FEAVER, J. Clayton

Friday, July 14, 1995

Philosopher and educator J. Clayton Feaver, whose teaching career in higher education spanned 54 years, died July 14, 1995 in Norman at age 84.

Feaver, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian church, was named to the prestigious rank of David Ross Boyd Professor of Philosophy during his 36 years on the faculty at the University of Oklahoma. During his last 10 years at OU, he also served as director of OU's Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program, designed to bring together internationally known scholars with Oklahoma's best students.


Memorial services are scheduled at 11 a.m. July 17 at the First Presbyterian Church of Norman, with the Rev. Glen Doake presiding. First Presbyterian is located at 555 South University Blvd. Feaver was a long-time resident of Norman.


Few college professors have impacted as many lives as Feaver did. He is best known for his broad influence in the classroom: as an OU faculty member, he taught roughly 1,500 students per year for 30 years.


He retired from OU in 1987, only to accept another teaching position as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in its Distinguished Emeriti Faculty program. He continued teaching until his death, creating unique courses developed to explore new facets of philosophy and thought.

In December, he launched a new study called "American Philosophies of Social and Religious Morality," designed to examine the ethical, socio-political and theological emphasis in American thought.


J.Clayton Feaver was born June 24, 1911, in Fowler, Calif., the son of Ernest and Agnes Feaver. Part of a second-generation farming family in the San Joaquin Valley, he graduated from Fresno State College in 1933. He spent the following year at San Francisco Theological Seminary.


In 1935, he met and married Margaret Storsand. He graduated from the Pacific School of Religion in 1936 and was ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, USA. In 1937, he entered Yale University, where he completed doctoral studies in the School of Divinity.


In 1941, he joined the faculty of Berea College in Berea, Ky., where he taught for 10 years. After a brief stint working as a riveter for Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, Calif., he was appointed to the position of Kingfisher College Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Ethics at the University of Oklahoma in 1951.


In 1959, Feaver was awarded the distinction of David Ross Boyd Professor of Philosophy. In addition to several oustanding teaching awards, he received the University's Distinguished Service Citation in 1979.


Citing problems of content and delivery, in 1968 Provost Pete Kyle McCarter recommended to OU President George Lynn Cross that Feaver be asked to deliver the invocation at OU home football games. He agreed and until 1995, Feaver opened OU's contests with a prayer.


In 1977, he was appointed director of the Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program (OSLEP), a statewide program providing enrichment opportunities for all Oklahoma colleges and universities. Retiring from the OU faculty in 1981, he continued as OSLEP director until 1987.


From 1989-95, he held the position of Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at USAO in Chickasha. There he taught with teams in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program.


He is survived by his wife Margaret Storsand Feaver of Norman; daughter Elaine Feaver Witten of Slaughterville; daughter and son-in-law Ellen Feaver Lucas and Tom Lucas of Norman; son and daughter-in-law John Hansen Feaver and Marilyn Feaver of Chickasha; sisters Grace Alexander, Evelyn Watkins and Edith Fessenden, all of Long Beach, Calif.; grandsons Joshua Blyden, James Feaver, Matthew Feaver and Joshua Glass; and granddaughters Medea Glass and Emily Witten; four nieces and nephews, and a host of friends and colleagues.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the J. Clayton Feaver Scholarship Fund at the University of Oklahoma Foundation.