Lloyd E. Ambrosius

1941 - 2024

Lloyd E. Ambrosius

Lloyd Eugene Ambrosius of Winston-Salem, North Carolina (formerly a long-time resident of Lincoln, Nebraska), died at home on May 7, 2024. He was born in Macomb, Illinois, on August 21, 1941, to Grace (Baxter) Ambrosius and Sterling Ambrosius. He is survived by his brother John Ambrosius and sister-in-law Margaret Adams of Platteville, Wisconsin. He is also survived by two sons with his late wife Margery (Marzahn) Ambrosius and two daughters-in-law: Walter Ambrosius and Leslie Underwood of Winston-Salem, as well as Paul Ambrosius and Valerie Daugherty of Tennessee. His beloved grandchildren are Michael Ambrosius and Em Ambrosius.

Lloyd grew up on a farm near Huntsville, Illinois, in the west-central part of the state, near the town of Augusta, where he attended high school, played basketball and baseball, and made friends he would keep for the rest of his life. This started a lifelong pattern of making and keeping friends wherever Lloyd went. He graduated high school in 1959 and enrolled at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, initially as a pre-med student. By his junior year, Lloyd had changed his major to history and had met Margery Marzahn. Lloyd and Margery married on August 24, 1963. They both stayed on at the University of Illinois for graduate studies. Lloyd worked with the distinguished diplomatic historian Norman Graebner and completed a Ph.D. in history in 1967. The 1960s civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam greatly influenced Lloyd’s perspective on American and world history.

In the fall of 1967, Lloyd joined the history department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an American diplomatic historian. He would remain there his entire academic career, retiring in 2015. During the second semester of his first year at the University of Nebraska, Lloyd taught the history of U.S. foreign relations after 1900 while the country experienced the trauma of 1968. He devoted his last three lectures to the origins of U.S. involvement in Vietnam during the early Cold War and the military escalation during the 1960s, criticizing American presidents from Harry Truman to Johnson for exaggerating the threats and ignoring the costs.

Lloyd’s academic career coincided with the emergence of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) and, later on, the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (SHGAPE), both of which became central parts of his professional life. Lloyd’s teaching and research interests led him and his family to spend extensive time in Europe, including Germany (1972-73 and 1996) and Ireland (1977-78). In the 1990s, Lloyd served as chair of the University of Nebraska’s history department for five years. A decade before his retirement, he was named the Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professor of International Relations.

Like his wife Margery, Lloyd was an active member and leader in the United Methodist Church (UMC). He served as a director on the UMC’s General Board of Global Ministries from 1984 to 1992. In his final year as a director, Lloyd helped establish a permanent fund for ministry and mission in the Latin America/Caribbean region. He is survived by many friends at St. Paul UMC in Lincoln, Nebraska and throughout the UMC.

In 2022, a new fund was established at the University of Nebraska by two of Lloyd’s former students, Kristin Ahlberg and Phil Myers. The Lloyd Ambrosius Graduate Student Support Fund provides annual awards to support graduate students who wish to pursue research in areas including American politics, foreign relations, and international policy. Lloyd’s family asks that, instead of flowers, you consider a donation to the Lloyd Ambrosius Graduate Student Support Fund in his honor. Gifts to the fund may be made online or by contacting Steve Allen, director of development, at 402-458-1140.

Lloyd Ambrosius Graduate Student Support Fund


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