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Dr. Michael Homan, historian, theologian, and lifelong contrarian, dies at 56
Dr. Michael Mathias Homan might have described himself as an incredibly strong, funny, smart, and most of all, humble man. He squeezed one hell of a life into 56 years. Michael died on September 17th, only minutes apart from the exact three-year anniversary of his son, Gilgamesh Homan’s death. Despite being a theologian, Michael didn’t believe in cosmic significance, but being a historian, did enjoy a good story, and wouldn’t have chosen any other day to die.
Michael was born in 1966 in Omaha, Nebraska, a town so steeped in Middle American culture that Michael was bound to rebel. Michael found a place in the local punk scene and played in several bands. It was in those days that he met his future wife, Therese. Together they graduated from the University of Nebraska, Omaha and moved to San Diego so Michael could pursue his PhD in Ancient Near Eastern History and Religion at UCSD. Over the next seven years, Michael and Therese had their two children, Kalypso and Gilgamesh, and moved between Israel, Jordan, and California for Michael’s studies. In 2000, he took a job teaching at Xavier, and together the family settled in New Orleans. After Katrina, Michael fought like hell to help the community rebuild itself, including, among many other acts, testifying against insurance company fraud before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He fought both out of a love for the city and out of a keen sense of civic responsibility.
Michael was a man of letters and published his way into being a prominent academic in his field. Among many other papers, books, lectures, and awards received, he co-authored The Bible for Dummies and was a Fulbright Scholar. He loved to cook, play music, and rip into conservative newspaper columnists. He traveled all the time, and spent many years packing his immediate family into the family car to go and collect histories. Towards the end, he bought a motorcycle that was way too big for him and was trying to figure out how to get his wife to agree to ride all the way to Alaska on the back seat. He still had hopes and dreams.
He was an individual through and through, and will be remembered by many. He lives on in his wife, Therese Fitzpatrick, his daughter, Kalypso Homan, his mother, Julie Homan, his brother, Jim Homan, and his beloved sloth of an English Bulldog, Enkidu.
On Saturday, September 24th the family will receive friends from 10am-11am and have a celebration of Michael’s life from 11am-12pm at St. Katherine Drexel Chapel, 3932 Pine St, New Orleans, LA 70125. A reception will follow. In lieu of sending flowers, please consider making donations to the Gilgamesh Homan Memorial Scholarship Fund. People can donate online: https://giving.xula.edu/pages/scholarships In "Designation" select The Gilgamesh Homan Memorial Scholarship Fund.