J. Howard Kauffman, Goshen College professor emeritus of sociology, dies

GOSHEN, Ind. — A long-time fixture and author from Goshen College’s sociology department has died.
J. Howard Kauffman, 84, Goshen College professor emeritus of sociology, died in his home in Goshen on the morning of Nov. 18.

Kauffman, who had a doctorate in sociology, served on the Goshen College faculty from 1948 until his retirement in 1985, during which he wrote a book and was chair of the Department of Sociology and Cultural Anthropology for many of those years.

Kauffman was born Oct. 4, 1919 in West Liberty, Ohio, to Earl V. and Mary Ann (Smucker) Kauffman.

Kauffman came to Goshen in 1939 to attend Goshen College. After graduating in 1947 and serving in Civilian Public Service from 1941 to 1945, he earned a master’s degree in rural sociology from Michigan State University and began teaching in Goshen College’s sociology department in 1948. After taking a leave of absence from 1954 to 1955 to study at the University of Chicago, he received a doctorate in sociology in 1960.

During his tenure, Kauffman introduced thousands of students to basic social science research methods and contributed his own research and scholarship to the understanding of family and community, particularly within the contexts of the Mennonite Church and the larger societal trend toward urbanization. In collaboration with colleagues Leland Harder and Leo Driedger, Kauffman researched and wrote two books about the beliefs and social patterns of Mennonites: “Anabaptists Four Centuries Later” (1975) and “The Mennonite Mosaic” (1991).

Kauffman was a member of College Mennonite Church. He was also active in many organizations, including the Indiana Council on Family Relations, the National Council on Family Relations, the National Council of Churches, the Mennonite Historical Society and The Mennonite Quarterly Review. He conducted family life seminars on behalf of the World Council of Churches in Barbados, Ghana and Botswana. Kauffman led groups of Goshen College students on Study-Service Terms in Belize in 1974-75 and China in 1981.

He married Verda P. Lambright, a fellow Goshen College student from Shipshewana, Ind., Nov. 26, 1944, and she survives him.

He is also survived by four daughters, Lois Kauffman of New York City, Ruth (Nelson) Shantz of Ann Arbor, Mich., Alice (Craig) Hofheimer of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Carol (Walter) Poling of Greensboro, N.C.; one brother, Ellsworth (Irene) Kauffman of Wichita, Kan.; and nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Wanda Wideman.

Visitation will be Nov. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6-8:30 p.m. in the Koinonia Room of College Mennonite Church. Family and friends will gather at 9 a.m. Nov. 21 for a processional to Violett Cemetery for the committal service. The memorial service will be at 11 a.m. in College Mennonite Church, where Revs. Klaudia Smucker and Firman Gingerich will officiate. Memorials may be made to the Mennonite Historical Society, Greencroft Foundation or Goshen Care at Home Hospice.

Editors: For more information, contact Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.