obituary Joseph Bruce Oxendine Pinehurst

Joseph Bruce Oxendine, 90, of Pinehurst, passed peacefully at the FirstHealth Hospice on Tuesday, April 14th, with his wife and daughter by his side.

His funeral service will be held at the Village Chapel and will be live streamed on Monday at 11:00 A.M. The service can be viewed at by selecting the “Live Service” tab.

Born in Pembroke, on March 31, 1930, Oxendine was the son of the late Thomas Oxendine and Georgia Rae Maynor Oxendine, and was raised on his family’s farm.  He was a proud member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. After completing high school, Oxendine went to Detroit and worked in the automobile industry; saving for his education.  He came back to NC where he earned his bachelor’s degree from Catawba College in Salisbury.  Oxendine was a star athlete in three major sports, including football, basketball and baseball, and was later honored by being inducted into the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame.  After graduation, he played with the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league team for three years. 

Oxendine went on to earn his master’s degree in education from Boston University. After earning his degree, he worked as a high school teacher and coach in Lynchburg, VA.  He went on to serve in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea and Hawaii.  Following his time in the Army, he returned to Boston University where he became a teaching fellow and earned his doctorate in education in 1959. 

From 1959 to 1989, Oxendine was a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. After a few years of teaching, he was selected to serve as the founding dean of the College of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. While teaching at Temple, Oxendine met Adrienne McNaughton, and the two married in 1961.  They then had two children, James Thomas and Jean Marie, and raised them in Abington, PA. 

Oxendine made a significant impact on his peers, and was voted President of the Faculty Senate for the entire University. He led groups of graduate students on study tours to many countries in Europe, including a trip to the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, and later throughout Indonesia. He published extensively in the fields of motor learning and sports psychology, authoring several leading textbooks in the discipline, notably Psychology of Motor Learning.  Additionally he wrote the book, American Indian Sports Heritage, bringing together his love of sports and strong advocacy of American Indian issues throughout his career. For a number of years, Oxendine served as president of the Indian Rights Association, in Philadelphia. 

In 1989, Oxendine left Temple, and returned to North Carolina where he became the Chancellor of Pembroke State University (PSU).  Under his leadership, PSU underwent an official name change, becoming the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) in 1996.  He served as Chancellor until 1999, when he retired and moved to Pinehurst.  He continued teaching classes at UNCP for a number of years.

In 2011, while serving as a member of the Catawba College Board of Trustees, Oxendine was chosen for the role of President of the College and remained in that position until late 2012.

Throughout his career, Oxendine was recognized with many awards for excellence in higher education, including the Boston University Distinguished Alumni Award, the Temple University Stauffer Award for Distinguished Service, the Catawba College Adrian Shuford Jr. Award for Distinguished Service and the Distinguished Alumnus Award. 

After many years in the field of higher education, Oxendine enjoyed his well-earned retirement while living in Pinehurst.  He remained active and engaged in a number of leisure activities, including golf, kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, traveling, and attending church at the Village Chapel. He enjoyed the many Oxendine gatherings and reunions, and loved spending time with his children and beloved grandchildren.

Oxendine was the loving husband of Adrienne McNaughton Oxendine for 58 years.  He was the father of the late James Oxendine, of Salisbury, NC, and Jean Plaschke (John), of Urbana, MD.  He is also survived by his adoring granddaughters, Nadia and Sophia Plaschke.  He was the brother of Louis Oxendine, Magnolia Lowry, Ray Oxendine, Ruth Hurnevich, and the late Thomas Oxendine, Robert Oxendine, and Earl Hughes Oxendine.

Online condolences may be made at

Services are entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Pinehurst.

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