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Remembering Dr. John Belew

Belew, age 102, passed away after a life of service to his country, community, and alma mater

Dr. John Belew, former provost of Baylor University, has passed away at the age of 102.

Born in Waco on November 3, 1920, Belew enrolled at Baylor in the late ’30s and continued his family’s Green & Gold legacy. While both his parents were Baylor graduates, Belew’s father was also a trustee and his grandmother had attended Baylor in Independence. Graduating in 1941 with a degree in chemistry, he then went on to serve the military in World War II.

After earning a masters degree at Wichita State and his doctorate at Wisconsin University, Belew returned to this alma mater in 1956 to teach chemistry. In 1974, Belew was named dean of the school of Arts & Sciences. In 1979, he was promoted to the position of provost — the chief academic officer of the university — by President Abner McCall. Belew served as provost until his retirement in 1991. He continuing serving Baylor as provost emeritus and professor emeritus for years.

He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993 and the Herbert H. Reynolds Retired Faculty Award (alongside Ruth) in 1997. The entire Belew family received the Baylor First Family Award in 1998.

In 1942, Belew married the love of his life, Ruth, also a Baylor graduate. Ruth taught theater at Baylor for 20 year, and after a lifetime of service to her family and community, she passed away in 2014. The had two children, Janet and James, both of whom attended Baylor.

Dr. Belew was a constant presence, encouraging voice, and committed supporter of the Baylor Family for over 80 years. Much of the Baylor we see today is, in part, because of his guidance, hard work, and wisdom.

This is a developing story. Please, check back for updates. The Belew family will announce arrangements, through Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home in Waco, at a later date.

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