William Willeford
1929 - 2016
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William Willeford died at home in Atlanta, GA, on November 19, 2015. A small memorial gathering of family and friends was held at his home on December 4.
William was born in Detroit, Michigan, on October 28, 1929, the only child of parents whose families had lived for generations in Tennessee. The family moved to Tulare, CA, just as Bill began high school. After receiving a BA in Anthropology and an MA in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, he taught English Literature in Lahore, Pakistan, for 2 years for the Asia Foundation.
After Pakistan he returned to the Bay Area. In 1957 he moved to Zurich, Switzerland, to study analytical psychology at the C.G.Jung Institute, receiving the diploma in 1962. He also completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Zurich and worked in psychiatric hospitals. In 1964 he married Adele Wildi of Zurich. They had two children and were married for 15 years.
In 1967 William and his family moved to Seattle, WA, where he would teach primarily English and Comparative Literature for 20 years at the University of Washington. Throughout his teaching career and up until his final illness, William always maintained a private psychoanalytical practice.
In Seattle in 1981 he married Ann Horne. They had two children. In 1988 the family moved to Dover, New Hampshire, and in 1995 to Atlanta, Georgia.
William authored two books -- The Fool and His Scepter: A Study in Clowns and Jesters and Their Audience (1969) and Feeling, Imagination, and the Self: Transformations of the Mother-Infant Relationship (1987)--and many articles. His writing was known for his skillful interweaving of literature, psychology, mythology, and religion.
Though a relatively august figure, in the family Bill was called "Dad" by a small horde of grand-children with whom he enthusiastically played legos and blocks. He was also known for his love of sweets, his succession of paintings--sometimes irreverently called "worm mazes" by his children--and his love of music of all kinds, especially blues and jazz. The profusion of papers and the sprawling rows of books that accompanied each writing project colored the childhoods of all his children.
He leaves his wife Ann of Atlanta; their daughter Claire and her husband Jorge Carrillo, and their children Analia, Julieta, Max, and Camila, of Seattle; and their son Joseph of Los Angeles. From his marriage with Adele, who died in 2001, he leaves daughter Catherine of Portland, Oregon; son James and his wife Diane Kearin and their children Chloe and Ben, of Seattle.

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Published in New York Times from Jan. 14 to Jan. 15, 2016.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
December 23, 2017
Please accept my condolences and have the strenght from God during this time of sorrow, Phillipians 4:13.
June 17, 2016
Dr.Willeford was my professor, doctoral advisor, and analyst. He was the most compassionate, brilliant,witty,challenging person I have had the good fortune to cross my path. His gifts to me keep making my life meaningful. A beacon of light in the darkest storm. Fair winds and tides. Dr. A,Seattle
Dr. Mark Anderson
March 31, 2016
No one did more for me than Bill, in coaxing me into the study of English in graduate school at Washington. My career as a Lit professor has been a great gift, and I owe it largely to Prof. Willeford. He was always kind, always wise. Ann, I hope you find some comfort in knowing that Bill's impact on his students was profound, and has rippled down through many thousands he never met--because he made HIS students better people.
David Summers
January 17, 2016
Gone and will not be forgotten, precious memories live on comforting love ones, our prayers is that he rest in peace, until God's will is done here on earth as it is in heaven, peace at last, no more death or pain.
January 15, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
January 15, 2016
To the Willeford Family,
My heart goes out to you. May the God of all comfort strengthen the family during this time of deep sorrow. Those who pass on, God keeps in his memory because they are precious in his eyes. My sincerest condolences.
Psalms 116:15
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