Monday, May 9, 2011

Tributes to John Rehder from His Former Students

David Mann: "Henri, Sorry to hear about John. He (and Sally) were the reasons I got interested in Geography. His love of culture always came through in all he did. We have lost a a very good friend. I am sorry I can not be there now. I am still in Afghanistan with the 101st in Kandahar and wont be back till June. Please pass my feelings on to everyone in our UT family. God Bless."

Tim Frazier: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of such a good man. I took John’s cultural geography class while I was an undergrad at UT and loved every minute of it. He told amazing stories woven into class lectures that made going to class the highlight of my day. I also had many conversations with John outside of class where his support and confidence in me helped me be successful in grad school at Penn State. I know we all have some favorite Rehder stories and I have told countless ones to my classes now that I am a university professor making my classes far richer. I do find some solace in knowing that John will live on through all these stores and all the students he touched. LSU lost a Tiger, UT lost a Vol, and we all lost a friend. I will miss my friend."

Annie Wambersie Strange: "What a tragic loss for the UT community. He was a wonderful professor and a truly kindhearted and compassionate person. May he always have his po'boys "dressed."

Jill Brickey: "When I was a young undergrad, wanting to study geography and learn about the world, I took Dr. Rehder's Geography of Appalachia class. It made me love my home and planted the desire to study my backyard -- the Great Smoky Mountains. I always enjoyed listening to Dr. Rehder talk about his field work experiences and the different things he encountered whether he was buying penny candy at a local general store or drinking chicha beer in Bolivia. I definitely enjoyed his stories (all of them) and talking to him to hear about his latest research or his grandkids. My prayers are for his family."

Daniel Lewis: "Dr Rehder told us a story in cultural geography class when I was an undergrad eons ago. He was in Bolivia I think, speaking with a village elder. The man told John one of his favorite foods was grub worms. John told him that sounded awful and he couldn't believe he would eat that. So the man proceeded to ask John what his favorite food was. John said "chicken". The man said, "chickens are filthy, nasty animals! I can't believe you would eat them"! It's all in your perspective, John said."

Nicole Samu: "He had a way of making students feel comfortable speaking in front of the class...I remember him saying something like "just pretend like you're having a conversation with your brother or sister". He had something good to say about everyone. When I took his class as an undergrad was probably the first time that I didn't feel panic stricken throughout an entire presentation. I'm so grateful for him making me realize that that was even possible! He was a great person and professor and will definitely be missed!!"

Desiree Kocis: "I took one of his classes as an undergrad years ago. I was still fairly new to TN, and was really homesick for Louisiana. His class was a blessing because, well, all he ever talked about was Louisiana! I only missed his class once... the morning of September 11th, when the Twin Towers were falling and our nation was crying. Wouldn't have missed that class for a lessor reason. A true character I will always remember."

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