Elizabeth Mancke died in Fredericton on September 15, 2023, after a short illness with cancer. Born in 1954, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Wilbur and Dorothy Mancke, Elizabeth grew up in Salem, Oregon. She fell in love with history, and especially comparative Canadian and US history, as an undergraduate. While Elizabeth had many facets to her life, she was first and foremost a teacher, mentor, and scholar.
She came to the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in 2012 as Canadian Research Chair in Atlantic Canadian Studies, director of the Atlantic Canada Studies Centre, and professor in the department of history. A passionate academic, she earned a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, a master’s from the University of British Columbia, and a bachelor of arts from Colorado College. Before coming to UNB, Elizabeth was a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio. She also taught at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.
Elizabeth believed deeply in the importance of the global history of the Atlantic Canada region. Her research on the impact of European overseas expansion on governance and political systems is widely referenced and cited. At the time of her death, Elizabeth was involved in two multi-institutional research projects, involving more than two dozen scholars: ‘Ecologies, Knowledge, and Power in the Gulf of St. Lawrence Region, c. 1500-present,’ and ‘Military Service, Citizenship and Political Culture: Militia Studies in Atlantic Canada, 1700-2000’. Both projects were funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, a testament to her reputation as a scholar.
The author and editor of five books and numerous scholarly articles, Elizabeth also directed research for the British North America Legislative Database, which provides open access to scholars to the legislation of the pre-Confederation colonies. In 2017, she provided expert witness for the successful Madawaska Maliseet First Nation land claim during several days of hearings.
Above all else, Elizabeth loved working with people, and she truly loved her students. An exceptional educator, Elizabeth had over a dozen active doctoral students under her supervision. She mentored many more. During her work on the departmental graduate committee, across campus, and on the Fredericton Senate, Elizabeth advocated for students and for the broad value of a humanities education. She was a generous university citizen. To those who knew her best, she was a devoted friend who fought the hardest for those who needed her strength the most.
In 2020, Elizabeth was recognized with a UNB Merit Award for her outstanding contributions to teaching, research and university service.
Elizabeth will be missed by all who knew her, in New Brunswick and well beyond. She is survived by her five siblings, Philip Mancke, Katherine Kidd, Mary Sletten, Walter Mancke and Bill Mancke, her nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and numerous cousins.
A celebration of life will be held on Oct. 14 at McAdam’s Funeral Home, Fredericton, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., with memorial tributes at 3 p.m. For those unable to attend the celebration, a livestream will be availabel at the following link: https://vimeo.com/event/3745473 Flags will be lowered on both the Fredericton and Saint John campuses in her memory.