Remembering Associate Professor Michele Langfield

On 26 July, David Lowe, Helen Gardner, Donna-Lee Frieze, Bart Ziino & Pam Maclean attended a memorial service for the late Associate Professor Michele Langfield, who passed away on 18 July 2016.  Many of Michele’s Deakin University colleagues have remembered her with these tributes:

‘Michele did very serious history but always with a smile on her face. She did so much of the unforgiving, unsung work for the School and Faculty and was absolutely reliable in everything she did. One of a kind.’ – Roy Hay

‘Like all of you, I am so sad to see this – I have very warm memories of Michele, who was so welcoming when I arrived.’ – Joanna Cruickshank

‘It’s a great testament to Michele’s qualities that so many of us have fond and overlapping memories. I too, have many, some even dating from sharing a room at Monash with her when I started postgrad work and teaching there in the mid-1980s. As well as recalling her great talents as a historian whose work on migration (among other things) was widely-admired here and overseas, I recall also Michele’s wonderful instinct to always assume the best of her colleagues, an instinct that made them all want to give of their best when she was around.’ – David Lowe

‘After Joan departed for ANU, at short notice Michele very kindly assumed the role of principal supervisor during the final few months of my PhD candidature and offered great advice and reassurance. As others have stated already, Michele was always such an enthusiastic and wonderfully supportive colleague.’ – Tony Joel

‘Michele was so welcoming when I started here, and was very generous with her time and advice.’ – Tiffany Shellam

‘One of my experiences of my first teaching at Deakin was to work with Michele on Australia and the Two World Wars.  She had a great deal of patience and perspective.’ – Bart Ziino

‘Michele was my Deakin-appointed mentor when I arrived at Deakin, and in that role (and beyond) she helped me immensely in my early days here. I always enjoyed talking with her, she was such a delightful and positive person. I will miss her.’ – Keith Beattie

‘Michele was such a wonderful and enthusiastic colleague for all the historians at Deakin over many years. She was devoted to her students and was an adventurous and passionate historian.’ – Chris Waters

‘I too am saddened by the news of Michele’s passing.  I worked with her since the early 80s first at Toorak.  We retired on the same day, same age, and similar interests.’ – Joost Cote

‘Michele was an extraordinary presence in our lives for such a long time.’ – Sarah Paddle

‘Very sad indeed and very fond memories of a wonderful colleague, historian and teacher.’ – Don Gibb

‘These occasions sprout platitudes but I can’t imagine that anyone who knew the lady will be other than genuinely sorry to hear this news.’ – Graeme Cope

‘This week the conversations in the corridor of the 4th floor of the D building at Burwood have been focused on Michele and her kind and generous contributions to teaching, to research and to her colleagues.  Many have mentioned also the shock at her illness and death so soon after retirement. Nearly everyone has shared specific acts of gracious kindness.  She was extremely hard working and was particularly caring of the post-graduate students in her role as post-graduate co-ordinator.  She was also my very nice neighbour for some of the many years she was in D3.14.’ – Helen Gardner


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