We are all saddened by the sudden death of our graduate student, Tim Ortyl. Colleagues and friends gathered at a memorial on November 7th to remember Tim and celebrate his life, research, and accomplishments. We were joined by his parents and Professor Alex Rothman, CLA Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, who conferred Tim's Ph.D.
Timothy Adam Ortyl, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, passed away suddenly on October 25, 2013 of complications from an epileptic seizure. Tim was a graduate student in the Sociology Department at the University of Minnesota at the time of his passing. Tim was a cherished member of the department, and was only a few months away from completing his dissertation.
Tim was a highly accomplished scholar, receiving fellowships and awards including the National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Minnesota, and the Martin P. Levine Memorial Dissertation Fellowship from the American Sociological Association. His work has been published or was forthcoming in academic journals, including The Sociological Quarterly, Journal of Marriage and Family, Demography, and Contexts, and a book chapter in an edited volume on same-sex marriage.
Tim’s research interests were in families, sex and gender, sexualities, and social inequality, and his dissertation was examining patterns of relationship innovation using 163 interviews with gays and lesbians in partnerships, long-term heterosexual cohabiters, and people in polyamorous relationships. Tim was also an accomplished teacher, having served as an instructor or TA in many undergraduate sociology courses at U of M, and he earned very strong ratings from his students. His friends and colleagues remember him as loyal, loved, a community builder and leader, confident, purposeful, and someone with an especially wry sense of humor. All of us who were lucky enough to be in one of these valued groups know and feel deeply how important he was to us and to the social fabric of our communities; this includes his family, his fraternity, his scholarly collaborators and community, various advocacy groups, Ohio State, and the University of Minnesota. Tim was one of a kind and will be terribly missed.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Epilepsy Foundation (epilepsyfoundation.org) or the charity of your choice.