Theodore Stroud Obituary

Theodore Albert Stroud
Theodore Albert Stroud
Theodore Albert Stroud

January 25, 1914 - July 14, 2005
Born in Marcella, AR
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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T.A. Stroud, known to his many friends as Ted, died July 14, 2005 at the Iowa Senior Jewish Life Center. A longtime Des Moines resident and a member of the Drake English faculty for thirty-seven years, Ted, along with his wife, Kay was active in many civic and cultural organizations. To these, as well as his other activities, he brought a thoughtful, kindly presence, a ready sense of humor, and a quiet but persistent dedication to principle.

As Drake professor from 1947 until his retirement in 1984, Ted influenced several generations of students and colleagues with the range of his knowledge (and the modesty with which he displayed it), his openness to new and unusual connections and perspectives, and the clarity and forcefulness with which he could examine complex issues and ideas. While it is impossible to think of him as a narrow specialist, he was trained principally as a medievalist at the University of Chicago and early on published seminal articles on Chaucer. His other major literary interests included Shakespeare, comedy, and the short story, and his later scholarly work featured an anthology devoted to comic theory and practice, as well as several publications on the short story. He continued to attend meetings and deliver papers on short-fiction theory many years after his retirement.

Most of us who knew Ted, however, remember his academic work as only part of a rich and varied life. He was an avid tennis player, from his teens until his final years, and a fixture at Waveland, Drake and other tennis facilities throughout the city. He was an artist who enjoyed sketching various scenes and subjects, and a charter member of the Des Moines Sketch Club. Ted loved the theatre and attended every performance that he could, not only in Des Moines but also in London on his many trips there. Until his death, he led discussions in the Great Books Program, which he had introduced to Des Moines in the 1950s. His intense concern for social and political justice led him to contribute in many ways to a variety of causes. Perhaps foremost of these was the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, which he served as treasurer for many years.

Theodore Albert Stroud was born on January 25, 1914 in Marcella, Arkansas. In 1932, he graduated from Arkansas College (now Lyon College), which later honored him as a distinguished alumnus. He received his M.A. from the University of Arkansas in 1937 before going to Chicago to pursue the Ph.D., which he completed in 1947. He and Katherine Reynolds met in Chicago and were married there in 1939. Ted's teaching career began in rural Arkansas schools immediately after college. Later he taught at the University of Arkansas, the University of Chicago, and the University of Florida before coming to Drake, where twice (1957-58 and 1972-73) he served as interim department chair.

Ted was preceded in death by his wife, Kay, by parents, George Albert Stroud and Mary Ellen Justus Stroud, and by a brother, J.B. Stroud. He is survived by a brother, Robert Shelby Stroud of Desha, Arkansas; niece, Mary Stroud Vandiver of Charlotte, North Carolina; and nephews, J.B. Stroud, Jr. of Thibodeaux, Louisiana, George Allen Stroud of Louisville, Kentucky, and Robert Desha Stroud of Batesville, Arkansas.

Ted Stroud was loved and admired by many people. Friends are invited to a gathering to remember him on Saturday, July 30, at 2 p.m. in the Reading Room of the Cowles Library on the Drake campus. Contributions in his name should be directed to the American Civil Liberties Union or to Drake University.





Cowles Library Reading Room-Drake University
25th & University Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50312
Saturday, July 30, 2005
2:00 PM


American Civil Liberties Union
446 Insurance Exchange Building
Des Moines, IA 50309