiction and Mystery Book Shop in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta in 1983; the shop was known for hosting signings by well-known authors. Bill loved the English language and shared this love, along with his considerable proficiency in the language, by editing books and articles for younger colleagues and scholars, including his wife. He enjoyed other languages as well and was a serious student of German, French, and Italian. He was an avid reader of non-fiction. Bill was an opera enthusiast and considered himself fortunate to have attended performances in cities across the US and Europe, as well as in Sydney and Buenos Aires. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia; his first destination in any city was the art museum. For the past 16 years, Bill and Paula have spent part of each year in Paris, where they keep an apartment, and in recent years also in Turin, Italy, where Paula worked at the University of Turin. His remains will be cremated and his ashes scattered by the family in a private ceremony. A memorial service will be held in the theater of The Paideia School, 1509 Ponce De Leon Ave, March 4 at 4:30 pm, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made in his memory to the Georgia State University Foundation, directed to the Amis Stephan Endowment for Undergraduate Retention (Fund 020393), or to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jan. 24, 2017.