NECROLOGY 2007-2008

Were we to devote all four days and 68 paper sessions to memories of the person, the contribution, and the dear personality of Sandy McKay, we could not exhaust the reservoir of expertise, wisdom and kindness that characterized one of this association’s most accomplished and beloved members. Alexander Gordon McKay was born on Christmas Eve in 1924 in Toronto. His grandfather was Chancellor of McMaster University on Hamilton, Ontario. Sandy attended Upper Canada College then Trinity College at the University of Toronto as a Duke of Wellington Scholar, where he graduated with honors in Classics. He decamped to Yale as a Kellogg Fellow where he received an M.A., thence to Princeton as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, receiving the A.M. and Ph.D. After stints at Wells College, The University of Pennsylvania, Mount Allison, Waterloo, Western, and Manitoba, he joined the faculty at McMaster in 1957, where he served for 33 years as chairman of the department from 1962 to 1968 and again in 1976 to 1979, and Dean of the Humanities from 1968 to 1973. He was President of CAMWS in 1972-3, his elegant and crisp Latin style graced the ovationes for over ten years, and he received a CAMWS ovatio himself in 1978. He was resident of the Classical Association of Canada in 1978-80, The Vergilian Society of America in 1973-4, and in 1988 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. His early interest in Aeschylus was soon displaced by devotion to Virgil, resulting in over 15 books, more than 80 articles and over 100 book reviews, but he will be especially remembered as the indefatigable annual bibliographer of Virgil, whose lists in Vergilius regularly ran into the hundreds of items. He also served the Virgilian Society as a guide on numerous tours for nearly fifty years, drawing devoted members to the Society. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and received honorary degrees Manitoba, Brock, Queens, and McMaster. He continued to teach even after his retirement in 1990 and in 1992 he was honored with a Festschrift that focused on his beloved Virgil, his constant companion until Sandy’s much grieved passage across the Styx on 31 August 2007.

       Manibus date lilia plenis,
purpureos spargam flores animamque nepotis
his saltem accumulem donis et fungar inani

Naidyne Brown Bridwell was a familiar figure at CAMWS meetings for as long as any of us can remember. Born in Kentucky in 1924, she received her B.A. summa cum laude from Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, and taught at John Hersey High School in Illinois for nearly four decades. She retired from high-school teaching in 1984 when she moved to Denver with her husband Bill (Wilburn F.), who died in 1995. At Regis University she was one of the most energetic and effective state vice-presidents in CAMWS. Her regional newsletter set a standard for all. For these and her lifetime dedication to teaching she received many awards, including a CAMWS ovatio in 1995.  When she died on 24 September 2007, the classical world lost one of its most dedicated teachers and ardent supporters.

James R. Jochum, taught Latin in the secondary schools for 28 years. At New Albany High School in Indiana he taught three levels of Latin and one of English.  He had a master’s degree he was a lifelong Catholic. He died at the age of 57 on 9 October 2007.

Nancy Pearce Helmbold came out of Abilene Texas, where she was born in 1918 to a typewriter salesman and his wife,  a born teacher with a special gift for languages. Although she had swept the Texas state high-school Latin contest four years in a row, she graduated from the University of Texas in 1939 with a degree in liberal arts because Latin was “too square.” She began work for the FBI as a secretary in San Antonio, where she translated Spanish calls and letters. During the occupation of Japan after World War II, the harbor of Tokyo and many of the islands that were scenes of the most intensely fought battles were filled with Japanese mines. Nancy learned Japanese in order to translate the nautical documents that located these mines. Her language skills literally saved lives from 1946 to 1950.  But as her colleague Peter White said, “Her life was devoted to teaching Latin.” Thanks to the G.I. Bill, she was able to leave Japan for Berkeley in 1950 where she continued her study of East Asian languages, but a couple of Latin courses changed her direction for life. She received a Ph.D. in 1957 and a year later married the Berkeley Hellenist William Clark Helmbold in 1958. She taught at Mount Holyoke and the University of Oregon before joining the University of Chicago in 1963 following her husband’s departure from Berkeley. In Hyde Park, she taught Latin at all levels, including intensive summer courses, and was known as famously stringent in maintaining standards for punctuality, precision and intensity.  Her specialty was Latin 301 to 303, the introductory sequence for graduate students not in the classics. Even after her retirement in 1989, when she received the Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award for her teaching, she continued teaching well into her eighties. Her great passion outside the classroom was grand opera which she attended over fifteen times a year with two of her former students. She said, “I would like to think that some of my students will read Latin poetry for the rest of their lives.”  Her colleague Elizabeth Asmis said that her passion for teaching Latin “never left her.” Nancy Helmbold died of natural causes on 30 October 2007

