Professor Emeritus John Ebeling, who taught political science for more than 30 years, died on July 25. He was 83 years old.
Born on September 23, 1938, in Queens, New York, he grew up in Southern California and, after graduating from Santa Monica High School in 1956, worked for Hughes Aircraft for several years before taking courses at Santa Monica College. He graduated from San Jose State College in 1962 with a BA in history and joined the Peace Corps, spending two years in rural Ethiopia teaching high school and working on various projects.
When Ebeling returned to the United States in 1964, he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles and completed his master’s degree in African history. He returned to Ethiopia for two years to work as a Peace Corps staff member before moving to Pennsylvania to enter a doctoral program at the University of Pittsburgh, eventually earning a Ph.D. in economic and social development in 1974
Ebeling was hired as a faculty member at Chico State in 1971, teaching statistics and other courses in the political science department’s undergraduate and graduate programs.
Political science professor emeritus Irv Schiffman recalls that upon Ebeling’s arrival on campus, he immediately improved the department’s course offerings in the graduate and undergraduate programs. He also played a critical role in the public administration program, particularly with his important and popular public finance courses.
“John’s students have gained a lot from his teaching and advice, and many have told me so personally. Indeed, former students visited him long after his retirement to tell him how much he had contributed to their lives and careers,” he said. “John encouraged his students to participate in public service and the importance of giving back to the community.”
Now retired after many years in local government, George “Scott” Tandy (MPA, ’73) still considers Ebeling his career. It all began during his first class with him in the fall of 1971, when he regaled Thandi with stories about East Africa and his feelings about the value of public service, and continued decades later when Thandi sought him out for advice before an interview for a supervisor admin role.
“In retrospect, having him as a professor changed the course of my thinking and was a springboard to my own career in county government,” Tandy said. “He taught me the importance of relationships and the value of an internship to gain practical experience. It has been a great pleasure to reconnect with him in recent years.”
After Ebeling founded the firm Regional and Economic Sciences, he and his wife, retired economics professor Frederica Shockley, worked as consultants to state and local governments.
Ebeling retired from Chico State in 1998, but continued to teach courses for more than a decade. For several semesters, he taught a terminal economics degree course, Economics 495, as well as a statistics class in the recreation administration program.
Outside of the classroom, Ebeling enjoyed swimming, biking in Bidwell Park, traveling the world, and being active in local and state politics. He was also a talented photographer, a lifelong hobby he shared with Frederica. Their beautiful landscape photographs were displayed in their home and could be seen at the monthly meetings of the Chico Camera Club.
He is survived by his wife, Frederica. No services are provided.
Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Public Administration Program in the Department of Political Science.
The university’s flag will be lowered on Tuesday, August 16, in his memory.