Jeffrey “Jeff” Moran

Jeffrey (Jeff) Moran–history professor, Cajun chef, World’s Greatest Dad, and human encyclopedia–passed away on Wednesday, April 17 at the age of 57, after a 23-year battle with brain cancer. He was surrounded by family who loved him fiercely.

Jeff was born on September 20,1966 in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Duane Moran and Violet (Suta) Moran. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988, where he met Susan Kang in his favorite college course “Plants and Man.” They married on July 6, 1991, in Madison. They then headed east to Cambridge, MA where Jeff received a PhD in history from Harvard University and welcomed two daughters along the way. After a visiting professorship at Brown University, Jeff began his teaching career at the University of Kansas in 1998 where, in addition to publishing three books and twice serving as Department Chair, he was well-loved by his students for his quick wit and meticulous writing instruction (a skill from which his daughters would also eventually benefit). 

In 2001, at the age of 35, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. In classic Jeff fashion, he faced this new challenge with quiet determination and a healthy dose of levity. Even through many bouts of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, he would be the one cheering up and comforting his family. Jeff had an uncanny ability to find joy in every morsel of life. His love and spirit will remain a source of everlasting comfort and light to all who knew him. 

He is preceded in death by his father, Duane Moran. He is survived by his wife, Susan, his daughters, Hannah and Becca, his mother Violet, and his brothers Morgan (Garmit) and Buzz (Cheryl) and nieces and nephews.

Memorial services for Jeff will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the KU Cancer Center, via KU Endowment, or Kansas Palliative and Hospice Care.

KU: 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Mail Stop 3012, Kansas City, KS 66160. Online contributions may be made at Please indicate that donations are for the Jeff Moran memorial.

Hospice: 6829 Silverheel St. Shawnee, KS 66226. Please indicate that donations are in honor of Jeff Moran.

or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

15 Condolences

  1. Kennedi Wright-Conklin on April 17, 2024 at 4:40 pm

    An absolute honor to have known Jeff. The Moran Kang family have always welcomed me into their own as one of their own. Countless sleepovers, rides in the van, and eating dinner with them will be memories I cherish. Jeff is also responsible for some of the best salsa I’ve ever had.

  2. Young Byun on April 17, 2024 at 6:17 pm

    Jeff was a beautiful person through and through. As resident tutors, Jeff and Susan really embodied what mentoring young college students should be like. I looked up to Jeff. He made married life in academics look fun and attainable in so many ways. He knew that I loved babies and he would often let me hold Hannah, his precious “palindrome”. Jeff and Susan encouraged me when I needed it most. 20+ years later, I’m a mid-career neonatologist. I hope he knew how much he meant to me. I’m certain that his tenacity of spirit, quirky humor, and love for his beautiful family helped him defy the odds. I’ll miss you Jeff, rest in peace.

  3. Bruce S. Lieberman on April 18, 2024 at 10:31 am

    We are extremely sorry to hear that Jeff passed away. We have so many great memories from our time spent with him including with his amazing family – Susan, Hannah, and Becca. Jeff was a funny, brilliant, thoughtful, and very special person, along with a highly skilled and insightful historian. We know his legacy as a person, scholar, and writer will live on. On this extremely sad occasion we are trying to remember how we always enjoyed the times we got to spend with him and only wish there could have been more. Still, we are grateful to have gotten to know him and share some experiences with him in and around Lawrence. Our hearts go out to Susan, Hannah, Becca, Jeff’s mom, and all the rest of his family and we are wishing them all the best during this difficult time, and always. With much love and respect and sadness.

  4. Jane Robinson on April 18, 2024 at 10:52 pm

    Jeff & Susan have been wonderful friends to our family and I will miss my relationship forged with Jeff over the last several years. Jeff could talk about almost any subject and, after losing my husband, another very smart guy, Jeff filled a void in my life with conversation & quick wit even as his body failed him. Our Wednesday afternoon visits were treasured time for talk of food, academic politics, raising daughters and many other delights. He was a lovely companion to me as I grieved the loss of my husband & I was honored to walk with him on his path from home to nursing facility as he transitioned in his life. Susan has been a constant reminder of patience & faithfulness in the most difficult of circumstances. With love, Jeff, may you rest in peace.

