Statement from Dean David Owen:
It is with a heavy heart that I write to say that Prof. John Flodstrom (1937-2020) has passed away due to complications of Covid-19. John arrived from Northwestern to take up a post as Instructor in Philosophy in 1966, completing his dissertation on the French philosopher Maine de Biran in 1969. Before he had any job security he was already leading the Student-Faculty Committee for Open Housing and protesting nightly with dozens of other UofL students, staff, and faculty for an open housing ordinance. His activities landed him in the hospital when a counter-protester threw a rock that struck him in the head; John was back out in the street the very next night. A scholar of Enlightenment-era French philosophy, his research interests branched out to philosophical issues in science fiction, consciousness, the Vedas, and meditation studies and practice. John was a consummate teacher and a mentor to both students and faculty; he directed the Honors program from 1989-1998 and taught for years in the Freshman Symposium program. A dedicated supporter of the arts, he helped bring major ensembles to perform on campus, and some of the visual artworks he collected still grace the Honors House. His peers remember him for his selfless engagement with students and colleagues, and as a model of how to live on campus with a semblance of humanity. Wherever he went in town he would bump into adoring former students; he remembered every name, and they remembered him as incredibly generous and thoughtful. John served two stints as chair of the Philosophy department, the last from 1998 until his retirement in 2000. His commitment to students was recognized with the Trustees Award in 1992. Although he left Louisville soon after retiring, he is remembered with great fondness and devotion by those who overlapped with him. In recent years he had been living with his sister, Renis, and in his last days he was cared for by his niece, Kathy, a nurse.