Willis Buckingham, 1938-2016
Willis John Buckingham, 77, passed away February 28, 2016. Buckingham was a professor of American literature in the ASU Department of English from 1969 to 2000. He completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, studied at Union Seminary in NYC, obtained a master's degree in English at University of Wisconsin, Madison, and completed his PhD in English at University of Indiana Bloomington.
Buckingham's scholarly interests included ninteenth-century American poetry, and his publications included an annotated bibliography of Emily Dickinson as well as a documentary history of her reception in the 1890s.
Beloved by his colleagues and students, Buckingham was the gentlest and most sensitive of scholars. He was a curious traveler, a historian, and an epicurean, with a joyous way of savoring life's every detail. He was also an avid member of the Great Books discussion group of Tempe. He brought altruism and benevolence to all those he encountered in life. His sister, Jane Pfeifer, his daughter, Jocelyn Unger, his son, David Buckingham, and his former wife and lifelong friend, Debra Buckingham, survive him.
The singular word so many former students and colleague use to describe Buckingham is "kind." This ethic was sincerely at the core of his teaching and relationships with others, and it is how he will most be remembered.
Image of Willis Buckingham and some biographical information are from his obituary in the Bismarck Tribune.