Amherst Magazine
Dr. James L. Butrica '72

James L. Butrica passed away on July 20, 2006, after a year-long battle with cancer.  Jim was born in 1951 in Camden, NJ, and graduated from Sterling Regional High School in Magnolia, NJ.  While at Amherst, he studied classics under Prof. Peter Marshall and graduated Phi Beta Kappa as an Independent Scholar.  His thesis on the Latin poet Propertius was entitled, “Unity and Structure in Propertius, Books I, III and IV.”

Upon graduation, Jim continued his classics studies, receiving his MA and PhD from the Univ. of Toronto.  He proceeded to enjoy a distinguished career as a Latin scholar and professor of classics at Memorial Univ. of Newfoundland from 1981 until his death.  He published widely, particularly on Propertius, and served until his death as co-editor of Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada.

According to a tribute from one of his colleagues published in the Canadian Classical Bulletin, “[T]he curiosity Jim had about Greek and Roman civilization and the clarity of his thought were apparent to the students who attended his classes at Memorial, to the scholars who heard his papers on many occasions in North America and Europe, and to all who read his articles and book reviews.  The wide range of his interests grew from a drive to understand ancient people from all angles, but his knowledge ran deep in areas as diverse as opera and classical music, television, radio and film, visual art and popular literature, modern languages, and not least the game of bridge, which he played with considerable success.”

Tana Allen ’90, one of his colleagues in the department of classics at Memorial Univ., noted that Jim was a self-effacing but highly respected scholar and teacher who had a distinctive and wry sense of humor—he especially loved “The Simpsons”—and was known to be a great lover of opera and animals.  He is survived by a brother, Andrew, in Maryland.

—Jim Pates ’72

 

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