University Community

University community mourns the passing of Joung Hee Krzic

The University community is mourning the passing of Joung Hee Krzic, who passed away on December 13, 2023, at the age of 69.

Joung Hee, an assistant professor of instruction in Japanese in the Linguistics Department within OHIO’s College of Arts and Sciences, will be remembered as a dedicated teacher and mentor whose lifelong devotion to higher education and learning forever changed the lives of thousands of students across Ohio University, Chubu University and beyond.

“Joung Hee represented every value the Linguistics Department strives to embody. She was a fluent speaker of several languages, she was a passionate teacher of Japanese, a tireless promoter of the importance of intercultural communication, and an inspirational guide to the complex relationship of language, culture, and identity,” said David Bell, associate professor and chair of the Linguistics Department.

Teaching and mentoring students were two of Joung Hee’s greatest strengths.

“In her role as advisor to incoming students from our sister school, Chubu University, she played such an critical and vital role as an ambassador for Ohio University, demonstrating through her own life how her students could expand their understanding of the world and contribute their talents and knowledge to their communities as global citizens,” Bell said.

Joung Hee Krzic and Gerry Krzic are shown with Chubu University students

Chris Thompson, professor of linguistics, said  that  Joung Hee was a trusted friend and colleague, as well as an outstanding teacher who will be sorely missed by students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“I think of Joung Hee Krzic every day this spring semester, as I teach her second semester JPN 1120 class,” Thompson said.  “As I learn from her notes, I see her meticulousness, her care for the students, and her commitment to this job.  It makes me miss her even more, as these are some of the qualities she shared with us in all the different relationships we had with her.”

Joung Hee’s former students added that Joung Hee was incredible teacher and mentor who always supported them.

“As international students from Chubu University, many of us were quite nervous due to our English proficiency and the cultural differences between Japan and America. But, whenever we faced these moments of uncertainty and stress, Joung Hee sensei stood by us as a constant source of guidance and encouragement,” explained Yu Tazaki, a graduate student from Chubu University is studying linguistics at OHIO. “Even as I transitioned into graduate school at Ohio University, she and I often had frequent conversations in both English and Japanese -- these were my favorite moments of the week. I will always cherish the memories with her and the unwavering support she had given me.”

“I am extremely grateful that she took the time to teach and mentor me starting when I was a high school student taking Japanese classes at Ohio University,” said Savannah Barnes, who is studying linguistics at OHIO. “She encouraged me to pursue all my goals and taught me amazing life lessons. I will never forget the impact she has had on my life.”

Joung Hee Krzic

Joung Hee’s professional career began in Korea, where she taught Korean language in the country’s public school system and tutored American Peace Corps Volunteers in Yecheon, North Gyeongsang Province. It was also during this time that she met and married her husband of 43 years, Dr. Gerry Krzic, who currently serves as the director of the Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE) within OHIO’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“Obviously, losing my life partner is a great personal loss, but I will always be inspired by her commitment to her teaching, her students, and her family,” Gerry Krzic said.

Joung Hee began her U.S. teaching career as an instructional aide at East Elementary School in Athens, Ohio. In 1988, she earned her Master of Education degree from Ohio University; shortly thereafter, she began teaching OHIO courses in Japanese, a language and culture she experienced first-hand while living for three years at Chubu University, Ohio University’s sister school in Kasugai, Japan.  

In 1993, Joung Hee and her husband led the first group of Ohio students to study at Chubu University and continued a lifelong devotion to students from both schools.  Over a 30-year period, Joung Hee advised more than 2,000 Chubu students who had come to study at OHIO.

Joung Hee Krzic is shown with OHIO students studying at Chubu University

Last fall, Ohio University celebrated its remarkable 50-year partnership with Chubu University – a partnership that stands as a shining example of academic collaboration,  mutual growth and cross-cultural understanding.

A special Celebration of Life Service to honor Joung Hee and her lasting legacy is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Apr. 27 at 1 p.m. at the Athens Community Center. Please contact Gerry Krzic at for more information or questions about the Celebration of Life Service.

Chubu University has also built a special memorial website in honor of Joung Hee. The website includes messages from students, faculty and staff and can be seen at this Chubu University webpage.

March 28, 2024
Staff reports