REYNOLDS, Richard Rothwell "Dick"
Richard Rothwell "Dick" Reynolds, 82, died surrounded by family under hospice care in Avon, Saturday, (October 20, 2012). He was born Dec. 15, 1929, in New Rochelle, NY, a son of Marion (Connolly) and Irving Reynolds. He is survived by three children, Peter and his wife, Janet, of Canton, Sarah, and her partner, Maureen Rubano, of Union, ME, and David and his wife, Kaja, of Colorado Springs, CO.; five grandchildren, Rachel Reynolds and her husband, John Dezort, Gerrit Reynolds, Sam Reynolds, Emma Reynolds and Sage Reynolds; and a great-granddaughter, Maxine. He is also survived by a brother, Hanson Reynolds, of Brookline, MA, and his partner, Sharon Gray; a brother-in-law, David Lighthill, and his wife, Millie, of Columbus, OH; a sister-in-law, Laing Reynolds, of Lafayette, CO; 10 nieces and nephews; and a wealth of friends. He was predeceased by a brother, Michael, in 2003; and by his beloved wife, Jan, in 2009. Dick spent his early childhood in Mt. Vernon, NY and attended public schools there, where his father was on the Board of Education. He then went to Pomfret School for five years, was active in three sports, wrote for the school newspaper and had numerous roles on stage. Dick received his bachelor's degree in English from Harvard in 1951. He married Jan Lighthill in 1952. After he earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1954, he went into the Air Force and served in the Judge Advocate General's Corp. Following his discharge as a captain, he practiced law for 12 years in Elkhart, IN, and subsequently earned his Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Notre Dame. In 1969, he moved his family to Storrs and joined the University of Connecticut English department, where he was a professor for close to 40 years. His 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 after they graduated. Though his favorite authors were Shakespeare, Swift, Samuel Johnson and Alexander Pope, he also taught legal writing, and literature and law courses that were very popular and shaped the lives and ambitions of dozens of lawyers-to-be. Dick had many interests outside the classroom; among them were chess, hiking, cross-country skiing, fishing, opera, tennis, squash and golf. In their 60s and early 70s, he and Jan traveled extensively to enjoy culture and play golf. He kept a special fondness for the Adirondacks, where he had spent summers as a boy, a love he passed on to his children and grandchildren. His was a large and generous spirit; a broad and humane mind; a wit that could be cutting, but was usually affectionate. No words can say the countless ways he will be missed. What can be said is that everyone who knew him well was shaped by him in ways they may not even recognize and each will remember him always. After the death of his wife, Dick was increasingly overtaken by dementia, which stole his independence and short-term memory and eventually his physical strength and ability to get around. But to the end, he retained an enormous fund of knowledge and memories of people he loved and adventures he had shared. A few days before he died, he clapped his hands upon hearing that his longtime favorite Detroit Tigers had trounced the Yankees and made it into the World Series.

Published in The Hartford Courant from Oct. 25 to Oct. 26, 2012