Long-Time Professor Richard Reynolds Dies at Age 82

A candle burning.

Richard Rothwell “Dick” Reynolds, 82, long-time professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences died on Oct. 20, 2012 in Avon, CT.

Reynolds joined the English department in 1969 and taught there for nearly 40 years. Although he officially retired in 1997, he continued to teach courses until the fall semester of 2008.

According to his obituary, Reynolds’ love of literature was, “… both broad and deep, and he touched the lives of hundreds of students, many of whom told him how meaningful his classes had been to them. A number of students stayed in touch with him long after they had graduated.”

Among his favorite authors were William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson, and Alexander Pope.  However he did not just teach the classics.  He also taught literature and the law and legal writing to dozens of lawyers-to-be who enrolled in his classes.

In his obituary he was described as having, “… a large and generous spirit; a broad and humane mind; a wit that could be cutting, but was usually affectionate. What can be said is that everyone who knew him well was shaped by him in ways they may not even recognize.”

Reynolds had many interests outside the classroom, including chess, hiking, cross-country skiing, and opera. He and his wife, Jan, who predeceased him in 2009, traveled extensively.

Reynolds received a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard in 1951 and then a law degree from the University of Michigan. He served in the US Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps and, following his discharge as a Captain, practiced law for 12 years in Elkhart, Ind. Subsequently, he earned his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Notre Dame.

His Midwestern experiences were never forgotten, and his children report that a few days before he died, he clapped his hands upon hearing that his longtime favorite Detroit Tigers had trounced the NY Yankees and made it into the World Series.

Reynolds is survived by three children and their spouses/partners, five grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. Also, by other extended family  and a wealth of friends.