Sad News

Thank you to Dr. Wiegand for letting LHRT News and Notes know about the passing of Dr. Francis Louis Miksa Jr.  Below is an obituary written by his family.  There is also an announcement on UTAustin’s iSchool’s site. More details will follow as they are received.

“With sorrow we announce the passing of our father, Dr Francis L. Miksa, on March 20, 2019, in McComb, Mississippi.

Dr. Francis Louis Miksa Jr., aged 80, of Columbia, MS, passed away on Wednesday March 20, 2019. Fran Miksa was born September 24, 1938 in Aurora, Illinois, to Francis L. Miksa and Frances Theresa Borovich Miksa. His mother was born in Illinois to parents who had immigrated from an area near Poznan, Poland. His father, an electrical worker for the Bell Telephone system and an amateur mathematician, immigrated to the U.S. in 1905 from Krakow, Poland. Together they had ten children, including their second son “Little Francis” as he was called by his seven sisters and two brothers.

Fran graduated from East High School in Aurora, Illinois, in 1956 and Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1960, before earning a D. B. from Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1965. While at seminary he studied the history of Christianity, having been very much taken by ancient history as a background to biblical studies. He then begin library studies at the University of Chicago, Graduate Library School where he received his A.M. in 1970, followed by a Ph.D. in 1974. From 1972 to 1984 he served on the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science at Louisiana State University. From 1982 to 1984 he was instrumental in bringing computerization to the school and in 1983 served both as Acting Assistant Dean and as Acting Dean. While at the school, his research was focused first on library history and subsequently on the idea of the “subject” in intellectual access to information. In 1984, Professor Miksa joined the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at The University of Texas at Austin (since 2002 the School of Information).  As coordinator of doctoral studies from 1985-1991 he was instrumental in reviving the School’s Ph.D. program.  From 1986 to 1987 he served as Visiting Distinguished Scholar in the Office of Research at the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in Dublin, Ohio. Professor Miksa earned the Texas Excellence in Teaching Award at UT Austin in 1985, 1989, and 2001.

Professor Miksa’s early research focused on Charles Cutter and his work, resulting in the books Charles Ammi Cutter:  Library Systematizer (1977) and The Subject in the Dictionary Catalog from Cutter to the Present (1983). He later focused on how classification and categorization had been implemented across diverse disciplines, and on the development of classification in the field of library and information science. Other published works from this time include The Development of Classification at the Library of Congress (1984) and Research Patterns and Research Libraries (1987). During the 1990s Professor Miksa’s chief area of research had been intellectual access to information entities (both traditional print-based items and those consisting of digital objects) including the categorization of such entities on the basis of content characteristics.  Starting in 1991 he investigated the fundamental nature of document attributes in document representation. Also in ’91 he attended the Conceptions of Library and Information Science (COLIS) conference at the University of Tampere, Finland in 1991, during which he gave his paper entitled “Library and Information Science: Two Paradigms,” which was his attempt to see if there was something called library and information science that was a unique thing, a unique combination. In 1998 he published perhaps his most cited work The DDC, the Universe of Knowledge, and the Post-Modern Library.

Professor Miksa entered a phased retirement program in 2005 and fully retired from academia in May of 2008, moving to Columbia, Mississippi, with his wife Mary Spohrer Miksa, where he was a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. In 2009 Professor Miksa received the prestigious Margaret Mann Citation from the American Library Association.

Fran was preceded in death by his parents, Francis L. Miksa Sr. and Frances Theresa Miksa; brother Daniel Miksa of Aurora, IL and sisters Francis Ann Adams of Racine, WI and Sandra Rylatt of Rockford, IL, and beloved son Francis Louis Miksa III of Winter Springs, FL. He is survived by wife Mary Spohrer Miksa, son Joel (Stacey) Miksa of Winter Springs, FL, and daughters Elizabeth Miksa and Shawne Miksa of Denton Texas; sisters Gloria Jones, Elsie Sadler and Linda (Jim) Wolf of Aurora, IL; Hazel (Jim) Kempton of Lima, OH; and Bonnie Hiltenbrand of  Montgomery, IL. He is also survived by his brother Ronald Miksa (Sherry) of Big Rock, IL; eleven grandchildren (Heather, Allison, Michael, Kelsey, Shannon, Nicholas, Patrick, Ember, Jeremy, Emma and Nathaniel) and two great-grandchildren, Ellie and Clover.”

The family asked that in lieu of flowers people donate to his favorite charity Habitat for Humanity or to the American Library Association.  A memorial service will be held at a later date–information to follow later.

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