Respected academic and family values campaigner dies at 81

The funeral of a highly esteemed pro-family sociologist was held today.

  • Norman Dennis resources
  • Norman Dennis, formerly a Reader in Social Studies at Newcastle University, died at his home in Sunderland earlier this month after battling with leukaemia. He was 81 years old.

    Mr Dennis often lectured and wrote for The Christian Institute. His skill, insight and wit were appreciated by Christian and non-Christian audiences alike.

    The father-of-two worked as a sociologist for more than 40 years. He was best known for his research on the family and on crime, and was widely quoted by politicians on the left and the right.


    In the late 1980s Mr Dennis co-authored English Ethical Socialism with Professor A.H Halsey. He edited Zero Tolerance: Policing a Free Society and contributed two chapters to the publication himself with Detective Superintendent Ray Mallon.

    He was also well known for co-writing Coal Is Our Life, a study of a Yorkshire coal-mining town. One of his most influential books was Families Without Fatherhood, which he co-authored with George Erdos.

    Mr Dennis also held various international fellowships and wrote reports for leading think-tank, Civitas.


    Mr Dennis’ family paid tribute to the celebrated academic. His daughter Julia Hodkinson described her father as “a massive brain and intellect” and a “traditional family man”.

    Mr Dennis was born in Sunderland in 1929 and attended Bede Grammar School. He began his career at the London School of Economics and then became a lecturer at Newcastle University.

    In the late 60s, Mr Dennis was a councillor for the Millfield ward in Sunderland, where he campaigned to save houses threatened with demolition.

    He was also a linguist and could speak French, German and Spanish.

    Mr Dennis leaves his wife, Audrey, children, Julia and John, and three grandchildren, Robert, Sarah and Max.

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