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John Miles Headley

Posted By RSA, Monday, October 2, 2017

John Miles Headley, age 87, passed away peacefully on September 22, 2017 at his home with his devoted caregiver Joyce M. and family and friends in constant attendance during his final days.

Born on October 23, 1929 in New York City to his late parents Peter Sanford Ross Headley and Beatrice Miles Headley, he was preceded in death by his brother Peter Ogden Headley, of Richmond, Virginia. He earned his Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in History at Princeton University, 1951. He received his Master of Arts in History from Yale University in 1953 and subsequently served with the US Army Signal Corps, 1953–55. He returned to Yale and was awarded his PhD in History in 1960. He was an Instructor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1959–61 and Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, B.C., 1962–64. In 1964 he joined the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, remaining there until his retirement in 2003 as Distinguished University Professor.

Over his career he published widely in the fields of the European Renaissance and Reformation and global history. In November 2011, friends and colleagues honored him with a symposium, "From the Renaissance to the Modern World." His other academic honors included a Guggenheim fellowship (1974). His book Tommaso Campanella and the Transformation of the World (1997) won the Marraro Prize from the American Historical Association, the American Catholic Historical Association and the Society for Italian Historical Studies as well as the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize from the Renaissance Society of America. His other major books include The Problem with Multiculturalism: The Uniqueness and Universality of Western Civilization (2012); The Europeanization of the World: On the Origins of Human Rights and Democracy (2008); Church, Empire, and World: The Quest for Universal Order, 1520–1640 (1997); The Emperor and his Chancellor: A Study of the Imperial Chancellors under Gattinara (1983); Responsio ad Luterum, vol. 5 of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More (1969); and Luther's View of Church History (1963).

John is remembered for his dedication to his classes and to his students for generations. The high standards of his teachings and the quality of his scholarship remain an inspiration to them and to many others. He is survived by his two nephews Peter Mitchell Headley and Jonathan Miles Headley of Richmond, Virginia and his niece Elizabeth Headley Pearson of Deltaville, Virginia and eight grandnieces and nephews. The Headley family will receive family and friends at a memorial service at Walker's Funeral Home in Chapel Hill on Friday, October 6, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Frank Ryan and John Headley Dissertation Fellowship Fund of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Online condolences may be sent to the Headley family by visiting www.walkersfuneralservice.com.

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