Sara Kathleen Alvis, age 75, died on Saturday, December 14, 2019. She was born in Dallas, Texas to Roger Dennis and Sara Frances Ledbetter on Sunday, July 30, 1944. Sara Kathleen was a loyal and faithful wife to her husband John for over 50 years, and set a powerful example of love and devotion as she assisted him in both his scholarship and professional work. Sara Kathleen was also a very attentive and caring mother. Unquestionably the matriarch of her family, she sacrificed much of her professional career to raise her children and spent enormous time assisting them in their academic, spiritual, and physical development. She even learned physics in order to help her son survive the 9th grade. When the children had grown up, she returned to academia. She possessed a great mind for intellectual pursuits in the Classical languages and taught at both the University of Dallas and the University of North Texas as a lecturer. She was also a translator and editor for numerous scholarly works. As an instructor, she proved to be a patient, caring teacher who was always dedicated to her student’s welfare.
Sara Kathleen was particularly passionate about horseback riding and made it a practice to ride every day. She was very fond of her animals and took great care of them. There were very few stray animals that she did not bring into her home. Her favorite horse, Bill, lived nearly 25 years and she brought him treats nearly every day of the week.
Sara Kathleen is preceded in death by her parents Roger and Sara Ledbetter. Left to cherish her memory are her son John David Alvis and wife Megan; daughter Sarah Ruth Godinez and husband Victor; daughter Catherine Frances Alvis; grandchildren Patrick Alvis, Brigid Alvis, Brendan Alvis, Maeve Alvis, Finbar Alvis, Thomas Godinez; Elizabeth Godinez and Eleanor Godinez along with numerous other extended family and loving friends.
Funeral services for John Edward and Sara Kathleen Alvis will be held on January 30th at 5:00pm in the Chapel of the Incarnation at the University of Dallas. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Fr. Placid Memorial Scholarship at the University of Dallas at udallas.edu/give or by mailing a check to University of Dallas, 1845 E. Northgate Dr., Irving TX, 75062. Please indicate "Fr. Placid Scholarship" on the online form or in the memo line of your check.
John Edward Alvis, age 75, died on December 23, 2019. He was born to Irving Clement and Ruth Hastings Alvis on July 12, 1944. John Alvis was a devoted and loving husband to his wife Sara Kathleen for more than 50 years. The father of three children, a son, John David Alvis and wife Megan; a daughter, Sarah Ruth Godinez and husband Victor; and a daughter Catherine Frances Alvis; and grandchildren: Patrick Alvis, Brigid Alvis, Brendan Alvis, Maeve Alvis, Finbar Alvis; Thomas Godinez, Elizabeth Godinez and Eleanor Godinez are left to cherish his memory. No less are there decades of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Dallas who remember with gratitude his teaching, charming character and wit and felt especially called to a life of learning and thought from his example. He was a distinguished scholar whose writing and teaching spanned the entire scope of the liberal arts. To his final days, his deepest devotion was to his beloved University of Dallas where he taught for 51 years.
John Alvis arrived at the University of Dallas in 1962 and never left. He was invited to UD for undergraduate studies by the university’s distinguished founders and president, Drs. Louise and Donald Cowan. Following upon his undergraduate degree, he would earn his doctorate at UD in politics and literature under the direction of Willmore Kendall. In 1968, Dr. Alvis then commenced a long and distinguished career as a professor of literature. Equally well-versed in the fields of politics, literature, philosophy, theology and the source languages thereof, he was renowned among his colleagues for the depth and scope of his command of these literary and philosophical texts. As a scholar, Dr. Alvis' publications include 7 books on authors ranging from Homer and Virgil to Melville and Hawthorne. He published articles on American political institutions, Christian theology, the films of John Ford, and the Gates of Paradise, Lorenzo Ghiberti's Doors of the Florentine Baptistry. He was a published poet and wrote more than 15 plays. A nationally renowned scholar of the works of William Shakespeare, Dr. Alvis' writings reawakened the study of Shakespeare’s political thought. His approach to great literature -- especially books that involve political leaders, kings, captains of armies, and so on -- was to see how those authors used fiction and poetry to explore the eternal questions concerning the best way of life and the best order of society. He believed that those who seriously study these monumental works witness the aspect of all times, and thereby learn to imitate what is good while avoiding that which is otherwise. In Dr. Alvis’s view, a liberal education was more than a four-year experience, it was the beginning of a life-long journey. In the end, those who undertake it “rightly inherit heaven’s graces and husband nature’s riches from expense.”
At the University of Dallas, Dr. Alvis taught generations of undergraduate and doctoral students. Despite his scholarly accomplishments, he was content to be a steward of the liberal arts curriculum at the University of Dallas. The regard for him among his colleagues was unstinting and unmatched. For him, his great privilege was to spend his entire career at UD; for his colleagues, it was the acquaintance with his example. He had answered the summons of its motto: Veritatem, Justitiam Diligite (Love Truth, Love Justice).
Funeral services for John Edward and Sara Kathleen Alvis will be held on January 30th at 5:00 pm in the Chapel of the Incarnation at the University of Dallas. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Dr. John Alvis Memorial Fund at the University of Dallas at udallas.edu/give or by mailing a check to University of Dallas, 1845 E. Northgate Dr., Irving TX, 75062. Please indicate "Dr. John Alvis Memorial Fund" on the online form or in the memo line of your check.