Ladouceur joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1976 after earning his Ph.D. in classics at Brown University and his bachelor’s degree at Cornell University. He served as department chair for nine years, leading the Department of Modern Classical Languages and then the Department of Classical and Oriental Languages at a time before regional language groups were separated into their own departments.
He knew seven foreign languages — Greek, Latin, Classical Egyptian, Sanskrit, French, German, and Hebrew — and during his 39-year career at Notre Dame, he taught courses in Latin, Greek, Egyptian, history, and classics. He was known for his experience in ancient Egyptian studies, as well as ancient Greece and Rome.
“He taught courses on Egyptian hieroglyphs and history that were quite popular with the undergraduates. He also taught a popular course on medicine in the ancient world,” said Elizabeth Forbis Mazurek, an associate professor of classics. “The fact he was chair for nine years indicates he was a good administrator. I frequently heard from older colleagues that David was adept at keeping the peace among the many different language groups — that he kept a level head and was fair.”
The author of two books and more than 20 journal articles and book reviews, Ladouceur’s research and teaching was supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Lilly Endowment Inc., the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, and the College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts.
“David was a good storyteller,” said Catherine Schlegel, an associate professor of classics and director of undergraduate studies, recalling the stories he would often share about his family and his years at Notre Dame. “David had very vivid, and amusing, accounts of what Notre Dame was like as an institution when he joined the faculty in the ’70s.”
He is survived by his wife of over 45 years, Barbara; their children, Steven (Sarah) Ladouceur and Katherine Ladouceur (Elisha Aubin); grandchildren Lillian and Madison Ladouceur and Ariana Aubin; and his mother, Julie Ladouceur.
A memorial service will be held Thursday (May 19) at 4:30 p.m. with visitation beginning at 3 p.m. at the McGann Hay Granger Chapel, 13260 S.R. 23, Granger, Indiana (enter at Cherry Rd).