Larry T. Reynolds, Ph.D. (Emeritus Professor of Sociology-Central Michigan University) of Omena, Michigan died October 30, 2023, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Among the adherents to his discipline (Sociology and Social Psychology/Symbolic Interactionism), his prodigious work figured prominently. Throughout his magnificent career, he sought to strengthen the intellectual and theoretical foundations of the discipline as a progenitor of “Reflexive Sociology.” In so doing, his efforts were focused on encouraging practitioners and scholars to engage in self-analytical appraisal of the discipline whilst pursuing their topical areas. His brand of meta-analysis is also understood as the “sociology of sociology.” His ongoing critique of the role of corporatism within sociology is well-documented and elucidated. In reflexive practice, Professor Reynolds produced twelve books and over one hundred articles. A scholar of great renown, his emphatic and incisive pursuit of knowledge led to the Reynolds Series in Sociology (now published by Rowman and Littlefield) which to date remains among the most unique displays of highly skilled research across the social justice constellation with forty volumes and thirty-eight authors. Since the late 1960’s Professor Reynolds has taught legions of students to legendary effect.
In 2006, the Michigan Sociological Association established its highest teaching award in his name, of which he was the first recipient. Professor Reynolds also received the J. Milton Yinger Award, the Marvin Olsen Award, and the Charles Horton Cooley Award. Professor Reynolds was the past president of the North Central Sociological Association and served as Division Chair of the Marxist Section of the American Sociological Association where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
On November 5, 2022, the Michigan Sociological Association awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to Professor Reynolds accompanied by a special acknowledgement from Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer. Beyond what Professor Reynolds often smilingly referred to as “mere scholarship” lived a person with a voracious appetite for justice and goodness. He encouraged his students and his neighbors to act as agents and always to demand justice. Simultaneously, Professor Reynolds found balance in the fields and forests of Northern Lower Michigan where he fished and hunted with profound harmony. His nimble wit and humor charmed others into sharing a table with him and his partner, Alice. Together, they carved out a beautiful life away from the academy. Professor Reynolds remained a productive and active scholar to his last breath. His legacy is immeasurable.
He was born in Saginaw, MI to Roland Reynolds and Helen (Buchanan) Reynolds. As a young man, Larry was an avid athlete who loved the outdoors. He was an Eagle Scout, played varsity football at Saginaw High School, and excelled on the gymnastics team at Central Michigan University. He joined the United States Marine Corps where he took up boxing and earned several medals for marksmanship before eventually returning to CMU to complete his undergraduate education. He then married and started a family while completing his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. He was a “shirt off his back” kind of guy. If someone was in need, he was there. He gave his time, loyalty, mentorship, and probably more money than he should have to countless friends, family, students, charities, and strangers. A Luddite at heart, Larry wrote on a yellow legal pad with a number 2 pencil. While he ultimately gave in and created a Facebook account, he never considered technology an adequate substitute for human contact. He continued to spend hours on the phone many nights in conversation with friends near and far.