Allen Imershein, Ph.D., 75

Allen W. Imershein, PhD, 61, died Sunday, December 4, 2005, in Tallahassee, Florida. During 2005, he successfully recovered from three difficult operations associated with Crohn’s Disease, only to learn that an undetected cancer had spread beyond the possibility of treatment.

Al was born on July 28, 1944, in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Buffalo and Coral Gables, Florida. He earned a Bachelors Degree from Duke University, a Masters Degree from Yale Divinity School, and a Masters and PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

He was a member of the sociology faculty of Florida State University from 1973 to 2005, rising through the ranks from assistant to full professor, where he played an active role in the development of the department throughout those years. Al founded and directed the Institute for Health and Human Services Research at Florida State University, which supported the research of faculty and graduate students over many years. He served on the Florida State University Faculty Senate where he was an advocate for liberal arts education, particularly for entering first-year students. He served as a Visiting Scholar at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health and at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. In the year prior to his death, he was elected Vice-President of the Southern Sociological Society.

Al’s research and teaching concerns focused on health, human service organizations, and social policy. He was intensely interested in social theory and his publications appeared in our leading journals including the American Sociological Review and American Journal of Sociology. He was dedicated to working with both graduate and undergraduate students and received a University Teaching Award and a Teaching Incentive Program Award from Florida State University. His Socratic method of instruction challenged students to analyze and think rather than memorize and repeat. In addition to teaching and research, Al was a social activist who devoted himself to university and community service. He was instrumental in establishing several organizations in the local community, including the United Church of Tallahassee. He was active in local politics and was a strong advocate for social justice and progressive environmental policies.

Al’s colleagues and acquaintances will remember him as an energetic, gregarious, and faithful friend. He was a beloved father, husband, brother, and social activist.

He is survived by his wife of 11 years, Donna Crowley of Sopchoppy, FL, his son Chris and wife Dawn of Chapel Hill, NC, and a sister Norma Barton of Bethpage, TN.