David Ellsworth Eskey

david eskey

May 22, 1933 ~ October 19, 2002

Resided in: Manhattan Beach,, CA

Dr. David E. Eskey, Professor and Program Director of the MSTESOL program in the USC Rossier School of Education died of a heart attack on Saturday, Oct. 19 while attending the winning USC Football game. He was a lifelong sports enthusiast. In the spirit of true/athleticism, David exhibited a commitment to excellence that was evidenced in every aspect of his life. Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, Dr. Eskey earned his B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, M.A. in English from Columbia University, a second M.A. in Linguistics and his Ph.D.'',in English from the University of Pittsburgh. The Manhattan Beach resident had worked at USC in various positions since 1975, including director of the USC American Language Institute. He also taught at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Married for the first time to Nancie Redpath Doughty in Baghdad, Iraq, he spent most of the next 10 years living and teaching in Baghdad, Beirut, and Bangkok. He served as a consultant on second-language teaching for the Educational Testing Service and other organizations and was a national consultant on the subject for the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs. Dr. Eskey was a noted author of articles and books in the field of English as a Second Language, and English as a Foreign Language with a specialization in L2 Reading. David was a generous, articulate, and humorous man much concerned in recent years with achieving justice in the Middle East. He was deeply loved by his family and will be sorely missed. Dr. Eskey is survived by his wife, Eleanor and children Megan, Jennifer and Katherine, and step-children Kim Black-Washington and Robert Black and brother Kenneth Eskey. In lieu of flowers the family would like to have donations made in memory of David Eskey, sent to the USC Neighborhood Outreach program, Office of External Affairs, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, 90089-2542. A public Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, November 7th, at 10:00am at the United University Church on the USC campus.

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Memories Timeline


  1. My late wife was a student of Dave\’s at Thammasat University in Bangkok around 1969 or 1970 and used to tell this story about him. While we “farangs” are subject of much amusement to the Thais, Dave\’s military bearing, good posture, flattop haircut, etc. made him immune to this. My wife used to always remember the time that he slipped and fell in class. Normally, this would be a time of tremendous mirth and laughing for the students, but because of his bearing, they didn\’t. Unusual in that my wife repeated the story to me several times.

  2. As a professor emertitus at USC, I can certainly say that having Dave as a colleague was an absolute pleasure. His keen sense of humor and a high plane of fairness were truly hallmarks of his work. He will be terribly missed, but he certainly will have a great vantage point to watch the remainder of the Trojan football season. A class act!

  3. David was a kind guide and mentor to me when I assumed the directorship of our IEP in 1983. All of us who knew him professionally were inspired by his generous spirit, his genuine interest in all aspects of language learning and teaching, and his willingness to share his insights and experience with junior colleagues. He will be sorely missed by all of us who knew him.

  4. I am very shocked and saddened by the news of Dr. Eskey\’s passing. I was fortunate to be a student in a Grammar class taught by Dr. Eskey at Cal State L.A., while I was a student in the TESOL program. It was one of the high points of my studies there. Dr. Eskey will be greatly missed by his professional colleagues and by the many students who enjoyed his humor and learned much from his experience and expertise. I offer my sincere condolences to the family. Mary Byrne

  5. To the Eskey Family: My husband and son sat directly behind, who we now presume to have been Dr. Eskey at the “winning” USC football game. Our condolences on the loss of a much beloved and accomplished person. If it will be of any comfort to the family to know what immediately ensued following Dr. Eskey\’s collapse onto my son\’s lap, we may be contacted at the above. May he rest in peace.

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