In Memoriam, Spring 2021

by Emily Graham ’22 (CLAS)

In this issue of the newsletter, we honor three members of the UConn English community who have passed during this year. While they might not be with us in person, their insight and passion for literature and writing has left a lasting impression.


Gabriella Schlesinger, 84, passed away in early 2021, survived by her children, Eva and David. A longtime English faculty member at the Avery Point campus, Gabriella was a dedicated teacher of First-Year Writing and literature for generations of students, and established the Schlesinger Family Scholarship for Avery Point students in need of financial assistance. Committed to social justice and community involvement, Gaby was a member of the League of Women Voters and the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut, among others. We are devastated by the loss of Gabriella, and we send our thoughts to her family.

The obituary for Gabriella Schlesinger is available from The Day of New London.


Bill Curtin, 94, passed away in late March of 2021, survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren. A member of the UConn English department from 1969 to 1991, Bill was a scholar of Willa Cather and her fiction, and a founding member of The Connecticut Writing Project. Outside of teaching, he was a devout member and leader of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Storrs, as well as a funny man who loved to entertain his friends and family. We are deeply saddened by the loss of Bill and send our condolences to his family.

The obituary for Bill Curtin is available from the Willimantic Chronicle. 


James Scully, 83, passed away last December at his home in Vermont, survived by his wife and two children. In addition to his time with the English department from 1964 to 1992, James was a celebrated poet, activist and translator, who had many of his works published in various volumes and collections; Santiago Poems (1975) was the first book published by Curbstone Press, a former publishing company in Willimantic. After living in San Francisco after his retirement, he chose to return to the East Coast where he lived in the company of his closest friends and family. We miss James greatly and send our deepest sympathies to his family.

The obituary for James Scully is available from the San Francisco Chronicle: