Terence Dewsnap

Obituary of Terence F. Dewsnap

Terence Francis "Terry" Dewsnap, a long-time professor of English at Bard College, died from cancer at his summer home in Cotuit, Mass., on September 24, 2020, his 87th birthday. A long-time resident of Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., he was born in 1933 in Revere, Mass., to Frank and Anna Clare Dewsnap. He attended Immaculate Conception School in Revere; received his A.B. in math and M.A. in English literature from Boston College, where he edited the student literary magazine and sang with the Glee Club; and was awarded his Ph.D. in modern British literature by the University of Wisconsin.


While in class at Boston College, through alphabetical seating, he met Catherine Margaret Desmond. They married on December 28, 1957, at St. Luke's Church in Belmont, Mass. Together they raised five children — Terence F. "Ted" Dewsnap Jr. (Anne) of Hudson, N.Y.; Ellen Dewsnap of Belmont, Mass.; Ann Cwiklinski (Ray) of Glen Rock, Pa.; the late Desmond Paul Dewsnap; and Molly Meinhardt (Jack) of Washington, D.C. — and had seven grandchildren: TJ, Raymond, Thaddeus, Juliana, Joseph, Maggie, and Freddy. He is also survived by his sister Marilyn Buckley and brother Paul Dewsnap; his brother Donald died in childhood.


Terry's teaching career began at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. In 1963, he started teaching at Bard College, where he remained for 53 years, chairing the Division of Languages and Literature, directing the Irish and Celtic Studies Program, helping found the Victorian Studies Program, serving as faculty representative to the American Association of University Professors, and teaching countless students to love Victorian detective stories and novels — and a few to love Finnegan's Wake. Located on the Bard College grounds, the Dewsnap home was a true extension of that campus, with colleagues, faculty poker players, and students regularly joining Terry and Cay around the dining room table.


His essays and reviews — on subjects and authors including Christopher Isherwood, Richard Murphy, Flann O'Brien, the Irish Big House, and Watergate autobiographies — have appeared in several journals. While a graduate student, he wrote booklets on W.H. Auden, William Golding, and Thomas Wolfe for the Monarch Notes series. In 2008, he published Island of Daemons: The Lough Derg Pilgrimage and the Poets Patrick Kavanaugh, Denis Devlin, and Seamus Heaney. He recently finished a manuscript on James Joyce's Catholicism.


A private funeral will be held at St. Christopher's Church in Red Hook, New York, with interment at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Barrytown.


The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, donations in Terry's memory should go to scholarships for students with financial need in the Bard Education Opportunities Program at Bard College (c/o Debra Pemstein, Office of Development and Alumni/ae Affairs, Bard College, P.O. Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504; online: www.annandaleonline.org/giving; phone: 845-758-7405).


Arrangements are under the direction of Burnett & White Funeral Homes 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook, NY.


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