Marie Haug (1914-2001)

Photo Marie Haug

Marie Haug was one of the most distinguished alumnae and also one of the most distinguished faculty members of the Department of Sociology at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). She died on October 4, 2001 at the age of 87. Marie excelled in all she did and continued to be a productive scholar and mentor right up to her death. She is survived by her beloved daughter and granddaughter. Her distinguished career at CWRU spanned 35 years. Marie was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1914. She graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College. She did graduate work in English at Yale University and studied social work at the new School for Social Research. She received her PhD in Sociology at CWRU in 1968 at the age of 54.

It is truly befitting for a gerontologist to make great creative contributions during later phases of her life. Marie’s productivity was a tour de force, with over 80 articles and six edited books to her credit. At 6 foot, 2 inches, Marie was an imposing presence with a sharp mind and strong convictions. She never let age, expectations, or even personal adversity slow her down.

During her career, Marie served as Principal Investigator on seven major research grants and co-investigator on 10 others. Not only did Marie Haug produce a large quantity of work, but she has made significant contributions to the fields of medical sociology, sociology of professions, and sociology of aging. Many of her early papers have become classics in the field. As early as the 1970s, she was prescient in her focus on computer technology as a major influence in redefining work and careers. In the late 1970s, Marie began to turn her attention to issues in medical sociology. She set the agenda for the health care consumerism movement and brought to light important challenges to accepted models of health care delivery.

Her early background as a union organizer and social activist never let her stay away from difficult topics which had social policy implications. At the same time, Marie approached each research question in a methodologically rigorous fashion. Her interest in research methods led her to develop a campus-wide seminar series in which renowned methodologists provided training for university faculty and advanced students in the latest cutting-edge techniques. Another major direction in Marie’s research agenda focused on gerontological topics working in the framework of the stress paradigm. She also became increasingly intrigued by the roles of race and gender in shaping health care, self-care, adaptation to stress, and mental health in late life. Marie received Distinguished Scholar awards from both the Medical Sociology and Sociology of Aging Sections of the ASA.

Among Marie’s greatest contributions was being a mentor per excellence to both students and senior colleagues. In her critiques of manuscripts and grant proposals, she always honed in on the crux of the problem and minced no words in providing feedback. For her positive influence on training leading scholars in the field of aging, she received the Gerontological Society of America’s Distinguished Mentorship Award.

On the CWRU campus, Marie may have been best known as the founding director of the Center on Aging and Health, an organization she guided to national leadership. Marie’s disciplinary home was in the CWRU Department of Sociology, which she chaired from 1975 through 1978. Marie had an abiding belief that our discipline’s contributions to society and to the educational enterprise will be recognized, and that sociology will thrive in the years ahead. All of us in the department hope that Marie will be smiling as she sees her predictions come true. We will give it our all to make her proud.

Eva Kahana, Case Western Reserve University
ASA Footnotes, December 2001

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