Wendell S. Dietrich
{ "" }
Share Wendell's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
86, a resident of Laurelmead in Providence, Rhode Island, died on April 13th from complications of Parkinson's disease. Wendell was born in Syracuse, NY, the son of Sanford and Mary W. Dietrich. After his father's death, Wendell moved with his mother and sister, Sylvia, to Princeton, NJ, where he started his academic career as a student at the Lawrenceville School, then continued on to obtain a B.A. from Princeton University. He subsequently completed his studies at Yale University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Divinity and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. He became a Professor of Religious Studies and Judaic Studies at Brown University, where he remained from 1958 until his retirement in 2000. During his career, he also held visiting positions at Dartmouth College, Princeton University, and the Kaplan Center for Jewish Studies at Cape Town University in South Africa and was elected to the American Theological Society. During his time at Brown, he was a very active member of the University Community, and engaged with colleagues across the university while serving in many roles, including Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He also was a passionate teacher who took immense pride in both challenging and mentoring his undergraduate and graduate students. He characterized himself as a Christian theologian interested in the history of Christian doctrine and moral traditions.
Wendell is survived by Betsy B. Dietrich, his loving wife of 52 years, his daughter Sarah Dietrich, her partner Susanne May, his son John Dietrich, daughter-in-law Dinusha Dietrich and grandchildren Lia and Timothy Dietrich.
A service to celebrate Wendell's life will be held at the Barrington Presbyterian Church, 400 County Rd., Barrington, RI on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 11AM, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to "Brown University" c/o the Brown Annual Fund-Scholarship Aid, Box 1877, Providence, RI 02912. Condolences may be left at monahandrabblesherman.com

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Providence Journal from Apr. 15 to Apr. 19, 2017.
Celebration of Life
11:00 AM
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Monahan, Drabble & Sherman Funeral Home
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
12 entries
October 3, 2019
So unfortunate that I learned of Mr Dietrich's passing just now. At Brown, he was indeed my great mentor, not only in fostering a passion in me for learning and loving theology, but of my aspiring to a future in that discipline. That unfortunately did not happen subsequently, but to hear a man of that stature encourage me once as such in the stacks in the Rock at Brown was one of the most treasured moments of my life.
The lovely dinner I had with his family once as a student still touches my heart. I am so grateful that he invited me for a meal in his home.
I shall forever honor the memory of Wendell Dietrich. Rest well and rise in glory, my always beloved teacher.
Robert Tosh
May 4, 2017
Dear Mrs. Dietrich and family:

My name is Peter C. Phan. I am a member of the American Theological Society, of which your husband was a faithful and distinguished member. I just learned of your tragic loss and would like to offer you and your family my deepest sympathies. May Wendell rest in peace and may God's light perpetually shine upon him.

Peter Phan
April 19, 2017
I was so sorry to learn about Wendell's passing. He will be missed for sure by all his Laurelmead friends and neighbors. Betsy, may god bless you during these difficult times.
Craig Evans
April 18, 2017
Dear Mrs Dietrich & Family: We are so sorry for the loss of husband, our deepest heartfelt sympathy goes out to you at this difficult time. Love, Laurelmead Housekeeping Department
jean gontarski
April 18, 2017
Big hug to you and your family. May God grant you peace in these times of sorrow and solace within his love.
Maria Wright
April 17, 2017
Suraj n' Kanchana Fernando
April 17, 2017
Dear Sarah,
Sending condolences to you and your family, and hoping you can all comfort each other with some good, old memories of your father and how he made the world a better place.
Diane Sweet
April 17, 2017
So sorry to hear of hear your Dad's passing. All of you will be in our thoughts & prayers! Love to all!
Kim Rose
April 17, 2017
Dear Sarah and family,

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of your father. You have lost a person who was a strong pillar in your family and your communities. May all you find peace and harmony in the days to come.

Luiza y Manuel
Luiza Collin
April 17, 2017
Dear Betsy,
May God bless and comfort you and your lovely family in the loss of Wendall...a wonderful Christian gentleman. Sending my love and condolences to you.

Joan Crowley
April 15, 2017
Betsy, so sorry to read of Wendell's death. My heart goes out to you and your children. With deepest sympathy,
Virginia Butterworth (formerly Eng-Wong)
April 14, 2017
Dear Sarah and family -
I am so very sorry for your loss. I hope you have many special memories of Wendall to comfort you at this difficult time.
With deepest sympathy,
Joni Hagigeorges
Salem State University
Joni Hagigeorges
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences