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Jay Luvaas Obituary


Jay Luvaas, 81, of Williamsburg, VA, passed away on January 9, 2009. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, he was the son of the late Morten and Agnes Luvaas. A U.S. Navy veteran, he graduated from Allegheny College, and received a Ph.D. in history from Duke University.

During his distinguished career, he served as the Director of the Flowers Collection of Southern Americana at Duke University Library, and as a long-time professor of history at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, where his father was a renowned choral composer. Jay was the first civilian to be appointed as Visiting Professor of Military History at the United States Military Academy. He also taught at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA, where he served as Professor of Military History from 1982 to 1995. Following his retirement, he was honored in 1997 as a Distinguished Fellow of the Army War College. He twice received the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the Department of the Army for his many contributions to the educational mission of the U.S. Army.

Jay Luvaas was one of America’s leading military historians and published many notable books during his career, including The Education of An Army, Frederick the Great on the Art of War, Dear Miss Em, and Napoleon on the Art of War. He also co-edited the highly popular series of U.S. Army War College Guides to many Civil War battlefields, including Gettysburg, Antietam, Shiloh, and Chancellorsville. One of the great joys of his life was tramping Civil War battlefields, whether leading staff rides for the U.S. Army or traveling annually with a special “Band of Brothers” known as the Army of the Cussewago, which continues the tradition to this day.

He is survived by his loving wife of 23 years, Linda Sowers Luvaas, of Williamsburg, VA. He is also survived by sons Randy (Janis) of Yakima, WA and Eric of DuBois, PA, and daughters Karen Luvaas (Peter) of Norfolk, VA, Diane Buckius of Easton, MD, and Amy Miller (Bill) of Meadville, PA, ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He also leaves behind his sister, Diane Lerohl (Howard) of Minnetonka, MN.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, January 15, at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church. A service will also take place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 17, at Monahan’s Funeral Home in Gettysburg, PA, with interment to follow at the historic Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Virginia, 6350 Center Drive, Suite 102, Norfolk, VA 23502 or to The Gettysburg Foundation, P.O. Box 4629, Gettysburg, PA 17325

Nelsen Funeral Home of Williamsburg is entrusted with arrangements. On-line condolences may be registered at www.nelsencares.com.

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