Amherst Magazine
Thomas W. Wilcox '42

Tom Wilcox died on Dec. 21, 2008. He had lost his vision to macular degeneration and ultimately died of pneumonia.

Tom was born in Bronxville, N.Y., but moved with his parents to Winnetka, Ill., where he attended New Trier High School. At Amherst, he was a member of Delta Tau Delta and was treasurer of the Amherst Student. He also worked on Touchstone and was in the Masquers. He was selected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude with a major in English.

After graduation, Tom enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a pilot, serving in Britain as a lieutenant. During flight training, he met his future wife, Darlene Butcher of Hutchinson, Kan., who was his flight simulator trainer. They were married two weeks later.

After the war, Tom obtained a master’s degree in English at Harvard and started his long teaching career at Bennington College, Vermont. In addition to his teaching, he was the editor of Exercise Exchange, a magazine for college English teachers. When Alaska became a state, Tom was honored by being asked to improve their university’s English department, and the family, including his daughter Patricia and son Daniel, lived in Alaska for two years.  

Then, in 1962, Tom became a professor of English at the Univ. of Connecticut, supervising its freshman English program. During this period, he published The Anatomy of College English and numerous articles in professional journals, retiring as a professor emeritus in 1986.

Tom was a gourmet cook, loved jazz and classical music, fishing, driving his classic Triumph TR3 sports car and cruising in his Boston Whater on Long Island Sound.  His daughter, Patricia Wilcox Nielson, wrote that her father was “a kind, funny man and was well loved. He always retained his love of and joy in words.”

—Ted Heisler ’42

 

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