Oliver Cornelius Weaver Jr., a retired professor of philosophy and religion at Birmingham-Southern College whose courses were viewed as a benchmark in the education and intellectual life of many students over five decades, died February 21, 2012 at the age of 97.
A graduate of Birmingham Southern College (BSC), Weaver co-authored the centennial history of the Methodist school in 1957, served as dean of the college in 1964-68, and in retirement wrote erudite and compelling genealogies of his south Alabama family.
He was long a familiar figure on the campus, first in the 1930s as a student, then from 1945 to 1988 as a professor of philosophy and religion, and finally in retirement as a friend of many colleagues and a fixture at BSC basketball games with his wife, Laura, also a ‘Southern graduate. She died in 2005.
Born in Camden, Ala., on September 20, 1914, he was the second of six children of Oliver C. Weaver Sr. and Edna Lazenby Weaver, both of whom grew up in the Forest Home community of Butler County, Ala.
O.C. Weaver Jr., who had taken preparatory courses for the ordained ministry, studied in 1935-36 at the Divinity School of Yale University. He returned to BSC briefly as a speech instructor and coach of the debate team, then in 1937 entered Garrett Theological Seminary and married Laura Ross Moore, whom he had met at BSC.
At Garrett, he was appointed minister of the North Prairie Methodist Church, in Illinois. He graduated with distinction from Garrett Theological Seminary in 1939. Garrett is on the campus of Northwestern University, where he took courses in philosophy and later received his doctorate.
During 1940-42, he served pastorates in Buckley, Ill., and Mt. Sterling, Ill., then became a Methodist chaplain on active duty in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II, serving part of his tour in the Pacific. When the war ended in 1945, he joined the faculty of Birmingham-Southern as well as the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church of Alabama and West Florida.
Along with his two sons, Larry Weaver in Kansas and Kendal Weaver in Montgomery, survivors include grandchildren James Laurence Weaver and his wife, Nicole, of Chicago, Ill.; Amanda Frances Eckert and her husband, Joerg, of Marburg, Germany; Nate Thompson-Weaver of Manhattan, Kan.; Christopher Bailey and his wife, Sandy Mead, of Manhattan; and Savannah and David Ferster, of Alexandria, Va.; and great grandchildren Nadja Anne, Angela and Niklas Oliver Eckert of Marburg; Ellis Kendal and Julia Ferster of Alexandria, and Eleanor Maxine Weaver of Chicago.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Birmingham at a date to be announced later.
Memorial donations may be made to Birmingham-Southern College, First United Methodist Church in Birmingham or the charity of your choice.