Professor Edward A. Goerner died Oct. 2, 2012

Professor Edward A. Goerner, energetic, warm and inspiring as a member of Notre Dame’s faculty during our years, continued to join us for our reunion events.  Always active – even after retiring, he taught, kayaked on the St. Joe River, reveled in his family and friends – he remained engaged with questions of political theory.  This is the obituary that appeared in the October 5, 2012 editor of the South Bend Tribune:

Dec. 29, 1929 – Oct. 2, 2012
SOUTH BEND – Edward A. Goerner, of South Bend, IN, passed away on October 2, 2012 at the age of 82. He was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. He was born December 29, 1929, in Brooklyn, NY, the son of the late Dr. Alfred and Dr. Mary Margaret (Popp) Goerner. He was the third of four children and is survived by his sisters, Dr. Dorothy Ducker of Birmingham, MI and Alice Pike of New Orleans, LA. His brother, Father Basil Goerner, preceded him in death in 2008. Following high school at Brooklyn Prep, he received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame in 1952. Upon graduation, he served in the United States Navy until 1955. He then enrolled at the University of Chicago, where he received a Ph.D. in 1959. He is survived by his wife Iris Mensing Goerner, whom he married in December, 1996. He married the late Marilyn Rohrer in September of 1955, who preceded him in death in 1995. Their marriage produced five children: Peter Goerner of Greenwood, IN, Liza Crisafi (Tony) of San Diego, CA, Meg Collins (Shawn) of Naperville, IL, Kate Munhall (Bob) of Phoenix, AZ and Becky Bach (Troy) of Portage, MI, and 10 grandchildren. After receiving his Ph.D. he taught at Yale University, before joining the Political Science faculty at Notre Dame in 1960. The 1968 Notre Dame yearbook described the reason for his return as “… he felt more interesting things were happening in the government department.” His specialties were Comparative Politics and Political Theory. He is the author of Peter and Caesar and editor of Democracy in Crisis and The Constitutions of Europe. His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Jurisprudence and Continuum. His articles on natural right versus natural law in Aquinas appeared in Political Theory. He was an Associate Editor of The Review of Politics. His interests were many and diverse. He was an ardent camper, canoeist, kayaker and hiker, and a lover of classical music and opera. Edward was also an avid reader, cook, naturalist, and a conversationalist of the first rank. A fan of Notre Dame Football, he never relinquished his opinion that Frank Leahy was their greatest coach. For many years he lived at the Lilacs on Notre Dame Avenue, after having restored it in the early 1960’s. He loved his children and grandchildren unconditionally and believed in their ability to learn and achieve whatever they could imagine. “The political philosopher”, said Dr. Goerner in 1968, “would rather live lucidly and insecure than secure with an illusion. The political philosopher would not, as do power politickers, assume that it is inconceivable one might die, like Socrates and Jesus, for something noble.” Visitation will be from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, October 7, 2012 at Kaniewski Funeral Homes, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, IN. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 AM on Monday, October 8, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, with Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C. officiating. Memorial donations may be made to the Center for the Homeless, 813 S. Michigan Street, South Bend, IN 46601; or Sacred Heart Parish, University of Notre Dame, 104 The Presbytery, Notre Dame, IN 46556; or The Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. He will be interred at Cedar Grove Cemetery on the campus of Notre Dame at a later date. To send condolences, please visit,


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