Leslie "Les" Field, 85
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Leslie "Les" Field, devoted husband, brother, father and grandfather, died June 22, 2012, at age 85 at Indiana University Arnett Hospital from complications of Multiple Myeloma, which was diagnosed in 2004. His best friend and constant companion, his wife of 59 ½ years, Joyce, and his beloved children, Jeffrey and Lynda, were with him.
Leslie Field was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on September 19, 1926, to Harry Sheinfeld and Rose Youlis Sheinfeld, who emigrated from Bessarabia (now Moldova) in 1924. Les grew up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, attended Mercer Street School, Patterson Collegiate High School and was in the Canadian Navy at the tail end of World War II (1944-45). His naturalization was in 1953, the same year he married Joyce Wolf, initially of Bronx, New York, and Detroit, Michigan.
He attended Assumption College in Windsor, University of Detroit, UCLA, Wayne State University (Detroit), where he met his wife, and Indiana University. He received his B.A.and M.A. in English at Wayne State University, and then completed his Ph.D. studies in English at the School of Letters at Indiana University (ABD). In 1956 he began teaching as an instructor in English at Purdue University. Over the years he was promoted to full professor, retiring in 1991 as Professor Emeritus.
During his 35 years at Purdue, he specialized in American literature and wrote or edited ten books and about 200 articles or reviews. With Joyce Field he edited two books on Bernard Malamud and produced five books on Thomas Wolfe. He devoted much of his scholarly and critical work to 19th and 20th Century American fiction and to modern Jewish-American writers such as Bellow, Malamud, Philip Roth and I.B. Singer.
On the departmental level he received recognition for excellence in teaching. He also received grants for scholarly/critical work in France and Israel. In 1969-70 he was a Senior Lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He was an advisory editor to the following journals: Modern Fiction Studies, Thomas Wolfe Review, Yiddish, Modern Jewish Literature, Studies in Jewish-American Literature and Shofar. For 1958-59, he was Agricultural Experiment Station Editor at Purdue. He was active in many academic and/or Jewish and Zionist organizations: American Professors for Peace in the Middle East (APPME), Modern Language Association (MLA), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and American Literature Association (ALA).
In his earlier, more active years, Les traveled, biked, walked and took care of his canine companion, the Alaskan Malamute Nikki. During his later retirement period he preferred his comfortable study with his books and journals. Moreover, he felt secure that his Multiple Myeloma was being treated expertly and compassionately by Dr. James Berenson in Los Angeles and all the wonderful physicians and staff, too numerous to name, at IU Arnett, particularly Drs. Scott Miethke, A. Al-Makki, and Wael Harb.
Les Field is survived by his wife, Joyce; his daughter, Lynda Field, of Brooklyn, New York; and his son and daughter-in-law, Jeffrey and Cathy Field, and their two sons, Dylan and Collin Field, of Los Angeles, California. He is also survived by his sisters, Florence Glen and Sally Mandel; numerous nieces and nephews scattered over many cities; and other close relatives in Israel. Two of his older sisters, Sylvia and MaryAnn, preceded him in death.
Les was a devoted teacher and scholar, greatly appreciated by his students and colleagues. He was always emotionally involved in passing on his love of literature and education to his students, his children and his grandsons. In his later years, nothing pleased him more than hearing of his grandsons' academic and sports accomplishments. He took special delight in reading to his grandsons from the time of their birth. He was a protective and loving father and husband, and will be lovingly remembered for his wit, storytelling, conversation and compassion.
There will be a private family service. A gathering for family will be held at a later date in Los Angeles. Donations may be made to Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research, 9201 Sunset Blvd., Suite 300, West Hollywood, CA 90069. Hippensteel Funeral Home entrusted with care. Share memories and condolences online at www.hippensteelfuneralservice.com.
Published in the Journal & Courier on June 24, 2012