Our longtime Monday Evening Club member, Richard Whitlock Nunley, born July 31, 1931, in Scituate, Massachusetts, died from a brain hemorrhage on March 3 in Portland, Oregon.
Dick was a teacher, poet, cook, gardener, and lover of the natural world. Childhood mentors fostered a love of books and learning, which led him to Dartmouth College and Kings College, Cambridge in England.
There he met Susan Stroud, whom he married on December 19, 1965. They spent the majority of their lives together in New Lebanon, New York, where Dick was a teacher at Darrow School. They raised two daughters, Diana and Felicity, at their "Garden Hill" home, surrounded by flower and vegetable gardens with a spectacular view across Lebanon Valley.
In 1970 Dick became a professor of English at Berkshire Community College in nearby Pittsfield, Massachusetts. An exacting teacher with high expectations for all, many former students credit him with changing the course of their lives.
For 25 years beginning in 1980 Dick wrote a weekly "Our Berkshires" column for The Berkshire Eagle. His columns challenged readers to connect the dots between vignettes of Berkshire life and his favorite poets and thinkers, and revealed the thoughtful, caring and generous man that he was.
For the last 12 years of his life, Dick and Sue lived near Felicity in Portland, Oregon, where he turned his eye on the lush environment of the Pacific Northwest and enjoyed the city's art and musical offerings. He delighted in his grandchildren, Helen and Norris Meigs of Portland and Hanna and Elena Johnson of Minneapolis.
"How simple happiness is, really," concludes one of Dick's poems. That lesson may be Dick's greatest legacy to all who remember him whether it's to be found in a delicate spring bloom, a morning walk, or a fresh-baked loaf of bread. A brief memorial service will be held at Willamette View in Portland on Monday, March 7, with a fuller celebration of his life planned for this summer in New Lebanon.
We also enjoyed this remembrance of Dick by Judy Waters in The Berkshire Eagle of Friday, March 11, 2016.