John C. Wellington


Died November 7, 1985

College: Davenport

John Wellington, a superb writer, certainly had the soul of a poet, perhaps a result of a summer job tending gravesites in a Vermont cemetery and ruminating, like the British poet Thomas Gray, on the lives and fates of those whose grassy rectangular lawns he mowed. That’s one fanciful explanation of his literary inclinations that John easily related with a perfectly straight face. He actually did have a summer job tending graves in the Bennington cemetery, but he left it up to our imaginations to determine whether he communed with spirits there. Knowing John’s extraordinarily sensitive nature, it’s entirely possible that he knew more than we did about such matters. John had a puckish sense of humor, but he also displayed a special talent for expressing a point sharply and concisely, especially when offering devastatingly incisive feedback.

In the last year of his life, John waged a brave, fierce and ultimately losing battle with brain cancer and died in November of 1985, representing a significant loss of literary talent, personal warmth and an especially creative quality of mind and personality that would have been expressed in many forms over the past quarter of a century.

—by Richard Lacey