Welcome to the memorial page for

Joseph Cary

January 1, 1927 ~ January 24, 2017 (age 90)

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Memorial Service
April 8, 2017

2:00 PM
Old Trinity Church
Church Street - just south of the intersection with Brown Road
Brooklyn, CT 06234

Private Interment

Joseph Cary, 90, of Mansfield Center, CT died on January 24, 2017. The son of Joseph Brackenridge Cary and Margaret Ransom Cary, he was a New Year’s baby, said to be the first born in the United States in 1927.

Raised and schooled in Buffalo, he attended Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts before volunteering in 1944 for naval service (radarman third class on an LST “somewhere in the Pacific”). In 1946 he began two years at Yale University, took an important year off, and finished his undergraduate studies at Swarthmore College in 1951.

After a year teaching seventh grade in the Virgin Islands, he moved to Greenwich Village to begin study for an M.A. in English at New York University, supporting himself by working nightshifts as a hospital orderly and tutoring disturbed children. In 1953 he discovered his future wife, Edith Howes, on the Sheridan Square platform of the uptown IRT subway. They lived and taught in the Village, London and Rome before settling in Brooklyn Heights. Here she started her first Montessori School while he taught as a graduate assistant at NYU and in 1961 completed work for his Ph.D. in comparative literature, the first ever awarded by that university. They moved to Mansfield Center in 1961, she as director of the Mount Hope Montessori School in their home on Mount Hope Road, he as an assistant professor of English Literature at the University of Connecticut. He retired, Professor Emeritus, in 1990.

Cary designed the two-term World Literature course, for many years an English department mainstay.  He helped initiate the Wallace Stevens Poetry competition and was responsible for prize-giving and distinguished poet lecturers during its first ten years. His teaching specialty was modern poetry. He was a busy advisor and thesis director in the graduate program and directed the University study program in Florence in 1981-82.

Cary published widely on literary topics, but his main area of concentration was twentieth century Italy. In 1969 the New York University Press published his “ground-breaking” Three Modern Italian Poets: Saba Ungaretti Montale, later brought out in a revised and augmented second edition by University of Chicago Press. In 1993 Chicago produced its handsome edition of A Ghost in Trieste, his personal account of a pilgrimage to that strange city and his love of its writers.

He and his wife travelled widely in the final decades of the great ocean liners, and spent semesters in London and Rome—where his daughter was born—and Florence, Venice, and Paris. He is predeceased by two sisters, Dino Read and Nancy Gilbert, and a son-in-law, Martín Baiget. He is survived by his wife Edith and two children, daughter Alicé Andreina Montera and her husband Robert Montera, and son Nathaniel Brackenridge Cary and his wife Vanlaya Vaivit-Cary, three grandchildren: My Deasakorn-Khamkar and her husband Naphat Khamkar, Adam Joseph Montera, and Rose Katherine Montera and one great-grandchild Benjamin Khamkar.

In honor of Joe’s memory please consider donating to the Covenant Soup Kitchen where he volunteered for many years. (220 Valley Street, Willimantic, CT  06226, 860-423-1643)

A Memorial Service to celebrate Joseph's life will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 2:00 in the afternoon. The service will be held at Old Trinity Church located on Church Street - just south of the intersection with Brown Road- in Brooklyn, CT 06234. Burial will be private. To sign the online memorial guestbook, please visit www.potterfuneralhome.com

Charitable donations may be made to:

Covenant Soup Kitchen
220 Valley Street, Willimantic CT 06226
Tel: 1-860-423-1643
Email: kclark@covenantsoupkitchen.org
Web: http://www.covenantsoupkitchen.org/donate.htm

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