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Kansas City Star Obituary

This is a longer and more fully developed story, so I just wanted to archive it here also. It does repeat some of the things from the others below. cb

Kansas City Star: AP Wire | 08/18/2003 | James Whitehead, Arkansas professor and writer, dies at 67

Posted on Mon, Aug. 18, 2003

James Whitehead, Arkansas professor and writer, dies at 67
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - James Tillotson Whitehead, a writer and professor who helped build University of Arkansas' creative writing program, has died.

He was 67.

Whitehead, a former St. Louis native who published a number of volumes of poetry and one novel, died Friday after suffering a rupture of an aortic aneurysm.


In 1965, Whitehead joined Miller Williams and Bill Harrison in establishing the creative writing program at the Fayetteville campus. He spent 35 years in the program as a teacher, administrator and writer, until his retirement in 1999.

Under his influence, the program grew to develop a reputation as one of the most competitive and productive workshops for young writers. Whitehead's former students today are novelists, poets and teachers of writing at universities across the country.

Williams recalled that Whitehead had a way of making students understand him, and that Whitehead had a wonderful sense of humor.

"The mood in a room could never stay very heavy for long with Jim there. He always found something amusing and ironic about most any human situation that made it easier to deal with," he said.

Whitehead was born on March 15, 1936, in St. Louis to Dick Bruun Whitehead and Ruth Ann Tillotson. He grew up in Mississippi and used a football scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University, from which he graduated with a bachelor's in philosophy and a master's in English.

He later earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa.

Visitation with family will be held at Moore's Chapel at 206 W. Center Street in Fayetteville from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

A memorial service will be held at Giffels Auditorium in Old Main on the University of Arkansas campus at 2 p.m. Wednesday. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to either "Writers in the Schools" or the Creative Writing Program at the University of Arkansas, c/o Molly Giles, English Department, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.

October 2, 2003 in Obituaries, Photos | Permalink


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