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.
Published in New York Times from Jan. 14 to Jan. 15, 2016.