DR. WILLIAM R. HERSEY, Professor Emeritus University of Massachusetts Lowell.
William Hersey was the son of the late Raleigh E. Hersey and Isabella (Hickey) Hersey. He is survived by his loving wife of 19 years, Susan L. Hersey.
Dr. Hersey, beloved professor of English at University of Massachusetts Lowell, died on Sunday, September 4, 2016, after courageously fighting Parkinson’s Disease and other health related issues for many years. He was surrounded by family.
William was an extraordinary teacher and a passionate advocate for his students, but more than that, he was their friend and mentor. He is remembered for his engaging manner and ability to bring to life classic works of literature and impart their enduring relevance with warmth and wit. Throughout his 46 year teaching career, Dr. Hersey pioneered new curricula and led the English Department through numerous changes.
Bill was born in Lawrence on June 13, 1932 and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1951. He served as Hospital Corpsman Second Class, Physician’s Assistant in the United States Navy aboard the USS Sanborn APA-193 from 1951 to 1956. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Lowell State College and his Master’s degree in English from Boston College. He earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of New Hampshire.
He began teaching at Haverhill High School and Northern Essex Community College, and in 1968 he started at University of Massachusetts Lowell (then the Lowell Technological Institute) where he spent most of his career. He served as Chairman of the English Department for many years and continued to teach past retirement until the age of 75.
Bill’s literary interests were expansive, ranging from metaphysical poetry to crime fiction, but he was especially fond of Shakespeare. He also enjoyed music, playing trombone with a local 17 piece big band for many years; running, even completing a marathon when he was 50; sports, particularly the Red Sox; and the arts. Above all, he loved spending time with his family.
In addition to his caring wife Susan, William is survived by his children, Kathy Hersey Logan and her husband Paul of Hudson, NH; Thomas Hersey; Lynne Hersey Ware and her husband Chris; and Justine Hersey May and her husband Alex of Chelmsford, MA; his 6 grandchildren, Anthony Hersey and his wife Jessica; Daniel and Brian Hersey; Sidney May; Charlotte and Sadie Ware; and his 2 great granddaughters, Brynn and Tracy; his former wife, Judith Hersey of Chelmsford, and her sister, Sheila McCarthy; nieces and nephews Pamela and Ed Saindon, Patricia Asselin, Tracy Green, Todd McCarthy, Philip Hersey and their families. He also leaves cousins and many friends.
William is also survived by wife Susan’s children, David B. Weisberg and his wife Jessica of NH; Stephanie Weisberg Sgroi and her husband Jeffery of North Carolina; and grandchildren Alexis, Jaxon, Nicole and Avery and great grandchild, Sylas. He is also survived by a brother-in-law, Donald A. Deneault and his wife Linda of Tyngsboro, MA.
In addition to his parents, William is predeceased by his sister Theresa Angelone and brother-in- law Angelo Angelone.
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7pm on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at Dolan Funeral Home, 106 Middlesex Street, North Chelmsford, MA.
Family, friends, and colleagues are invited to a Celebration of Life at St. Rita’s Church, Lowell, MA on Friday, September 9th at 11:00 am.
Following the mass, family and close friends are invited to attend prayers and burial at St. Joseph Cemetery, Chelmsford, MA.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to:
UML Symphonic Band Camp
c/o Deb Huber, Executive Director
35 Wilder Street, Durgin Hall
Lowell MA 01854-3030