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Memorial services held Monday for Robert Rethy, longtime professor of philosophy

Rethy came to Xavier in 1982 and was a scholar of German and Greek philosophy, focusing on the philosopher Nietzsche

07/07/08

Robert Aaron Rethy, PhD, professor of philosophy at Xavier, died July 5 after suffering a heart attack in April. He was 59.  A memorial service was held Monday, July 7, in the Conaton Board Room on the Xavier campus.

Rethy was born in New York City in 1949 and entered Trinity College in Connecticut at age 16. He received a BA with Honors in English in 1969 and his MA and PhD in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University in 1975 and 1980, respectively. He also studied Clinical Psychology at Clark University.

Rethy came to Xavier in 1982 as an assistant professor of philosophy. In 1987, he was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor. In 1995 he achieved the rank of full professor and was appointed chair of the Department of Philosophy, a position he held until 2007.

While at Xavier, Rethy became an esteemed scholar of 19th century German and ancient Greek philosophy, authoring several important studies of the theories of Friedrich Nietzsche. As such, Rethy was a model of dedication to his students, his friends and colleagues, and his family. He was working on the sources of Nietzsche's moral critique and his post-Zarathustra political philosophy when he fell ill.

Dr. Rethy was a Visiting Reader at the University of Essex in 1989-1990 and  was awarded a Xavier University Research Sabbatical for 1991-1992 as well as an NEH Summer Fellowship in 1994. In 1999 he delivered the second annual Murray Lecture at Xavier, "Progress and Return."

Professor Rethy leaves his wife of 28 years, Sonja, and their three children: Isaac, Leah and Alisa. The Rethys are active members of Northern Hills Synagogue. In addition, he leaves his mother, Florence, of New York City, a brother, Eric, of Thailand, and a sister in California. His father predeceased him. In addition, scores of students and colleagues mourn the loss of his friendship and wisdom.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to The Robert Aaron Rethy Student Assistance Fund to Help Students in Need, c/o Xavier University Development Office, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-7730.