Longtime faculty member Archie Loss dies at 71

Archie Krug Loss, professor emeritus of English and American studies at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, died Monday, July 19, surrounded by his wife and children at the Cleveland Clinic, following a six-month battle with lung cancer. He was 71.

Loss was arguably best known for teaching American Studies 105: American Popular Culture and Folklife, a course about 1960s America that he first began teaching at Penn State Behrend in 1993.

The three-credit course places a heavy emphasis on music, movies and the media. The syllabus stresses music legends Bob Dylan and the Beatles, films such as Rebel without a Cause, The Graduate, Easy Rider, and Apocalypse Now, and a personal account of the Ohio National Guard shootings at Kent State in May 1970 -- by a local resident who was a student at the time. Bill McLean, lecturer in speech communication, taught the course for Loss during the spring 2010 semester.

"The American 1960s were a decade of diversity, chaos and change," said Loss in a 2009 interview. "The best way to learn about the significance of this historical time is to do so through the first-hand accounts of those who experienced it. That means music, visuals, guest speakers, and group discussion and interaction."

Throughout his 36-year tenure at Penn State Behrend, Loss was promoted to full professor and served as head of what is now the college's School of Humanities and Social Sciences for 12 years. He taught 11 courses, wrote or co-authored dozens of articles as well as four books, and presented numerous papers at technical and professional meetings. Notably, he wrote "Pop Dreams: Music, Movies, and the Media in the American 1960s" (Harcourt, 1998), which was used in American Studies 105.

Loss was the recipient of the Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows Excellence in Research Award and served as the college's commencement speaker in May 1998. His address was titled "The American Dream, 1998."

"My students from American Studies 105 know how I feel about Bob Dylan and his place in American music," Loss said as he closed his remarks. "They -- and I hope all of you -- will understand my ending this talk with part of one of his songs, a particular favorite of mine, dedicated to you: May your God bless and keep you; May your wishes all come true; May you always do for others; And let others do for you. May you build a ladder to the stars; And climb on every rung. May you stay -- forever young."

Loss earned his doctoral and master's degrees in English and art history from Penn State and a bachelor's degree in English and social studies from Millersville University.

Loss was born on Jan. 31, 1939, in Hanover, Pa., and was the only child of Alexander and Evelyn Krug Loss. He is preceded in death by his parents. Loss is survived by his wife of 43 years, Suzanne Perry Loss; two daughters, Emma Perry Loss and her husband, Paul Eisenstein, of Columbus, Ohio, and Lucinda Loss Shue and her husband, Captain Christopher Shue, of Fruitland, Md.; one son, Christopher Perry Loss and his wife, Catherine Loss, of Nashville, Tenn.; as well as five granddaughters, two grandsons, brothers- and sisters-in-law, and multiple nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Archie K. Loss Scholarship Fund at Penn State Behrend, 4701 College Drive, Erie, PA 16563.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010