In memoriam: Dr. Michael Kompf

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In memoriam: Dr. Michael Kompf

Published on August 15 2013

Kindly submitted by Dr. Tony Dipetta

In the early hours of August 10th, 2013 Dr. Michael Kompf passed away peacefully at his home in Fort Erie, in the loving embrace of his family after a short but stoic battle with pancreatic cancer.  A distinguished scholar Michael contributed more than a quarter century of his life in outstanding service to Brock University and graduate studies in education.  

He taught passionately, wrote brilliantly and inspired a countless number of graduate students to strive to map an educational landscape that was continuously shifting beneath their feet.  His body of work including serving four terms as Chair of the International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching (, four terms as editor of the ISATT newsletter, co-editing six volumes in adult education and the various areas of teacher thinking, and his contributions to numerous community and academic journals and groups is a testament to the breadth, depth and impact of his scholarship. 

As a teacher Michael’s lectures and classes were the ones that graduate students looked forward to and never missed. He had the knack of being able to take cold and dry collections of material and with self-deprecating anecdotes, wit and insight he helped his students create real understanding and that most elusive of all things, authentic learning. Teachers can only do that if they love what they do and Michael loved teaching and writing almost as much as he loved his wife Sandy and his daughters Samantha and Jessica, and his extended family. 

Michael explained his philosophy of teaching saying that knowing something or having an idea doesn’t mean anything if you can’t take that idea, explain it to someone so it makes sense and  defend the idea with facts, logic and humour.   With Michael humour was not something that you had to look for.  Humour was part of what made Michael who he was and it will always be part of how he is remembered. Michael used his exceptional wit and penchant for bad puns to disarm, to persuade and to console.  It has been said that great scholars and teachers are either brilliant or extremely hard working.  Michael was both brilliant and hard-working but he was also funny, caring and sensitive to the needs of others.  The combination was natural and powerful.  Michael was always a teacher even when he wasn’t trying to be and he was always a friend. 

Death it is said is the great equalizer but neither sickness nor death could diminish Michael Kompf’s spirit or his contribution to, and impact on, Brock University through his scholarship, his teaching and mentorship and his service on countless committees and projects. Michael’s spirit, dignity, dedication and passionate love of life and learning will long be remembered.

In keeping with Michael’s spirit, the friends and family of Dr. Michael Kompf are establishing the, Dr. Michael Kompf Graduate Student Travel Scholarship, which will be administered and housed in the Faculty of Education of Brock University.  Tax deductible contributions to the endowment fund for the award can be made by cheque to Brock University with the subject note:  Dr. Michael Kompf Graduate Student Travel Scholarship, or contributions can be made online by going to: and clicking on the drop down box for the Dr. Michael Kompf Graduate  Student Travel Scholarship.


kompf photo
Dr. Michael Kompf