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Dr. John Gueguen, Jr., RIP

January 13, 2019

John Gueguen was a political theorist who studied with Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago, but was shaped by his undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame. John was a teacher’s teacher whom I came to know and admire after his retirement.

John Arthur  Gueguen Jr.

John Arthur Gueguen, Jr., was born June 14, 1933, the son of John Arthur and Marjorie Agnes (Mallot) Gueguen in Independence, MO. He grew up with loving parents and four devoted younger sisters: Sharon, Mary Pat, Joyce and Loretta. He was raised in Lexington, MO. He studied architecture at the Junior College of Wentworth, earning an Associate in Science degree in 1952.
John went to the University of Notre Dame as a transfer student. He studied in the College of Arts and Letters, with a major in communication arts. He played trombone in Notre Dame’s marching and concert band.
John graduated in June 1956 magna cum laude. His first job was as a journalist in New Jersey; however, it was not long before the chairman of Notre Dame’s political science department summoned him back to fill a sudden faculty vacancy in 1958. He taught there for two years and discovered that he had a gift for teaching. He began doctoral studies in political philosophy at the University of Chicago in 1960. While working on his Ph.D., John resumed teaching at Notre Dame in 1962.
In the summer of 1966 John moved to San Francisco and taught political philosophy at San Francisco State. He returned to Chicago in 1969 to finish his dissertation. He received his Ph.D. in 1970.
In 1972, John’s began teaching political philosophy at Illinois State University. He became a full professor in 1980. In 1981, he was named the Arts and Sciences Lecturer and Teacher of the Year.
John was respected and loved by the thousands of students whom he taught over his 24 years at ISU. What mattered to him most was the integral intellectual and moral formation of the innumerable young people he instructed. His effectiveness as a teacher can be seen by the many lives he changed during his career at ISU.
After retirement in 1996, John spent his time in Champaign-Urbana (Illinois) doing research and writing. In 2005, he moved back to St. Louis, where he lived until his final illness.
John had a deep love for God in daily life, a commitment to professionalism in his work, and strong spirit of service. These he learned from the teachings of Opus Dei which he strove to live out since his college years.
John is survived by his four sisters, their 19 children, and their 40-some grandchildren, visiting whenever possible and writing often. He will always be remembered for his warm and steadfast communications with his siblings, their children, and numerous former students and colleagues.
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