In Memoriam: Denis Gainty

The College of Arts and Sciences is sad to announce that Denis Gainty, associate professor of history, passed away over the weekend.

Denis Gainty“The history department is devastated by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Denis Gainty,” said Chair Michelle Brattain. “He was one of a kind – an amazing teacher, a creative, insightful scholar, and a fantastic colleague. Denis had a genuine kindness about him, an enthusiasm for life and learning, and a rare affability that made him beloved by everyone who had the opportunity to get to know him.  He will be sorely missed by all our faculty, students, and staff.”

Dr. Gainty, a historian of modern Japan, joined the Georgia State University Department of History in 2009 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2015. His book, Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan, explored the importance of martial arts for Japanese visions of nation and state at the turn of the twentieth century. His next book was to be a history of bluegrass music in Japan.

Denis was also a vital member of the World History community. He had served as president and secretary of the Southeast World History Association, had served on the Executive Council of the World History association, and at the time of his death was editor of the World History Bulletin.

In his spare time, Denis sang and played the mandolin with the Porch Bottom Boys, a bluegrass band based in Decatur. The band played local events including the Decatur Arts Festival, the Oakhurst Arts Festival, and the Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp. The band also frequently played fundraiser concerts for the Decatur Public Schools and other charities.

“Denis Gainty was a respected scholar and a beloved teacher who was known for service to his communities, academic and otherwise,” said Dean Sara Rosen. “His loss is felt throughout the college and the university.”

He is survived by Jennifer Patico and their two children, Eliza and Clem.

Denis Gainty will be honored at a church service followed by a bluegrass reception at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the Church of the Epiphany, 2089 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Jeff Young at Please see this flyer for details.