Deceased October 7, 2023

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Howie Wolf, whose beloved daughter Alexis lived with her family in Israel, died in Buffalo, N.Y., on Oct. 7, the day of the Hamas attacks. He succumbed to a rapid onset of lung cancer.

Howie received a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and taught his entire career in the English department of SUNY Buffalo. But he loved teaching American letters, culture and life to foreign students, so he earned Fulbright lectureships in Turkey and South Africa; taught in India, Malaysia and Hong Kong; and lectured in another 15 countries, including Australia, Finland, Japan, Thailand and Slovakia.

A dedicated writer, Howie composed at his desk every morning in a wide variety of genres: novels, short stories, plays, poetry, autobiographical essays and social criticism. He published some dozen books and scores of articles in journals, both scholarly and of general interest, as well as writing a column on local issues for the Buffalo paper. 

He was a deeply compassionate teacher, conceiving of his role as expanding the horizons of his students, since he believed a humane and humanistic literary education would enlarge their views and offer vistas otherwise closed to or unperceived by them.

In later years, he became a dedicated gardener and wrote about gardening’s pleasures, as if experience took on an even richer life in the exercising of his imagination.

One of his proudest accomplishments was creating a large collection at Amherst of his papers, hoping that an Amherst student in the 22nd century might chance upon the cache of a 20th-century man of letters.

He was a great friend of mine for 68 years. We wrote a book together and exchanged hundreds of letters and thousands of emails. Howie and my other senior roommate, Miller Brown ’58, died within 10 weeks of each other. Enormous grief and emptiness. 

Roger Porter ’58