Retired Oswego State professor Richard Hyse, 89, and his wife Josephine, 86, were found dead on Monday at their 207 E. Seventh St. home after Oswego City Police received a call from a neighbor about the welfare of the couple on Nov. 9.
Mrs. Hyse was discovered with a single gunshot to the back of her neck, which investigators have concluded was delivered by her husband. Autopsy results from the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that both Hyse’s had ingested a large amount of a legally obtained prescription narcotic.
Hyse joined the faculty at Oswego in 1961, serving as the only economics professor on campus. Later, Hyse worked to found and direct Oswego’s business administration program and served as the chairman of the economics department from 1972-1977.
He retired in 1985 after teaching for 24 years. Hyse received degrees from Baruch School of City College and his doctorate from New York University before coming to Oswego.
"Richard had very high standards. He expected a lot from his colleagues and students," said Norman Weiner, director of the honors program. He added that working with Dr. Hyse "was always a challenge and always rewarding."
In an interview with Oswego magazine in 2006, Hyse and his wife professed their love of art, classical music and books. The Jo Hyse Gallery at the Oswego Civic Arts is named in honor of Mrs. Hyse, a prominent artist and designer in the area. Mr. Hyse co-founded the Oswego Opera Theatre and was involved with the Children’s Center and served as their treasurer for 25 years.
"He was very committed to the welfare of children and students with children," Weiner said.
Charles Spector, chair of accounting, finance and law, last saw Dr. Hyse six years ago when he showed him the renovations done to Rich Hall.
"He was a real solid guy," Spector said. "He did an incredible amount to build the business and economics program on this campus."
Police are looking for intent, and a motive is "difficult to say," said Captain Tory DeCaire of the Oswego City Police Department. DeCaire also said that Mr. Hyse legally owned the gun that he used to murder Mrs. Hyse. Both Hyses had health issues "typical of elderly persons of that age" according to Oswego City Police Captain Michael Beckwith.