Professor emeritus of English Wilfred Stone dies of congestive heart failure

July 24, 2015, 10:41 a.m.
Wilfred Stone. (Courtesy of Stanford News Service.)
Wilfred Stone. (Courtesy of Stanford News Service.)

Wilfred “Will” Healey Stone, professor emeritus of English, died at Stanford on June 11, 2015, due to congestive heart failure. He was 97 years old.

Born on August 18, 1917, in Springfield, Mass., Stone earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota and later received his Ph.D. from Harvard.

After joining Stanford faculty in 1950, Stone served in the Department of English for over 36 years. Dedicated to improving undergraduate literacy and education, Stone reformed Freshman English at Stanford from 1955 to 1956, encouraging students to pursue writing and literature studies. He would later win the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel award for his contributions to Freshman English and to Stanford’s Department of English.

As a former Faculty Master (now “Resident Fellow”) of Stern Hall’s Muir and Burbank houses, Stone introduced a student-faculty interaction and education program in residence halls, which inspired the residential life programs that exist today. Stone was also the re-founder and faculty advisor of the student literary magazine “Sequoia” and a resident fellow at the Stanford in Italy campus in Florence from 1966 to 1967.

A Fulbright Fellow and two-time Guggenheim Fellow, Stone published many of his essays in campus publications and in literary journals and wrote several books on 19th and 20th century British literature. He received multiple awards throughout his career, including the 1966 Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal and the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award in literary criticism and the Monroe K. Spears Prize for best essay published in “The Sewanee Review” in 2007.

Stone is survived by his wife and two children, two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto. Donations may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Contact James Noh at nohmailbox ‘at’

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