Deceased July 27, 2023

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In Memory
W. Miller Brown '58

The class of 1958 has lost one of its most multidimensional members. Wesley Miller Brown died peacefully on July 27, 2023, surrounded by his daughters (Mara, who attended Amherst in 1985–86, and Shana ’93) and stepdaughters (Robin and Jasmine). His wife, Hilary, a retired psychotherapist, was too ill to be with him, but he knew she was with him in spirit.

Miller made a mythic American journey from West to East and back: Hutchinson, Kansas; Amherst; Sorbonne (Rotary Fellowship); Harvard for his doctorate, with a thesis on J.S. Mill; then an impressive career at Trinity College as professor and dean (1999–2004) until his retirement in 2015. 

After publishing articles mainly on the philosophy of sport (he was a marathon runner), Miller turned to nonfiction: a memoir, In Places Remembered: A Narrative of My Life in Academe (2020), including, of course, a chapter on Amherst that captures (with some memorable photos) the atmosphere of the 1950s and reviews the pros and cons of the New Curriculum.

He followed this significant book with a well-crafted, charming and thoughtful collection of ruminations about objects in his Glastonbury, Conn., study that represented Wordsworthian “spots of time” in his life and our generation’s: A Palette of Recollections (2020). That year was his literary annus mirabilis.

One chapter, “Tidal Pool,” describes summers spent with family on Provincetown Bay and Cuttyhunk Island. Miller, ready to laugh, knew nonetheless about tides: the ins and outs of emotional combers and the rips and risky currents of most lives.

His post-philosophic autobiographical writing adds an asterisk to Robert Frost’s comment about a “long ago and far-away” recording of Amherst songs: “The better for having been held in check a while.” Miller’s life shall continue to reach the shores of those who were privileged to know him. 

Howard R. Wolf ’58