Joseph A. Kestner, McFarlin Professor of English and founding chair of the Department of Film Studies, passed away overnight Sunday, Aug. 23. He was on sabbatical this fall and preparing to travel to Sweden to begin a new project on Ingmar Bergman.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, in Sharp Chapel on The University of Tulsa campus.
Kestner was an outstanding scholar who personified a level of intellectual dynamism and energy that inspired colleagues and students at TU for 37 years. An exceptional educator and beloved mentor, his classes were enormously popular. He received TU’s prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award in 1984 and many other awards and accolades, which were an eloquent testimony to his genius and dedication.
In addition to his love for Victorian literature, Kestner had a tremendous passion for and knowledge of film and film genres. He was instrumental in the development of the film studies major in 1999 and film studies department in 2005. The program has attracted substantial talent and been highly successful in preparing its students for prestigious awards, internships and careers.
Kestner’s engagement with the community was equally stellar. His frequent talks were eagerly awaited and enthusiastically attended. He was truly an invaluable asset to the university.
He is survived by his wife, Anna Norberg, a longtime faculty member in TU’s School of Music. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Kestner’s honor to support a scholarship for deserving TU film studies students. Gifts may be mailed to The University of Tulsa, 800 S. Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104. Please include “Professor Kestner” in the check’s subject line.