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Lee K. Abbott

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Lee K. Abbott Obituary
Lee K. Abbott

Las Cruces - Lee K. Abbott, distinguished author and professor of the art of fiction who was widely known for his bold, stylish, prize-winning short stories and as a beloved, dynamic teacher, died April 29, 2019.

Born October 17, 1947, he grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and the stark desert landscape is central to his fiction, twice nominated for the Pulitzer. He was awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1991, a Major Artist Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council.

His short stories and essays appeared in Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, The New York Times Book Review, The Southern Review, Epoch, Boulevard, Crawdaddy, The North American Review, among others. His fiction was oft reprinted in The Best American Short Stories and The Prize Stories: The O'Henry Awards. His last collection of stories, All Things, All at Once: New & Selected Stories, was published by Norton in 2006.

He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from New Mexico State University and the Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Arkansas. He was professor of English at Case Western Reserve University where he was named The Samuel B. & Virginia C. Knight Professor of Humanities. In 1989 he became professor of English at The Ohio State University, founded the OSU MFA Creative Writing Program and was later named Humanities Distinguished Professor. He retired from OSU in 2012.

He taught as writer-in-residence or visiting faculty at Yale University, Antioch College, Colorado College, Washington University, Rice University, Wichita State University, Southwest Texas State University, Old Dominion University, Miami University, and the University of Michigan. After he retired, he returned to his native New Mexico and was named Distinguished Visiting Professor at New Mexico State University.

Abbott is survived by his wife, Natalie Walston Abbott, who resides in Las Cruces, by his two sons, Noel Abbott (Sara Jane) of Evanston, Illinois and Kelly Abbott (Stephanie) of San Diego, his children with Pamela Jo (Dennis) Abbott, who died in 2014, and his brother, Mark Abbott and partner Mason of Lubbock, Texas and, (one grandchild, Will, died in 2015), his grandchildren Mia, Maxwell, David and Sloane. Cause of death was Leukemia.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on May 31, 2019
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