James (Jamie) Pusey

The campus community mourns the passing of James (Jamie) Pusey, who died on Tuesday, May 21. Jamie retired as Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies after 38 years of service to Bucknell.

Jamie was a historian of modern China, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He was particularly well-known for his study of Chinese intellectuals and the influence of social Darwinism in modern China and authored several books, including Wu Han: Attacking the Present Through the Past (1969), China and Charles Darwin (1983), and Lu Xun and Evolution (1998).

Included below is the complete text of the obituary, as provided by the family.

You are encouraged to visit our In Memoriam Site at bucknell.edu/InMemoriam and share personal notes of sympathy and remembrance with others.

On behalf of our entire University community, I extend our deepest sympathies to Jamie’s family, as well as to all who knew him at Bucknell.

John C. Bravman


James Reeve Pusey found peace early Tuesday morning, May 21, 2019, attended by his family. He was 78.

He was a son of Anne Woodward Pusey and Nathan Marsh Pusey.

Jamie came to Lewisburg in 1972 to teach at Bucknell for 38 years.

He loved Lewisburg, and turned down job offers that would have taken him away from the town, campus, and countryside that he enjoyed so much. He often took family and friends around the local farms, stopping to pet all the horses and cows he could find. He loved the smell of farmland.

Jamie taught Chinese history, philosophy, and language. He inspired his students to think, discuss, and write with an open mind. Exceptionally fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he served as an interpreter for the State Department to establish relations with China in the ‘70s, and later helped locally whenever needed. He was always writing, and published a handful of books. After he retired in 2010, he stayed involved in campus life, and was an avid fan of Bucknell football.

In his 47 years in Lewisburg, Jamie devoted his time to diverse activities. Once president of the Harvard Glee Club, Jamie directed the St. Andrews Episcopal Church choir, sang in the Susquehanna Valley Chorale, and is remembered by many as the town bagpiper. He enjoyed hiking, canoeing, and boating in Maine over the summers. Former captain of the Harvard fencing team, he was delighted to continue fencing with the West Branch Fencing Club until just a year or two ago.

Jamie guided his family with a strong moral compass and a love of adventure, leading multiple trips across the country and around the world. He modeled respect and appreciation for cultures different from his own and for people who had less than he did. He taught us to be brave and curious, with a sense of idealism, kindness, and justice.

Jamie’s legacy is carried on by his wife Anne; daughter, Jennifer; son, Drake and daughter-in-law Alyssa; and grandchildren, Rook and Keen; together with his brother, Nathan Pusey, his sister, Rosemary Hopkins, and their families.

A memorial service will be held in the fall.

4 Responses to “James (Jamie) Pusey”

  1. John Hunter says:

    My sincere condolences to his family and friends on their loss and my congratulations to a departed colleague on a life well-lived – Jamie was always a model of good humor, curiosity, and respect and a truly wonderful colleague.

  2. mjames says:

    Dear Anne and the rest of the Pusey family:
    Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. Jamie was a beautiful soul, and I will miss his presence greatly.

  3. Bill says:

    Hello Anne and family,
    I am so sorry to hear of Jamie’s passing. He was always so supportive of my music making and he contributed so much to Bucknell and the community. He will be greatly missed. He was too young go now, but we all share in the many wonderful memories of his beautiful presence, grace, humor and compassion. I always kidded him that it wasn’t fair that he always looked so young….but his entire being was young and energetic….something we all admired in him. ….and how can any of us ever forget the ever-present scarf! He was a gem indeed. Savor the memories.
    With fond remembrances,
    Bill Payn

  4. esearles says:

    Jamie was one of the most amazing persons I met in Lewisburg. He was always so patient, kind, and smart. I’ll never forget him playing the bagpipes at one of the first formal events I ever attended at Bucknell, Convocation in 2002. I still think of him daily…

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