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Jack Marler, Ph.D.: 1948-2023


Jack Marler, Ph.D., an associate professor of philosophy at Saint Louis University, died Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. He was 75.

Marler was a long-time professor at SLU, joining the University in 1990. 

“Jack was passionate about manuscript studies,” said Scott Ragland, Ph.D., chair of the department of philosophy. “He regularly taught graduate students the essential skills of paleography, the art of deciphering the "shorthand" Latin often used in medieval manuscripts. He was equally passionate about ancient and medieval philosophy and was adept at helping students see the continuing relevance of St. Thomas Aquinas and other great philosophers of the past. The philosophy department has lost an important teacher and colleague. We miss you, Jack.”

Jack Marler, Ph.D.
Jack Marler, Ph.D. SLU File Photo.

Marler was born April 24, 1948, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He lost most of his hearing at the age of six and didn’t have hearing aids until he entered college. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Louisiana State University in 1970. Two years later, he earned his master's, also in philosophy, from LSU.

Marler then headed north to Canada. He joined the University of Toronto in 1977, initially as a tutor. He became an instructor in 1980. 

It was from the University of Toronto that he received his doctorate in 1988. While working on his doctorate, he also taught at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. 

In 1989, he was an instructor at San Jacinto College in Houston. The following year, in 1990, Marler joined the philosophy department at SLU. 

"He is overall a great teacher and uses teaching techniques that are unique and different, giving students more freedom when it comes to writing,” a former student wrote on a course evaluation.

Marler was promoted to associate professor in 1995. The same year he helped the SLU library identify and catalog valuable materials in history, literature, economics and education.  

“They had these holdings, but most faculty and students were not aware of them,” Ragland said. “Jack helped make them usable.”

Also, in 1995, Marler helped forge ties between philosophy departments at SLU and the University of Frankfurt. Those ties eventually developed into a multi-year program of graduate-student and faculty exchange between the two universities. 

“(Marler was) a positive influence on the life of the department – cooperative and generous . . . a most valuable colleague,” said Theodore Vitali, C.P., Ph.D., associate professor and former philosophy department chair at SLU.

At SLU, Marler’s research interests included Plotinus, Augustine and Early Medieval Philosophy. Marler co-authored the publication of the text of “The Mirror of Simple Souls” by Margaret Porette. He contributed his knowledge of medieval philosophy to the project and saw this example of scholarly detective work to publication. Marler also was the author of numerous scholarly articles.

Marler is survived by his wife, Cathy Marler; his brother-in-law Stephen; and his cousins, Stephen Martin, Libby Martin Lanzara, David Martin, and Sherry Scaife Blatchley.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Philosophy Department at Saint Louis University.