Beloved Professor Dies Following Cancer Battle

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 at 9:52 PM
Beloved Professor Dies Following Cancer Battle by Macala Leigey
Former Edinboro University professor Dr. Joseph Laythe died Saturday.

On Saturday, March 12 Edinboro University lost long-time faculty member, 50-year-old Dr. Joseph Laythe, who had been battling cancer at the time of his death.

Laythe was an educator in Edinboro University’s history, anthropology and world languages department for nearly 20 years. In a recent email sent by Interim President David J. Werner, Laythe was praised for the work he accomplished while at Edinboro.

“He [Laythe] devoted himself to engaging students in the study of history as well as to his scholarly work as a historian.”

Laythe was recognized as Scholar of the Year in 2012, received the Martin Luther King Jr. Citizen Award in 2014 and published three books in 2016.

In March 2013, Laythe was diagnosed with cancer after a bump located near his femur was discovered to be cancerous. Throughout his long battle, Laythe underwent several operations, including one that required his femur to be replaced by a metal rod, and months of chemotherapy.

Although challenged by living with cancer, students attest to Laythe maintaining an optimistic outlook on life.

“He’s the most inspiring person I’ve ever met. He really makes everyone feel important and valued,” former student of Laythe’s, Elizabeth Clark said.

In response to a previous article written about Laythe, alumna Bobby Ann Christensen commented, saying, “If only I had the words to express how much I enjoyed learning [from] Dr. Laythe. Every class I took with him I looked forward to. He always made me believe I could do great things and reminded me why history is so fascinating.”

Nearly a month ago, on Feb. 16, Laythe gave his last lecture at Edinboro University as part of the Center for Faculty Excellence presentation series. Laythe imparted not only career advice for his colleagues, but also life advice for the student, faculty and community filled crowd.

“Regardless of our disciplines, we’re really all asking the same question, who are we and where do we fit in?” said Laythe.

During his teaching career at Edinboro University, Laythe impacted many students and was considered a beloved colleague, professor, and friend, who will surely be missed.

“I’ve been blessed to live the life I love. I’ve had the most remarkable life, [and] I cannot complain about a single thing.”

Funeral home visitations for Laythe will be held Saturday, March 19, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Glunt Funeral Home located on 210 Erie Street in Edinboro.

The funeral service for Laythe will be held Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m. in Cole Auditorium, located on Edinboro University’s campus.

Macala Leigey is the News Editor for The Spectator and she can be reached at

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