Dr. Steven Ackley

The Department of Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences deeply regrets having to announce the passing of Dr. R. Steven Ackley, an adored and much beloved grandfather, father and professor, who died unexpectedly on June 2 while sleeping at his home in Fort Collins, Colo. He was 67.


Steve, as he was known, mentored numerous students over the years and dazzled them in the classroom with his humor, down-to-earth charm, love of learning and scientific research and guidance to question what they thought they knew. Since 2000, he had been a professor at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He previously served as chairman of the university's Department of Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences and most recently was director of the department's Ph.D. program. He taught many graduate-level audiology courses with a focus on pediatric, medical and geriatric audiology, balance testing and anatomy and physiology. He also served as a confident, mentor and personal comedian to his students, who routinely called him their favorite professor, showered him with copious thank-you notes and expressed their love for him and his compassionate nature. Before joining Gallaudet, he served as chairman of the Audiology and Speech-Language Sciences Department at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and had previously been a professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He is survived and desperately missed by his daughter, Kate Ackley Zeller, her husband Shawn and grandchildren Madelyn and Luke of Washington, D.C.; his son, United States Air Force Capt. Jonathan Ackley and his wife, Brittany Edwards, who currently reside in South Korea; his former wife, Mary K. Ackley of Denver; two brothers, James Ackley of TK, Utah and Alan Ackley of Des Moines, Iowa; as well as cousins, nephews, in-laws and many adoring former students and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his parents, Karen N. and Wayne Ackley of Des Moines, Iowa. Memorial services are planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, June 9 at Goes Funeral Care in Fort Collins, Colo., and at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at Chapel Hall on the Gallaudet campus in Washington, D.C.