Grand Valley mourns the loss of Anthony (Tony) Parise
Date: January 7, 2013
Professor Tony Parise, long-time member of the English Department, died Christmas weekend.
Tony was a treasured colleague whose wide-ranging intellectual interests were always a delight to discover, as well as being informative. In his retirement Tony became a luthier, building viols as part of his own intense study of the viola da gamba, an instrument he played in various workshop around the country. Completely hand made with tools also hand made, Tony’s instruments are treasured by their owners. In addition, Tony was an accomplished recorder player, playing regularly with a group of early music devotees in Grand Rapids.
And, of course, Tony never stopped writing, whether on literature in general, and poetry in particular, or his long memoirs of family, friends and growing up on Kenosha, Wisconsin. For those who have read them, they are as much a pleasure as an education to read.
His daughter, Anna, plans a memorial at a later date, one that will not take the usual form of a gathering, a form of memorial Tony would himself not attend were he still with us. Rather, the memorial will take some written form.
Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he served in the U.S. Army, and received his BA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He took his MA at Northwestern University, and his PhD at Wisconsin. Prior to coming to Grand Valley, he taught in Wisconsin and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
His area of specialization was modern poetry, having written his dissertation on Robert Graves, and he particularly admired the work of Wallace Stevens. He was also deeply committed to Shakespeare, especially the tragedies.
An avid writer, he promoted collegial dialogue, preferring interdisciplinary campus exchange over academic publishing. To foster this dialogue, he edited the Grand Valley Review for several years. He read widely in ecology, politics, and economic theory.
On the practical side, he was an amateur farmer and bee-keeper, and a self-taught musician, playing the viol with local groups and at early-music workshops around the country. In retirement, he built instruments which he sold to professional viol players.
Tony was preceded in death by his first wife Jana. He is survived by a daughter and a son, and his wife Sara Culver.
See photos of Tony.