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Joseph Pequigney
  • In lieu of flowers, if you would like to make a donation in memory of Joe, please consider Doctor's Without Borders, Amnesty International, or the charity of your choice.
  • Amnesty International USA

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Memories & Candles

“Although I had Professor Pequigney as my professor over 30 years ago, I will never forget him. I was in his Shakespearean Tragedies course and I...Read More »
1 of 11 | Posted by: Carol Hay - Plymouth, MA

“Joseph Pequigney was my teacher for Milton and Shakespeare at Stony Brook University. He recommend me for a teaching assistantship at Stony Brook...Read More »
2 of 11 | Posted by: Kathleen Kern - Setauket, NY

“Joe and I are distant relatives - I discovered him while doing genealogy research in the 90s, and we met once in Manhattan during a business trip of...Read More »
3 of 11 | Posted by: Stephen Pequigney - Ellicott City, MD

“Oh Joe, how can it be that you are gone? You were always present, through all those years, from the time I met you, shortly after I had started my...Read More »
4 of 11 | Posted by: Eleonore Zimmermann - NY - Friend

“I am still processing the loss of our Joe, that massive intellect, gifted teacher, unparalleled mentor, subtle humorist, generous colleague, gracious...Read More »
5 of 11 | Posted by: Barbara Smith - Flushing, NY

“For upwards of twenty years, Joe and I shared the drive from our Greenwich Village apartments to our offices and classrooms at Stony Brook, and back...Read More »
6 of 11 | Posted by: Thomas Maresca - New York, NY

“For upwards of twenty years, Joe and I shared the drive from our Greenwich Village apartments to our offices and classrooms at Stony Brook, and back...Read More »
7 of 11 | Posted by: Tom Maresca - New York, NY

“I knew Joe my whole life and it's been all the richer. Feeling lucky, and sad, and grateful. All my love to Steven and Cathy and extended family. ”
8 of 11 | Posted by: Ursula Abrams - Troy, NY - Friend

“Uncle Bubba, it was a blessed day the day Steve (your nephew), introduced me to you and Stevven. What a spark you both added to our lives. Your...Read More »
9 of 11 | Posted by: Stephanie Cole - Cypress, TX

“Dear Joe. Every time I arrived from Paris we would have a long and extended talk about politics befor moving on to books, philosophy and art. You...Read More »
10 of 11 | Posted by: Barbara Giudice - Paris, Feance

“The riches that Joe added to my life shines above the loss which is great. Joe remains joy married to keen intellect. He was energy and discernment....Read More »
11 of 11 | Posted by: Andrew Appel - Craryville, NY


Wheat Emblem

Farre Joseph Pequigney passed away peacefully at his home in Manhattan on January 19th, 2022. Joe was born in 1924 in Galveston, TX. He graduated from Notre Dame University in 1944, and earned an M.A. at the University of Minnesota in 1947. After a period in the novitiate and on the teaching faculty of St. John's University, he went to Harvard University where he earned his Ph.D. in 1959.
In 1960, Joe joined the original English Department faculty of Stony Brook University, where he taught until he retired in 1995. His early academic writing focused on Milton and Dante, but it was his teaching of Shakespearean drama and poetry combined with the experience of being a gay man that led him to his major work, Such Is My Love, a radical close reading of the sonnets. Although greeted with controversy at first, this book became a seminal work in Shakespeare and gay studies alike. Joe went on to write numerous articles on same-sex love as it appeared in Dante's Divine Comedy and English Renaissance drama, for publications like The Dante Encyclopedia; The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage; ELR: English Literary Renaissance, and Representations. In 2017 he received the GALA ND/SMC Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement, honoring the fact that themes "of same sex love are today recognized and taught with greater honesty as a result" of his work. For Joe, teaching was as important as scholarship; the clarity and passion of his thought inspired generations of students, some of whom credit him with profoundly shaping their subsequent paths.
Joe remained interested in Catholic thinking throughout his life. In an unpublished article, he discussed some important discrepancies between papal discourse and the foundational writing of Thomas Aquinas which contends that "ensoulment," what makes us human, does not occur at the moment of conception.
Joe loved friends and family, European travel, theatre, food, wine, and animated conversations about them all. Joy was effusive around his table, powered by his affection, his love of sharing, his wit, and very often by his heartfelt left-wing politics. The love he radiated enriched the lives of his husband, his siblings, his 11 nieces and nephews, and their children, all of whom happily acknowledge their "Uncle Bubba's" extensive influence on their lives.
Joe is survived by his husband and companion of 53 years, Steven Mays, his sister Margaret Cashion of Jackson, MS, the aforementioned nieces and nephews, their children, and their children's children. He was predeceased by his parents Margaret Dugey Pequigney and Frank Pequigney, and by his sister Dorothy Shepherd Davison, all of Galveston, TX.