In Memoriam

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Jesse Dawes Green ’51

A picture of Jesse Green

Jesse Dawes Green ’51, November 3, 2011, in Seattle, Washington, from pulmonary fibrosis. Born in Stanley, Wisconsin (population 1,873), Jesse went to high school at Robert Hutchins’s Great Books college at the University of Chicago, followed his favorite teacher to Black Mountain College in North Carolina, grew his first beard, and eventually enrolled at Reed. There he met his soul mate and future wife, Nancy B. Stewart ’50, and earned a BA in general literature. Jesse and Nancy went to Europe on Fulbright scholarships in 1952—Jesse to Italy and Nancy to England. On their return, Jesse earned an MA at UC Berkeley. Two of the couple’s sons—Brad and Duncan—were born in Berkeley, and a third son, Joel, arrived in Portland, where the couple had moved for a teaching opportunity at Catlin Gabel High School. Jesse’s career in academia led to a PhD from Northwestern and tenure at Chicago State University, where he taught for 26 years. He was professor of English, speech, and modern languages, chaired the English department, and taught “just about every course offered in English.” He also taught English at Nanjing University in China in 1986–87. Jesse published his poetry, academic articles, and three books: Zuñi: Selected Writings of Frank Hamilton Cushing (1979); Cushing at Zuñi: Correspondence and Journals of Frank Hamilton Cushing, 1879–1884; and Wrestling with Old Heroes—Again (2008), a reengagement with some of his favorite writers from a lifetime of reading and teaching—Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and Emily Dickinson. In retirement, he took up pottery and made many beautiful and fanciful objects. Jesse is remembered for his courage, love of reading, warmth, and wry humor. Survivors include Nancy and their three sons and two grandsons.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2012

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