James Stolzman

Obituary of James Daniel Stolzman

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James Daniel (Jim) Stolzman July 17 1943 –July 06, 2023 Jim Stolzman of Halifax died this past Thursday of metastatic prostate cancer. Jim came to Halifax in 1970 to teach at the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University. He retired From the Dalhousie Department of Sociology in 2008. The citation for Jim’s 2003 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Association of Atlantic Universities described him as “kind, open-minded, compassionate, respectful, approachable and committed”, qualities that extended into his world beyond the classroom. This honour was preceded by Dalhousie’s 2002 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. Jim’s teaching was centred in his recognition that students come to university already armed with well-developed thoughts about how the world works. They are not empty vessels waiting to be filled up, but instead are ready to strive to understand—to refine and build upon, or perhaps to reject—their own ideas about our society. In addition to his career-long interest in creative and effective university teaching, Jim offered courses in sociological theory and history, and in his specialties of moral panics and the sociology of mental disorders. Jim’s course in mental health disorders was remarkably popular: at one time it received ten registrations for each classroom seat available. In this class students studied in depth the social basis for mental struggles and were relieved to learn that mental illness is much more than a set of individual weaknesses. After his retirement from teaching Jim served Dalhousie as an accomplished undergraduate advisor, guiding students through the complicated labyrinth of modern university life. Jim was born in Minnesota and grew up in River Falls, Wisconsin and Minot, North Dakota. He was a graduate of Florida State University and the University of Oregon. While he became a heartfelt (if lovingly critical) Canadian, something of the American mid-West never left Jim. In addition to his longstanding and occasionally unrewarding support for Dalhousie basketball, Jim was a passionate fan of the University of Wisconsin basketball, and Wisconsin High School Track and Field. For ten summers Jim and his friends led the revitalization of small-town amateur baseball in River Falls. He was predeceased by his parents, Herbert and Alice Stolzman; and by his sister Marlie Moses. Jim is survived by his wife, Willa Adair-Stolzman, who he married in 1983; by daughters, Gretel Stolzman of Woodinville, WA., and Julie (Cameron) Murray of Winnipeg; by stepson, Matthew Cartledge of Halifax; and by niece, Emily (Mark) Jacobs of Wakefield, RI and nephew, Jeff (Mary) Moses of Indio, CA. The family wishes to thank his many health care providers over the years, in particular the excellent staff of the VG site Palliative Care Unit, where Jim spent his final weeks. Donations in Jim’s memory can be made to the Palliative Care Unit of the VG Hospital. Arrangements for a memorial gathering of Jim’s friends will be announced for a later date.