Our friend and colleague, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Tim Casey, died at home on March 7, 2023, after a short time in hospice care. Tim struggled valiantly over the past few years with Parkinson’s Disease. He served Rutgers in many capacities over his long tenure, some of which are described below. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Kathleen Casey, who was the love of his life for more than 53 years.
Tim, the son of a steelworker, was raised in Bethlehem, PA, and received his B.S. in Zoology at Penn State before moving to UCLA for his graduate degrees in environmental physiology. He received his Ph.D. in 1975 under the guidance of George ‘Bart’ Bartholomew, arguably the most influential environmental physiologist of the mid-20th century.
At UCLA, Tim studied thermoregulatory physiology of desert caterpillars and the thermal physiological ecology of flight in hawk moths (sphingids). Subsequently, as a post-doc at the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory in Pt. Barrow, Alaska, he investigated the thermal physiological ecology of mammals – from voles to wolves.
Tim joined the faculty of Rutgers in 1977 and was promoted quickly to the rank of Professor by 1984 and to the rank of Distinguished Professor (formerly Professor II) by 1988. To our knowledge, nobody before or since has been promoted through the ranks so quickly. Throughout this period, Tim collaborated broadly and continued to publish influential papers on thermal ecology, biomechanics, and flight physiology in insects. He placed students and post-docs in academic positions in the U.S., Australia, and Europe.
In 1991, Tim became Chair and Graduate Director in the Department of Entomology, and thus began a distinguished series of administrative roles, including stints as Acting Executive Dean of Cook College and Acting Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station in 1995-96. During this period, Tim played a very active and important role in the founding of the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, which merged members of the faculties of SAS (then FAS) and Cook College. In fact, if Tim and several others hadn’t held their positions at that time, it is quite possible that DEENR would never have been founded. Subsequently, Tim served three Executive Deans as Dean of Academic and Student Programs for Cook College from 2003-06 before becoming Director of the General Honors Program of SEBS, a position he held for about 10 years beginning in 2006.
Tim gave his heart and soul to Cook College/SEBS for 40 years, and he was deservedly recognized for his many contributions with awards for research, team teaching, and sustained academic excellence. His culminating award, which we suspect he held dearest, was the Barbara M. Goff (Alpha Zeta) Teacher of the Year award. Tim was an influential teacher, mentor, and change agent for many, many students. After 40 years of distinction as a teacher, scholar, and administrator, Distinguished Professor Tim Casey retired on July 1, 2017.
In recent years, Tim was dealt a challenging hand on account of his declining health, but this only gave him another opportunity to demonstrate his generosity of spirit, his grace, and his dignity. We feel very fortunate for the influence Tim had on his many colleagues and students at Rutgers and beyond. He leaves behind a void that is impossible to fill.
Funeral arrangements for Professor Casey will be private. Donations in memory of Professor Casey can be made to: Bluffton Jasper Volunteers in Medicine (BJVIM), 29 Plantation Park Dr., Building 600, PO Box 2653, Bluffton, SC 29910.
Written by Henry John-Alder and Peter Morin