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Paul R. Eberts

1932 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Paul R. Eberts Obituary
Eberts, Paul R.

Paul R. Eberts, Professor Emeritus of rural sociology at Cornell University, died at his home in Issaquah, Washington, on June 23, 2016. He was 84. Professor Eberts had moved from Ithaca to Washington State in 2008 to be close to his granddaughter. Paul was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1932, the second child of Harry W. Eberts and the former Marie Hofreuter. Paul played baseball for Wheeling High School and basketball for an AAU team. After graduating, Paul followed his older brother Harry to Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, where, instead of sports, he chose to sing in the Concert Choir. After Heidelberg, Paul again followed Harry, this time to Yale Divinity School. At Yale, Paul was a student of Richard Niebuhr, whose writings would remain dear to Paul throughout his life. After Yale, Paul earned a PhD in sociology at the University of Michigan. There he was a student of Amos Hawley, whom he always considered to have influenced his thinking profoundly. After Michigan, Paul began his career at Cornell University in the Rural Sociology department. Paul's work at Cornell focused on rural community development in New York State. He was proud to have been invited to speak on community development by leaders in every rural county in the state. At the invitation of New York State's Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, Paul wrote a book on socioeconomic trends and wellbeing indicators. Along with his colleague Kris Merschrod, Paul continued to update this book into the 21st century. The Legislative Commission on Rural Resources says that Paul's publications continue to be requested. Throughout his sociology career, Paul always attended the annual Rural Sociological Society meetings every August. Paul presented a paper at those meetings every year for 40 years. Among his proudest achievements at Cornell was helping to found CaRDI, the Community and Regional Development Institute. Paul returned to his basketball career later in life, playing with friends in Ithaca and forming a team (the Owls) that competed in the New York State Senior Games and also at the National Senior Games, where the Owls won gold twice. Paul played in his final Games with the Owls in Palo Alto, California, in 2009. After retiring from Cornell, Paul relocated to Washington State to live near his granddaughter. In Washington, Paul returned to his biblical studies. He wrote four books with his brother Harry W. Eberts, Jr., on the early Jesus movement. Paul also enjoyed participating in a monthly colloquium on issues in Christianity at Seattle University. In the last weeks of his life, Paul was pleased to receive many visitors from near and far. He died at home, surrounded by his family. Paul is survived by his wife, Helene Moran Eberts, who was his partner for nearly 40 years. He is also survived by his former wife Ellie of Rochester, New York, his brother Harry of Kalamazoo, Michigan, his step-daughter Amy Vigorita, and granddaughter Calliope. Paul's daughter Karen died before him in 2005. Services are planned for Thursday August 18, 2016 at 2:00pm at the Greenwood Cemetery in Wheeling, WV, and Tuesday August 23, 2016 at 5:00pm at the Johnson Museum in Ithaca, NY. Friends are invited to view photos, get directions and share memories in the family's online guest book at
Published in Ithaca Journal on Aug. 13, 2016
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