Amherst Magazine

William A. Bauer '54

William A. Bauer '54 died June 12, 2010.
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WILLIAM BAUER ’54

Writing in our 50th Reunion book, Bill expressed, in terms that still resonate with me, his lifelong connection with the C. L. Barber version of English 1: “It fascinated me then and, to this day, still does. How could common sense and clarity of thought and expression be so captivating?” Though a psychology major at Amherst, Bill returned to his love of English to earn a M.A. in teaching at Wesleyan and a Ph.D. in English at the University of North Carolina.

            Bill was born in Maine but, in 1965, crossed the northern border to begin his career as professor of English at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, N.B., where he taught until his retirement in 1994. At his funeral, his former students called him “inspiring” and “an amazing teacher and three of his UNB colleagues referred to him as “a genius.” Though he never relinquished his American citizenship, in gratitude for all Canada had done for him, especially through its health system, in this past October, he took Canadian citizenship. He called himself “an unreconstructed regionalist” and made significant contributions to the flowering of the province’s cultural and literary life. For more than 20 years, Bill and his wife, Nancy, (Mount Holyoke ’56), herself the author of five published novels, hosted a weekly gathering for local writers that had more than 700 participants over the years.

            In addition to his scholarly work in 18th century English literature, Bill published three volumes of poetry and one of short stories, drawing largely on the joined regions of Maine and New Brunswick that nurtured in youth and his career. His fine sense of humor, his love of family and family life and his many talents and hobbies are recalled in the obituary that appeared soon after his death in June. In addition to Nancy, Bill is survived by two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.

—Thomas Blackburn ’54

 

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