John Seelye
1931 - 2015
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John Seelye, age 84, of Palatka, FL passed away on Monday, April 20, 2015 in Gainesville, FL. He was born in Hartford January 1, 1931 to Douglas and Maida Seelye, and spent his younger years in Glastonbury. John served in the United States Navy as a lieutenant during the Korean conflict. He earned his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. and his doctorate from Claremont Graduate School. He was a Professor of English and American Literature for the University of California at Berkeley, University of Connecticut, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dartmouth College, and the University of Florida in Gainesville. A writer, author, and scholar who wrote on a variety of subjects, John also enjoyed restoring historical homes and buildings. His most recent project was the Veterans' Memorial Hall in Eastport, Maine-a museum dedicated to American Veterans. He was preceded in death by wives, Anna Seelye and Catherine Moore Seelye, and a nephew, Douglas Seelye. John is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Alice Hunt Seelye; stepdaughter, Lisa Miller and husband Allen; brother, Morgan Seelye; nephew, Roy Seelye; nieces, Abigail Napier and her husband Al, and Elizabeth Seelye and their children as well as his companions Andy, Opie, and Pepper. Celebrations of life will be held at later dates in Fla, Hillsborough, and Eastport, Maine. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Paws4Ever, 6311 Nicks Road, Melburne, NC, 27302, Environment Connecticut, 198 Park Road, West Hartford, CT, 06119, PAWS, 368 South Street Calais, ME, 04619 or the charity of choice. Arrangements are in the care of Milam Funeral and Cremation Services, 311 South Main Street Gainesville, FL, 32601



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Published in Hartford Courant from Apr. 28 to Apr. 30, 2015.
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15 entries
November 5, 2019
Just now seeing this. I met John in 1978 when we were both engaged to participate in a project called "Return to the River" presented by the University of Nebraska aboard the Delta Queen Steamboat. We traveled from New Orleans to Cincinnati and performed in shows in Vicksburg, Natchez, Memphis, and Paducah along the journey. John was there to talk about the river, and Mark Twain, and his many excellent books and writing about those subjects. I was there to do my Mark Twain impersonation. I have many lovely memories of the trip, but principal among them is standing on the hurricane deck of the Delta Queen when Professor Seelye walked up wearing a really nice Mark Twain t-shirt. I admired it. He took it off right then and there, and gave it to me, smiling and barechested. I wore it until it fell apart.
richard henzel
April 13, 2017
I was a student in two of John Seelye's English classes as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Seelye (as we called him) was then a young teaching assistant and I was a naive, impressionable 18 year old. He was mesmerizing. He strode around the room, acting out his feelings and ideas about the books we were reading .He brought literature to life, and challenged us to search within ourselves for experiences that corresponded to those of the characters we were studying. Young and scared as we were (myself above all) we gained the confidence to speak up in class, inspired by this brilliant young professor. John Seelye was by far my best professor at UC Berkeley and I am so, so sorry I didn't try to contact him later in life. Now it is, alas, too late.
Jane Patton Edelman
March 5, 2017
I am really, really late learning of this. I was one of his graduate students at the University of Connecticut what is now a really long time ago. I remember most the life, the energy, the verve. And that makes it all the more strange that he is no longer alive. Oh dear, vita brevis.
Hans Bergmann
September 25, 2016
John was the person who was behind my opening The Vorpal Gallery in San Francisco in1962.

But for him The Vorpal would not have existed and few people would have been aware of the fabulous woodcuts and lithographs of M.C.Escher.

Muldoon Elder
May 7, 2016
I'm sorry I am so late to this, but I just heard of John's passing. I was one of John's graduate students at UNC and was totally astounded by his brilliance, in the classroom and working with him individually. I gravitated to him--it didn't matter what he was teaching, I wanted to know what he thought. He was totally inspiring, as a teacher and a scholar, and I'll never forget what a powerful, engaging mind he possessed. And so funny and passionate.

Alice, it's been so long since I've seen you, and I'm sorry about that. I hope you're doing well, and I'm so sorry to hear of John's death.
Robert Brinkmeyer
August 10, 2015
John was a professor of mine at UConn and he was generous, kind and incredibly smart and alive. When I was a broke student he paid me to do some bogus work around his house. A good man I will always remember.
William Palmer
May 9, 2015
We were so sad to hear of John's passing. We have lots of great memories of visiting with him and Alice in North Carolina and Maine and knowing that he was not far away from us here in Florida. We will truly miss him. Grace Chlastawa and Tom Wilkerson
May 9, 2015
I didn't know John well, but he made me feel welcome when I joined the English Department at UF. His good humor, smarts, and generosity will be missed.
Kenneth Kidd
May 3, 2015
Thinking of you Alice.So sorry for your loss.I've always loved you Alice & will send up prayers for you ! I know you will miss him forever. Love Frankie .
May 3, 2015
In 1988 on my first year teaching in the English Department at Uf, John Seelye welcomed me with interesting tales about his academic travels that led him to the department and university we shared. In the years that followed he was a rejuvenating spirit, and as others have said, a sort pluck-like godsend in good and bad times. I was most grateful of the rare first edition of Peter Noble, The Negro in Films that he offered me in knowledge of my interest in this area of film history.

I send my heart felt feelings to his family and all people that were fortunate to encounter this wonderful and giving spirit.

Mark A. Reid
Mark A. REID
May 2, 2015
John was an elder statesman in the field of American literature. Genial, witty, and smart, he was one of the few of his generation who welcomed women scholars into the academic fold. While I was still writing my dissertation (on Joel Barlow), John sent me a copy of Barlow's Vision of Columbus - an ex-libris, rebound copy - which became the focal point of my library and the start of a career of collecting old books. I was very saddened to learn of his having passed on. His generosity of spirit and warm smile are unmatched. My thoughts are with you, Alice, and the rest of your family.
April 30, 2015
John was a welcome and warm colleague when we taught at the University of Connecticut. We also shared Claremont Graduate University, so for a while we were very close. He was brilliant, funny, and always filled with great ideas. He was my best colleague.
Lee Jacobus
April 28, 2015
A delightful person. I enjoyed meeting John and having many discussions. I'm sorry for your loss.
Bonnie Mott
April 28, 2015
A GREAT MAN AND A FINE HUMAN BEING, WITH A PUCKISH, SOMETIMES IRASCIBLE CHARM, A BIG HEART AND A FIRST-CLASS BRAIN. WILL MISS HIM A LOT. D. WALSH
April 25, 2015
John Seelye was one of the best teachers I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was witty, brilliant, humble and very generous with his time and thoughts. My condolences to his family for what must be a great loss.
Greg Martinez
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