The Obituary of an Immigrant Pianist
Bruce Haywood was born in Allerton Bywater, West Yorkshire, England on September 30, 1925. He was the only child of Joseph Edgar and Eva Lily (Street) Haywood, who spent their entire lives in that small coal mining village. His mother was a teacher, his father a bus driver. He was preceded in death by his parents and many aunts, uncles and cousins. In 1947 he was married by the Mayor of Bremerhaven, Germany to Sergeant Gretchen Shelley of the U.S. Women’s Army Corp, formerly of Munising, Michigan; she died in 2003 in her eightieth year. Their younger daughter, Elizabeth Shelley (Haywood) Youngquist died in 1996 of breast cancer at age thirty. Their older daughter, Anne Margaret Haywood died in 2018 of cancer at age fifty-five. Bruce is survived by Elizabeth’s husband Andrew L. Youngquist of Monmouth, Illinois, by nephews and nieces in Michigan and by cousins in England and Australia with whom he has maintained a lively correspondence.
In 2008 he married Mary Sullens Bailey, who survives him, as do Mary’s four children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters -in-law Phyllis Jern and Patye Shea and by several step nephews and nieces.
From 1936 to 1943 Bruce was a scholarship boy at a Yorkshire prep school, earning the Higher Certificate in English, French, German and European History.
He served in the British Army “at His Majesty’s pleasure” from 1943 to 1947. After completing infantry battle training he was transferred to the Intelligence Corps, attached in 1945-1947 to U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps in the Bremen Enclave of the British Zone of Occupied Germany.
He began his student years in 1947 at Leeds University, England, transferring in 1948 to McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He earned the B.A. with first class honors in German in 1950, and in 1951 was awarded the M.A. in German literature with highest honors. He was a teaching fellow and doctoral candidate at Harvard University 1951-1954, earning the Ph.D. in German literature and thought in 1956. He was subsequently awarded honorary degrees by Kenyon College and Knox College.
Bruce became a U.S. citizen in 1957, inducted in Columbus, Ohio. Though he renounced his British citizenship at that point, he continued to have an affectionate relationship with his native land, visiting his family and friends in Yorkshire for many years until 1986, when his mother died. He did research in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, in the birth places of authors who were central to the courses he taught at Kenyon College for twenty-six years. In 1960 he was a guest of the West German government for a visit to German universities.
He was a member of the faculty of Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio as a Professor of German, serving as Dean of the College and Provost for seventeen years. He was the prime mover in transforming Kenyon from an all-male institution into a larger, coeducational college in 1969. In 1980 he became President of Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois and served in that office until his retirement in 1994. Thereafter he lived in Galesburg, Illinois.
For ten years Bruce was a member of the Ohio/Michigan selection committee for Woodrow Wilson Fellowships, which provided potential professors with a year of graduate school. He served the National Endowment for the Humanities, both as a member of selection committees on awards and as a member of the National Board of Consultants. In that latter capacity he visited some twenty colleges and universities over a ten-year period, advising them on curriculum and course design. He served a term on the Illinois Humanities Council in the nineteen-eighties.
Bruce was raised a Methodist in a thriving Chapel supported by both sides of his family; it has not survived England’s move away from religion. While for many years an agnostic, he returned to his faith and successfully reconciled contemporary Christian thought with the positions of modern science, except of course Darwinism’s random world. He was an active member of First United Methodist Church in Galesburg and an Adult Sunday School teacher. Bruce was a competent pianist, and music occupied a prime place in his life. As a teenager he played piano and alto sax in local dance bands. He was a convinced traveler across the United States and Canada. He enjoyed walking and yard work; he was an avid reader and an opera fan.
He was the author of four books and the editor of a fifth: Novalis: The Veil of Imagery; The Essential College; Allerton Bywater – A Yorkshire Boyhood; Bremerhaven – a memoir of Germany 1945-47; (Editor) Letters from Germany, 1938.
For many years Bruce contributed columns on a variety of topics to local newspapers. He was in much demand as a speaker before local and national organizations. He was a devoted letter writer, corresponding with former students and colleagues, as well as long-time friends. He was at his happiest in a good conversation.
At Bruce’s request, cremation has been accorded. Hinchliff-Pearson-West Funeral Directors and Cremation Services Galesburg Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements. Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, the Galesburg Community Foundation, or the Galesburg Mission and Women’s Shelter. Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com.
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