(A longer version of the following memoir, by Helen North, Centennial Professor of Classics Emerita, Swarthmore College, was commissioned for a forthcoming volume of the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. This version was lightly edited and abridged by Ralph M. Rosen. Sadly, Professor North herself died on January, 21, 2012. Shortly before her death she had given her permission for this obituary to be abridged and published in the APA Newsletter. Special thanks to Julia Gaisser for facilitating the process, and to the American Philosophical Society for permission to print the text that follows).
I met Gary in 1987 when we were both starting our careers as Visiting Assistant Professors at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He died on December 31, 2011, after a brief battle with cancer. The facts of Gary’s life as a classicist are clear: After earning a double Ph.D. in Classics and Comparative Literature at Yale, he went on to teach at some excellent places: Union College, George Washington, Eckerd College—where he held an endowed chair—and finally, Villanova. His numerous publications include his excellent Euripides and the Poetics of Nostalgia, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. Gary was a conscientious, witty, and imaginative teacher, who earned the loyalty and devotion of many of his students.
Dirk tom Dieck Held, the Elizabeth S. Kruidenier ’48 Professor of Classics at Connecticut College in New London CT, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on March 21, 2012. He took his A.B. and Ph.D in Classics at Brown University.
Joining the faculty of Connecticut College in 1971, he held the Chair of the Classics Department for thirty-two years. Professor Held presented and/or published over one hundred learned papers on a wide variety of topics. He was widely known and respected for the quality of his scholarship and his dedication to the field.
Colleague Robert Proctor, Professor of Italian, remarked, “Dirk Held lived the liberal arts ideal. His scholarship was both profound and wide-ranging, from Plato’s understanding of love to Nietzsche and the reception of classical antiquity in the modern world. He was a modern exemplar of ancient Roman humanitas: culture, kindness, generosity, and wit.”
Sally Anne MacEwen, Professor and Chair of Classics at Agnes Scott College, died on March 15, 2012 after a long and astonishingly cheerful and determined fight against cancer. Born in Abington, PA in 1948, Sally earned her B.A. From Mount Holyoke College and her Ph.D. From the University of Pennsylvania. After a two years at the University of Utah, Sally spent thirty years teaching at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, where she inspired generations of women with a love of Classics and especially of Greek tragedy and its resonance in our modern world. Her unwavering commitment to her Quaker beliefs and to the importance of equality and diversity helped to make Agnes Scott more just and supportive of its entire community.
"Emmett L. Bennett Jr., a classicist who played a vital role in deciphering Linear B, the Bronze Age Aegean script that defied solution for more than 50 years after it was unearthed on clay tablets in 1900, died on Dec. 15 in Madison, Wis. He was 93. His daughter Cynthia Bennett confirmed the death. Professor Bennett was considered the father of Mycenaean epigraphy — that is, the intricate art of reading inscriptions from the Mycenaean period, as the slice of the Greek Bronze Age from about 1600 to 1200 B.C. is known. His work, which entailed analysis so minute that he could eventually distinguish the handwritings of many different Bronze Age scribes, helped open a window onto the Mycenaean world."
Read the entire obituary online at The New York Times.
October 11, 2011 was a remarkably beautiful afternoon to celebrate a remarkably beautiful soul at the Community Arts Auditorium at Wayne State University in Detroit. And I was honored to be there to speak, not only on behalf of Wayne State University and the Department of Classical and Modern Languages Literatures and Cultures, but also on behalf of the American Classical League, the American Philological Association, the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, the Classical Association of New England, the Classical Society of the American Academy in Rome, the Michigan Classical Conference and the classics honor fraternity, Eta Sigma Phi: each of which asked me to present their condolences.
Mabel Louise Lang, emeritus professor of Greek at Bryn Mawr College, died peacefully on July 21, 2010, at the age of 92. She had spent more than seventy years at Bryn Mawr, where she was worshipped by generations of students and admired by scholars around the world.
Lang was born on November 12, 1917 in Utica, New York, and received her AB from Cornell in 1939 and her PhD from Bryn Mawr in 1943. She began teaching at Bryn Mawr in 1943 and continued to do so long after her official retirement in 1988, allowing more than half a century’s worth of students to benefit from her extraordinary ability to bring out the best in them.
From the website of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford:
Everyone at LMH was deeply saddened by the death of Dr Simon Price on 14 June 2011. Simon was a distinguished scholar, and a much appreciated teacher to generations of students in Ancient History and in Classical Archaeology. He continued researching and writing after he had taken early retirement in 2008. He was able to complete The Birth of Classical Europe, written in collaboration with Peter Thonemann, which has recently been published in paperback by Penguin.
Simon’s funeral will be on Thursday 23 June at 2.45pm in St Margaret’s Church, 19 St Margaret’s Road, Oxford, OX2 6RX. All are welcome.