Amherst Magazine

dr. Calvin W. Lane '45

Cal Lane died on November 5, 2009, age 86, at his home in Foxboro, MA, surrounded by Martha, his beloved wife of 49 years, and their five children: Polly, Joshua (Amherst ’84),  Andrew, Robin and Daniel.  Cal is survived also by eleven grandchildren. He was born in Foxboro and grew up on West Bank Farm, a place maintained by five generations of Lanes and now a nature preserve.

Cal’s years at Amherst, like those of so many of his classmates, were sundered by World War II.  His Navy career took him to Williams for basic training, Plattsburgh for midshipman school, then, as a newly commissioned ensign, he was assigned to a branch of the amphibious forces and served on an LCI.

Cal returned to graduate from Amherst, then after earning a PhD at the Univ. of Michigan, he began a teaching career in literature and creative writing at several colleges and universities, retiring as a professor from the Univ. of Hartford.

In retirement both Cal and Marty continued to share a passion for teaching as members of the staff at Mystic Seaport, engaging visitors in celestial navigation and maritime history for twenty years.

On the occasion of our class’s 50th reunion, Cal made some perceptive comments about his Amherst education. “Teaching”, he wrote, “has always taken precedence over scholarship.”  He believed that this emphasis could be traced back to the gusto for teaching of Theodore Baird who had a reputation as a prickly and tough-minded teacher. His praise was sparing, but when given, you knew you had written something worth reading. Cal concluded that the Amherst faculty’s questioning of each assumption encouraged him to think things through for himself.

The class extends sincere condolences to the family.

—Daniel Leavitt ’45

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