John Wolfe Dardess

Private Family Services for John W. Dardess, 83, of Lawrence were held through Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home. Interment was at Pioneer Cemetery.

Mr. Dardess died Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at St. Luke’s Hospice House.

He was born January 17, 1937, in Chatham, NY, the son of John Dardess and Edna Wolfe Dardess. He graduated from Chatham High School in NY in 1954 and Georgetown University in 1958. He earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1968. He moved to Lawrence in 1966 from New York.

Mr. Dardess served in the U.S. Army in the 1960s and was a Professor of History at the University of Kansas from 1966 to 2002 where he taught Chinese and Inner Asian History. He also served as Director of the Center for East Asian Studies from 1995-1997. He was fluent in many languages and was the author of ten books.

Survivors include a son, Tad and his wife, Pam, Durham, NC; a brother, George and his wife Peg, Rochester, NY; and two grandchildren, Lea and Maya.

Mr. Dardess was an avid bicyclist and also enjoyed gardening, writing and baseball.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Lawrence Unchained Bicycle Co-op, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

Messages & Condolences

From Jiajun Zou...

I am grateful to Mr. Dardess for his contribution to Ming History. My sincere condolences to the family.

From Guo Peigui...

John Dardess对明史研究做出重要贡献,谨致以真诚的悼念!

From Thomas H C Lee, Emeritus Professor, The City College of New York, CUNY and National Tsing-hwa University, Taiwan....

Sorry to hear the sad news. His studies, esp., the one on Cheng family which gave me important inspirations on the organization of a Chinese 族 have always inspired me. I also enjoyed reading his brief history of the Ming. As the Chinese saying would go, 一路好走。

From hagith sivan...

One of the nicest and most intelligent persons I have met during my long years in Lawrence. Always a joy to behold on his bicycle, a model of modesty and a very great scholar. KU can boast of mighty few whose scholarship is as wide ranged and as globally respected as that of John. You will be missed, greatly.

From Preston Decker (KU History doctoral student)...

My sincere condolences to the family. Dr. Dardess was an amazing man, and I am very grateful to have had the chance to have met and been mentored by him. His production and capability as a scholar was outstanding, as was the care and kindness he showed to this young doctoral student. Even at the age of 81 (summer 2018), he willingly gave up an hour of his time a week to tutor me in classical Chinese–seeing him read Zuo Zongtang without a dictionary (something that even with 15 years of Chinese study and 3 years of modern Chinese full-time translation experience I was unable to come close to doing) was an inspiration, as was the 20 km bike trip he took me on following that summer. His kindness to my wife Linda and son Aiden over a couple of subsequent visits, and the time he spent working on recommendation letters will also not be forgotten. He spoke frequently and with clear great love of his family, and again, sincere condolences from myself and wife Linda for your loss. He will be greatly missed.

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