Peter G. Theis taught Greek and Latin at Marquette University for 29 years, enlivening his classes with his good humor, his love of Latin, and his passion for teaching. He was the president of the Milwaukee Latin Teachers Association, the Wisconsin Latin Teachers Association and the Wisconsin Foreign Language Teachers Association.   He was an ardent fan of the Milwaukee Brewers and a devoted family man. He died at the age of 77 on 30 December 2007.

James J. Williams was born in Jacksonville, Florida on Christmas Eve in 1927 and graduated from Emory University. He received an S.T.M at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., an M.A. at Northwestern University in Evanston and an M.A.L.S. at Rosary College in Chicago, after which he was ordained as a pastor of the Methodist church. After marriage to his wife Catherine in Charlotte in 1951, he moved to Elmhurst, Illinois, where he was an associate professor and librarian at Elmhurst College from 1960 to 1994, teaching Greek, classical literature and theology. He and his wife led study tours for students and adults to Greece, Italy and Ireland through their travel company, Dolpin Travel. Williams retired in 1994 to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He died in Green Bay, Wiscosin, 20 January 2008 at the age of 80.

The two great loves of Charles J. Zabrowski’s professional life were the teaching of classical Greek to undergraduates and the investigation of the Byzantine manuscripts of Aeschylus and their attendant scholia. These interestes were nurtured at Canisius College in Buffalo, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1967. He went on to receive an M.A. in Classics and Ancient History from the University of Toronto. He spent 1973-74 as Seymour Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and received his Ph.D. from Fordham in 1984. He pursued these passions at Elmira College, then at Boston College, then from 1979 to 1985 at Creighton, where he joined CAMWS. In 1987 he moved to Gettysburg College where he was a familiar and beloved figure, teaching his class and strolling about the campus in his academic robes, in which he always taught his classes. He rose to full professor, served as secretary of the faculty and was chairman of the department from 1998 to 2004. He lost his long battle with lung cancer on 30 January 2008.

It is especially sad when those who devote themselves to leading their fields into the future are denied a fair portion of that future for themselves.  Allen Ross Scaife was a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was born in 1960. He majored in Classics and philosophy at William and Mary and received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1990. A Fulbright year in 1985 allowed him unfettered time at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, where he developed research and materials for the many and diverse courses he taught at the University of Kentucky from 1991 until his death.  He will be remembered by the world at large for his work as editor of the Stoa Consortium for Electronic Publication in the Humanities. His website set the standard for non-print publications. He also co-founded Diotima, where he collected and made available to the world the materials he used so successfully in his course on women in antiquity. He also helped found the Suda on Line for Byzantine Greek Lexicography, Educe, a scanning technology to read unwrapped papyrus rolls, and he collaborated in the high-resolution digital imaging of the Venetus A manuscript of the Iliad.  At the University of Kentucky he was instrumental in founding the Collaboratory for Research in Computing for Humanities, a project to introduce his colleagues to using computers in their research.  He took as much joy in watching his three sons play soccer as they took in playing it.  Sailing and hiking vacations in his native Virginia gave him special pleasure and special time with his family. He was claimed by cancer on 15 March 2008, but the future of our research will forever be indebted to him.

Frank H. Longstreth was a pillar of the Western Reserve Academy in Shaker Heights. Born to an old Main Line Philadelphia family, he did graduate work at Penn after service during Word War II in the Marine Corps, whose lapel pin he proudly wore on his crisply tailored blazers and suit jackets. He came to Western Reserve in 1948 and stayed as a teacher and campus fixture for 44 years. Known across campus as “Stretch,” he was as handsome and well-dressed as a Gentleman’s Quarterly model, even when his white hair gave him the aquiline appearance of our national symbol. He was devoted to Broadway show tunes and college fight songs, along with a quiver full of barbed lines from old movies, all of which he employed to encourage and amuse his students both in the classroom and the athletic fields. He was honored by CAMWS as a Teacher of the Year.  He died at the age of 86 on 19 March 2008.

Respectfully submitted,

Ward Briggs


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