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Students and faculty reflect on memories of John Vannice

Former psychology, sociology professor inspired campus community

John and Lynda Vannice shared a passion for teaching and an office in Synder Hall. Lynda describes her husband as “borderline brilliant.”
Image provided by Lynda Vannice
John and Lynda Vannice shared a passion for teaching and an office in Synder Hall. Lynda describes her husband as “borderline brilliant.”

UCC instructor John Vannice passed away after a short battle with cancer March 6, 2014. Vannice retired in spring 2004 after teaching a variety of courses on campus for many years. His retirement was short lived, as he returned fall 2004 to teach online sociology and psychology courses.

Vannice taught up until the day he passed away, according to Chris Morgan, secretary.

Vannice is survived by his wife Lynda Vannice, the jewel of his heart. They shared a 42-year-long marriage after finding each other in Barcelona, Spain when John Vannice was in the army. The two were inseparable ever since.

“You seldom saw one without the other; John and Lynda shared an office here at the college, and they were such a team. Even in telling jokes, they were a team. John provided the twinkle and Lynda gave the dry humor. Snyder Hall was so much fun when they were here,” said writing instructor Melinda Benton who worked in the same building as the Vannices.

As Benton mentioned, John’s sense of humor is recognized as one of his most memorable traits. According to his wife, he had an incredible sense of humor. Coworkers agree.

“He was a kind, compassionate, intelligent, witty and loving man. His sweater buttoned in the wrong holes. From, his delightful laughter as he’d say something clever and then walk away to his kind heart, I cannot fully express how great of an impact he had on me and others,” said co-worker Patty Lamoureaux, business instructor.

“John was adamant that others not be concerned or worried about him as he didn’t want to bother anyone else,” Morgan stated.

John helped Morgan overcome nerves when she interviewed for a secretary position within the humanities department on campus around 20 years ago.

“John had a wonderful sense of humor and perfect timing—he sure knew when someone could use a good laugh,” she said.

Library Director David Hutchison also has fond memories of camaraderie with John. Hutchison enjoyed John’s unique sense of humor and passion for knowledge.

“UCC has lost one of the best of us, and I feel so lucky to have known John.”

—Ní Aódagaín

“John’s interests were wide and deep,” Hutchison said.

John also enjoyed sharing his ideas with others. Before his death, he was working on several books he hoped to eventually see published, according to Morgan,

“He was borderline brilliant,” Lynda said.

John enjoyed reading and learning. He took advantage of the library services frequently and was easily one of the biggest patrons.

He enjoyed sharing his abundant interests with students in his classes.

“I had the privilege of taking a class with John years ago,” Steve Buchko, Security Director, said. “What a wonderful teacher he was. He taught with such passion and humility.”

“What I will miss most about John is his enormous intellectual curiosity. He read everything, and questioned the ways in which our society worked, the ways our political system did nor did not serve the people, and what was each of our roles as citizens in the world,” world languages instructor Honora Ní Aódagaín said.

John was also interested in movies and swimming in the pool, when it was open, according to Morgan.

John will continue to be remembered by faculty when they are reflecting on fond memories of time spend laughing and learning with a dear friend.

Buchko added that Vannice, “Might have been the only person I knew with worse hair than me.”

“John was a friend and a compassionate teacher. I am very saddened and will miss him,” history instructor Charles Young said.

“UCC has lost one of the best of us, and I feel so lucky to have known John,” Ní Aódagaín said.