Deceased November 22, 2023

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Dick Buel died at age 90 on Nov. 22, 2023, in Essex, Conn. Growing up in Morristown, N.J., he graduated from Groton School with Al McLean, and they joined the Amherst class of 1955. Dick became a Theta Delt, played lacrosse, lettered in hockey, majored in history and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He then undertook graduate work at Harvard, where he received a Ph.D. in history in 1962 and became a mountain climber along the way. 

For the next 40 years, Dick taught American history at Wesleyan University, chairing the history department from 1977 to 1980. He authored six books, edited and reviewed many others, and contributed numerous chapters and articles to books and journals. Dick served for 22 years as associate editor of History and Theory. Along the way, he attended many academic conferences in the U.S. and Europe and received fellowships from a number of institutions, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. For a decade after retirement, Dick continued teaching in Wesleyan’s prison education program. Beyond the university, he served as president of the New England Historical Association and as a member of several Connecticut historical bodies.

Later, Dick became very active in his community of Essex, serving on boards for the library and two musical enterprises. He worked as a hospice volunteer and presided over the Essex Meadows Scholarship Foundation until his death. An enthusiastic dinghy racer, Dick competed at the Pettipaug Yacht Club for many years and was its commodore in 1990–91. He continued racing into his 80s at the Essex Yacht Club. 

In 1964 Dick married Joy Day, who predeceased him in 1987. He married Marilyn Ellman in 1992, and she died in 2014. Dick is survived by a daughter, a stepdaughter and his beloved companion of his last years, Kay Knight Clarke. 

Dave Lemal ’55