Charles Glock (1958)


Professor Charles Glock passed away on October 19, 2018 at the age of 99. He was affectionately known as Charlie Glock. He was part of the exodus of distinguisherd sociologists from the East who built Berkeley’s sociology department in the 1950s and 60s. Professor Glock arrived in 1958 from Columbia University and in 1979 retired to Idaho.  For 20 years he was a fixture at Berkeley: in the department of sociology, which he chaired twice; as head of the Survey Research Center; and at the Graduate Theological Union. He collaborated with colleagues, such as Robert Bellah, as well as graduate students such as Robert Wuthnow and Rodney Stark. He was the author of many well-known books on religion. The students who passed through his classes will fondly remember Professor Glock for his generosity and kindness as well as his unusually effective courses on statistical methods.  Please send any tributes to Charlie Glock to me at and I will post them on this alumni page.  

From Armand L. Mauss: Several of the Berkeley sociology faculty were helpful to me as I transitioned from the history department to sociology in the early 1960s. No one, however, was as helpful as Charlie. There was no special reason for him to have extended himself as much as he did: I was not one of his stars; I was never a collaborator on any of his projects or even a research assistant. I was rather an unconventional graduate student, having already acquired a wife and several children before returning to graduate school later in life than most. Nevertheless, Charlie reached out to encourage me at times of special stress, and when I finally finished the Ph.D., he continued to help my career in various ways – always with no expectation that I would ever be able to do anything in particular to help him.

As it happened, most of my career took place on the faculty at Washington State University in eastern Washington, which was a drive of an hour or so away from the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, home where Charlie and Margaret (Mickey) spent their summers, and to which they eventually moved when he retired from Berkeley in 1979. It was at this point that Charlie became a lifelong friend, as well as a mentor; for he and Mickey regularly invited and entertained me (usually with my wife Ruth) every summer, and on other random occasions as well, at their rustic Idaho home, a relationship that continued even after he and Mickey moved farther north to their eventual summer home in Sandpoint, Idaho. Our last visit with the Glocks as a couple occurred in Sandpoint during the late summer of 2013, though Charlie and I kept in regular contact, by e-mail and/or by phone, until the very week of his passing.
Charlie took people as he found them, and he befriended a great many who, like me, could do nothing for his career but whom he just found interesting for one reason or another. He was always gracious and non-judgmental about political, religious, or ethical differences, and generous to a fault with his time and resources. Academia was his career, but it was not his life. He retired in 1979, barely 60 years old and at the peak of his career, because he had promised Mickey that he would do so – that he would thereafter live in places and circumstances of her choosing, so that she could have the kind of life she wanted after having devoted herself to his career. Charlie was not merely the proverbial gentleman and scholar, but also a true and loving friend.