The campus community mourns the passing of Dennis Baumwoll, who died on Thursday, January 14. Dennis retired in 1998 as Professor Emeritus of English after 32 years of service to Bucknell.
Dennis is remembered by his colleagues as a great talker—and a very good listener. As shared by a colleague, “he was a ‘character’ who advanced discourse (and, indeed, developed friendships) through storytelling … he did not suffer fools gladly, nor did he hide his likes and dislikes, though one had to learn how to read his twinkle and his understated, indirect irony.” He had a strong and active commitment to social justice and is remembered by generations of students and colleagues.
Included below is the complete text of the obituary, as provided by the family.
You are encouraged to visit our In Memoriam Site at bucknell.edu/InMemoriam and share personal notes of sympathy and remembrance with others.
On behalf of our entire University community, I extend our deepest sympathies to Dennis’ family, as well as to all who knew him at Bucknell.
John C. Bravman
Dennis Baumwoll, of Lewisburg, passed away on Thursday, January 14, 2021. He was 88 years old. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, he attended The University of Oklahoma (OU) where he received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in English. He taught English at OU and Boston University prior to joining the faculty at Bucknell University (BU) in 1965; retiring as a full professor and Chairman of BU’s English Department in 1998.
At BU, he taught History of the English Language while acting in and directing several productions with the Cap & Dagger theatre club. The BU Wrestling Team selected him as the Faculty Wrestling Coach. He also coauthored a book about and taught English as a Second Language at Bloomsburg University. After retiring, Dennis taught literature and language courses at Bucknell’s Institute for Lifelong Learning.
Dennis was an avid civil rights activist. He traveled to witness several speeches given by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and chaperoned students who wanted to attend. This activism continued with his involvement with the Lewisburg Prison Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Democratic party.
In support of the local community, he volunteered during Hurricane Agnes response efforts, and served on the Lewisburg Zoning Hearing Board. For many years he read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” at Lewisburg’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony. As a Master Gardener through the Pennsylvania State University Extension Program he volunteered, lectured, and wrote for the Gardner’s Column of the local newspaper.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Roslyn Korenbaum; brother, Mortimer Baumwoll; and son Douglas Baumwoll.
Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Dorothy (Logan) Baumwoll; son, Dan Baumwoll and wife, Kerstin (Ziegler); daughter Diana Coho; daughter Dina Goeckel and husband, Gerry. Also surviving are grandchildren Marshall Baumwoll, Stanley Goeckel, and Fiona Goeckel. A proud member of the Mary Angel Family Circle, he cherished the company of cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family from fourteen states.
A memorial honoring Dennis will be held at a later date.