Remembering those who have passed...

Please submit death notices and obituaries to the Executive Office for inclusion on this page. 


A Tribute to Peter M. Hall


The Midwest Sociological Society and the sociological community recently lost one of its guiding lights. As many of you know, Peter Hall died in early December. This is a huge loss and one that’s deeply felt in the field of sociology in general and for our professional society in particular. Peter was a leading figure in symbolic interactionism. He was a former president of both the MSS and the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interactionism. The Peter Hall Lecture Series was established at the MSS fifteen years ago in his honor. Author of two books and over fifty articles, he was a contributor to many sociological subfields, most recently environmental sociology. He was an important scholar but he was also a good person, mentor, and teacher. He had a strong interest in social justice which has its roots in his involvement in the Berkeley Free Speech movement during the 1960s. The current issue of The Sociological Quarterly, of which Peter was a co-editor, has a few pieces that pay tribute to his considerable impact on sociology. I urge you all to read those memorials and reflect on his substantial legacy.

Brian Donovan, MSS Publications Committee Chair

(This tribute was delivered prior to the MSS Presidential Address on Friday, March 23, 2018.)

Read Peter's obituary.

Wynona Smutz Garretson Hartley


Wynona Smutz Garretson Hartley, a member of the “Iowa School” of symbolic interaction in the late 1950s and early 1960s, passed away on February 6, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 90. There were few positive role models, mentors or sponsors for women PhDs entering academia in the 1950s; yet Wynona confidently charted her own course to build a successful career as a professor and researcher, working at the interface of sociology and medicine.  Born in 1927 in Iowa City, Wynona received an AA degree in 1946 from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, followed by a BA (1948), MA (1951) and PhD (1961), all in Sociology from the University of Iowa.  As a graduate student, she worked with Manford Kuhn and Thomas McPartland who were operationalizing and creating testable measures for symbolic interactionist concepts. Their most notable contribution was the Twenty Statements Test (TST) for self-concept, which she (as Wynona Garretson) helped develop in her PhD dissertation.  This work was published as “The Consensual Definition of Social Objects” in the Sociological Quarterly (1962) and later reprinted in the well-known Manis and Meltzer symbolic interaction reader of that era.  Another of her papers, “Self-Conception and Ward Behavior in Two Psychiatric Hospitals” appeared in Sociometry (1961). Through much of her scholarly life, Wynona continued to promote and serve as an expert interpreter of the TST. Also during her early years in Iowa, Wynona also served on the Sociology faculty of Iowa Wesleyan College, Mt. Pleasant, first as Instructor (1952-1955), then Assistant Professor (1955-1958), and finally as Associate Professor and Department Head (1955-1961).  Indicative of how atypical academic career trajectories were for women in those years, Wynona initially was asked to (and did) combine her teaching position with the role of secretary to the college president.

Read Wynona's full obituary.

Dr. William Cross


William Mastin Cross of Springfield (IL) died at 7:54 p.m. Friday, March 2, 2018, at Concordia Village. 

He was born Nov. 30, 1926, in Chicago, the son of Harry Clinton and Reba Mastin Cross. He married Ruth Ellen Hartman on May 30, 1953, at Bethel Lutheran Church of Englewood in Chicago. Ruth preceded him in death in 2014. 

Bill is survived by his loving sons, Paul (fiancée, Karen) of Garland, Texas, and John of Springfield; and several nieces and nephews. 

During and after World War II, Bill served in the U.S. Merchant Marines. He graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction from Valparaiso University and received a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Chicago in 1951, a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago in 1954, and a Ph.D. in sociology from South Dakota State University in 1971. 

Read Dr. Cross's full obituary.