  5. Andy Denning on April 19, 2024 at 2:29 pm

    Jeff was the Chair of History when I was hired by KU and he quickly evolved in our time together from something of a boss/mentor to a teaching collaborator and friend. He cared fiercely for his students and even as he struggled with his health, maintained his wry sense of humor and sharp mind that made an impression on all who came into contact with him. His love for his family and dedication to his daughters was a constant theme of our non-work discussions. Jeff will be deeply missed.

  6. Gary Scott on April 19, 2024 at 8:52 pm

    So sorry. Really enjoyed our conversation as we traveled to and from LMH in our Senior Wheels van for treatment.

  7. Eric C. Rath on April 20, 2024 at 9:06 am

    Jeff was one of the first people to welcome me to Kansas’s History Department in 1999, and I appreciated his friendly presence ever since then. He always had a kind word or a laugh share, and I always looked look forward to seeing him. His loss in Wescoe and at KU is sorely felt. Be at peace, my friend.

  8. David Cateforis on April 21, 2024 at 9:09 am

    I was very sorry to learn of Jeff’s passing. I have great memories of this amazingly smart, funny, and caring person who touched many lives. Beth and I send our deepest condolences to Susan, Hannah, Becca, and the rest of Jeff’s family.

  9. Debbie Rogers on April 21, 2024 at 10:12 am

    Jeff was a special person, and will be missed by many people. Our family will have your family in our prayers.
    The Rogers
    Derek, Debbie, Jake and Piper

  10. Kevin Armitage on April 22, 2024 at 9:16 pm

    I was very saddened to learn of Jeff’s passing. It was my great pleasure to know Jeff and to receive his tutoring as I went through graduate school. Such a smart, fun, funny man who loved his family very dearly. My condolences to them. Jeff will be missed.

  11. Karl Brooks on April 25, 2024 at 2:40 pm

    Jeff was, bar none, the funniest historian I ever met. In a profession not known for laughs — or humorists — Jeff managed to be both humorous and incisive without ever being petty or malicious. Even after his cancer journey started, he kept me laughing. I sincerely hope others who enjoyed his humor appreciated how it must have boosted his spirits as well. In a difficult period of my own life, Jeff — along with Susan, Hannah, and Becca — made room in their complex lives to share good food, good wine, and good times with me. I won’t ever forget his and their kindnesses. We were both parenting kiddos then, and Jeff’s handling of that awesome responsibility inspired me. He and Susan made a pair of proud parents, and I’m sure our world will reap the benefits of Hannah’s and Becca’s kind, loving, funny, and dedicated upbringing. Mary joins me in mourning Jeff’s passing, hugging Susan and Hannah and Becca tight, and thanking our lucky stars we were honored by Jeff’s friendship.

  12. Bruce Leader on April 25, 2024 at 4:52 pm

    We were blessed to vacation with Jeff and Susan in the Outer Banks during late spring of 2021. During that week, Jeff was happy, engaging, creative, and a joy to be around. We got very close with Jeff as he was dealing with his health challenges. We held his arm from time to time so he would not wonder off into the street. He never complained about his limitations. Randy Reis (my brother in law), Jeff and I went out for ice cream every night. Jeff created a new flavor called the “Moran.” We would discuss and evaluate all the nearby ice cream establishments. We finally settled on one and Jeff charmed all the people who worked there. Jeff was an intellectual who didn’t make you feel stupid. Jeff was one of a kind and had a profound positive impact on all of us.

  13. the Peard family (Janet, Tom, Geoff and Anna) on April 27, 2024 at 11:25 am

    We feel fortunate to have known Jeff as a wonderful neighbor and to have witnessed what a loving and caring husband and father Jeff was. Susan, Hannah and Becca – you are in our thoughts; please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss.

  14. Mike Malone on April 30, 2024 at 7:53 am

    Susan, I am so sorry.

  15. Fowler Jones on May 5, 2024 at 6:05 am

    I appreciate the chance meeting with Jeff and Susan in NYC back in 2000. Jeff and I talked about getting a beer and discussing matters trivial and not so trivial. I’ll raise a glass tonight to his memory. Thank you Jeff. Rest in peace.

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