Carl Ray Woodring Carl Ray Woodring died on the morning of September 12, 2009 in his home at The Summit in Austin, Texas. A professor of English literature at Wisconsin and Columbia, an author, an acclaimed essayist, a distinguished international literary critic, a US Navy veteran, a generous mentor to fellow scholars, and a beloved friend, Carl Woodring lived a truly accomplished life. Carl was born to Jessie and Naomi (Cole) Woodring on August 29, 1919 in Terrell, Texas. His family moved to Houston where Carl attended high school and graduated from Rice University. At Rice, Carl earned his BA and MA degrees and also met his wife to be, Mary Frances "San" Ellis. San and Carl married on December 24, 1942, just hours after Carl received his commission in the US Navy. Carl served with the Navy throughout World War Two, seeing extensive action as second officer on the minesweeper flagship "USS Hopkins" (DMS 13) (his war memoir "Lucky 13" was published 2000 after the ship's 55th reunion). After leaving the Navy, Carl received his PhD from Harvard. He began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin in 1948, and taught there until 1961. In 1961 he joined the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, and served as chairman of the department from 1968-71. He became the George Edward Woodberry Professor of Literature at Columbia in 1976, and retained the chair as professor of literature emeritus when he retired in 1988. During his career at Columbia he served on the Columbia Society of Fellows in the Humanities as Chairman and Co-Chairman. Carl's scholarly awards are numerous, ranging from the Bowdoin prize at Harvard (1947), a Ford Foundation grant for 1955-56 and a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1958-59. In 1986 he received Rice University's Distinguished Alumnus award. Carl wrote numerous articles and books including "Politics in the Poetry of Coleridge" (1961), "Wordsworth" (1965), and "Nature into Art: Cultural Transformations in Nineteenth-Century Britain" (1989), He edited the two volumes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Table Talk (for the Bollingen Series "Collected Coleridge: in 1990) and co-edited "The Columbia History of British Poetry" (1995). His 1970 book on William Wordsworth, "Politics in English Romantic Poetry," won the Phi Beta Kappa award. His "Literature: an Endangered Profession" (published Columbia University Press in 1999) won the Texas Writers League Violet Crown Award. Carl's wife, San Woodring, died on March 2, 2003. "We had sixty wonderful years together," Carl said. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Janie Morrison, of Little Rock, Arkansas; Margery Harris, his dear friend and love; and the many lives he touched, those of his friends and students. A memorial service for Professor Woodring will be held at The Summit at Westlake Hills, 1034 Liberty Park Drive, Austin, Texas (date and time pending). His friends wish to thank AseraCare Hospice of Austin. In lieu of flowers, please make gifts to Rice University "in memory of Carl R. Woodring," PO Box 1892, Houston, Texas 77251-1892 or a charitable hospice organization.
Published by Austin American-Statesman on Sep. 16, 2009.