Dr. James Patrick Devlin

  • Born: October 2, 1943
  • Died: November 17, 2010
  • Location: Newton, Massachusetts

Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home

465 Centre St
Newton, MA 02458

Tel. (617) 244-2034

Tribute & Message From The Family

Dr. James Patrick Devlin of Newton, November 17, 2010. Born October 2, 1943, in Chicago, son of the late James Joseph and Beth (Kruse) Devlin, grew up in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. B.A. Notre Dame University, M.A. Dusquesne University, Ph.D. the University of Texas at Austin. Philosopher, professor, outstanding teacher, brilliant lead lecturer in the humanities Core Curriculum at Boston University. Master Programmer for the U.S. Army. Programmer on one of the earliest databases and Exxon's general ledger system. His teaching of advanced computer languages changed the lives of many people seeking to begin or change careers. Beloved husband of Rachel Silber Devlin, daughter of John R. Silber and the late Kathryn Underwood Silber. Brother of Richard Devlin, Cheryl Devlin Chando, and Robert Devlin. Loving father of Justine and her husband Terry Eoff, Beth and Clarence Garcia, John Hiett and his wife Samantha, Mary Beth Hiett, James Mackey Devlin, James Hiett, and Claudia Devlin. He leaves behind six grandchildren: Kaitlyn Eoff, Alexandria and Kelsey Garcia, Alistair Hiett, Taylor Slayton, and Andrew Cullen. Attentive uncle to many nieces and nephews, and will be missed by his aunt Claire Hawken and cousin Rilla Spellman. A great friend to the Jorgensen family, Brian, Robin, Edmund, and Jessica, and to the Minasian family, Onnig, Emma, Alex, and Laura. Teacher of thousands. A man of high and capacious mind, tremendous energy, many talents, and a heart warm and deep. Wake will be held from 4 to 6 o’clock on Sunday, November 21 at the Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home, 465 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02458, phone 617-244-2034. Funeral at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, November 22, at Our Lady Help Of Christians Church, 573 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02458, phone 617 969-1677. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. For directions or to share a memory of Jim please visit www.eatonandmackay.com


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dr. Devlin,
Thank you for all you taught me. You will always be remembered.
As you always said - "Eleganté not elephanté"!

Posted by Joe - BU Metropolitan College, 1994 - Boston, MA - Student   June 24, 2011


Professor Devlin's approach to teaching was unique to say the least. On the first day of class he told us that his class on Marx would probably the hardest we would take at BU. He wasn't saying it out of arrogance or to shock, it was clear that he just didn't see the point in sugar coating the facts. I didn't realize that till later, I can honestly say I thought of withdrawing in the interim day more than once. I'm will forever be glad I didn't.
I remember his lack of surprise when the class was halved by second day from withdraws. I can still picture the grin on his face when he explained that although he still held to what he said the first day, we had showed ourselves to be the elite just by our resolve to stick with it. I realize now that this tactic just eliminated the students who would never have made it through the class.
Professor Devlin ultimately was right about his class, it was the hardest I took at Boston University and it was the class which challenged me the most. But more than that, he taught me what I was capable of.
It's hard to imagine someone so vibrant and full of life no longer being here. However, Dr. Devlin leaves behind a legacy in the students who were privileged enough to have him. I have no fear in contradiction when I say that he was truly one of a kind.

Posted by Ashlyn Lines - Student   November 22, 2010

Jim was a great friend, brilliant instructor and someone I will never forget. My deepest sympathies. We will all miss him greatly.
Melissa Ryan

Posted by Melissa Ryan - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL - Friend/Colleague   November 19, 2010

Prof. Devlin's lecture was one of the most memorable I attended during my time at BU. In the years since, working as an administrator in the office of the Core program he helped to create, I have heard students and faculty so many times express their appreciation of this man. A number of the Core alumni have written to my office to express similar sentiments, which I've collected at http://blogs.bu.edu/core/2010/11/19/remembering-prof-devlin.

My condolences to the family and friends.

Posted by Zachary Bos - Boston, MA - Student   November 19, 2010


Thank you, Professor Devlin, for being my favorite professor - ever. You may not have realized it at the time, but you are one of the reasons why I did not give up on college during my first semester. I did not fully appreciate the concept of "gnothi seauton" until you became my teacher. I will never forget your kindness, generosity, and absolutely insane (but brilliant) approach to exploring a liberal arts education. Much love always.

Posted by Kimberly Santo - Former Core Student   November 19, 2010