Deceased January 23, 2024

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In Memory

Henry F. Bedfordknown as Ted, except by his eighth-grade teacher—passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Jan. 23, 2024. An educator and author throughout his adult life, he will be missed by family, friends and countless students whose lives he touched over a career that spanned decades. 

Ted had a knack for attending schools that he subsequently returned to in a teaching or administrative capacity. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and returned there in 1957 after graduating from Amherst and earning an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. After 25 years at Exeter in various capacities, and after earning a Ph.D. from UMass Amherst, Ted returned to Amherst College as dean of admissions in 1982. He liked to say that his approach to the classroom was to learn as much from his students as they learned from him, an approach that kept him young and vibrant through his lifetime.

Ted’s undergraduate years at Amherst were spent most happily in the classroom and at Phi Alpha Psi—a bit of a conundrum when, 30 years later, as dean of admissions, he successfully lobbied for a more inclusive and progressive social scene that embraced coeducation and closed fraternities as they had existed.

Ted’s scholarly publications reflected his love and fascination for the research and interpretation of history. His most prominent book, which he co-authored, was the widely used textbook The Americans.

Ted met Kennetha McKinley in 1947 in Vermont; they were wed in June 1952 and were happily and lovingly married for more than 71 years. His family would hear him say “There’s the love of my life” to Kennie right until the end. They kept each other in close and wonderful company and were devoted to each other through moves, careers, children, lean times and great times. 

Henry Bedford, William Bedford ’78, Jeffrey Bedford ’81 and Caroline B. Langelier