Dr. Cecile Williamson Cary, 80, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, at the Miami Valley Hospital. She was born in 1938 in Washington, D.C., to Beatrice G. (Miller) and Cecil E. Williamson. She grew up in Virginia, New York, Iowa, and Minnesota.
After receiving her B.A. in 1959 from Macalester College in Minnesota, she spent a Fulbright year in Besançon, France, publishing some early poems under her maiden name in the Macalester literary magazine Chanter and in a pamphlet for Fulbright students. She continued her studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned her doctorate in English Literature, and then moved to Detroit to teach for three years at Wayne State University, where she met her husband Norman. They married in 1966 and both found jobs as professors in Dayton, where they worked for over 30 years in the English department at Wright State University.
She taught courses and wrote articles on medieval and Elizabethan literature, and hosted two Ohio Shakespeare Conferences, co-editing the book of collected conference essays Shakespeare and the Arts. Since retiring in 1999, she has been involved in many volunteer activities: teaching in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Dayton, evaluating plays as a judge for FutureFest, delivering flowers to patients at Good Samaritan Hospital, knitting items for the Dayton International Peace Museum gift shop, and working in the food pantry at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.
She enjoyed Dayton's cultural offerings: the Dayton Philharmonic and Dayton Opera, as well as theater from Dayton Theatre Guild, The Loft, and FutureFest. Her remaining time was devoted to literature, especially writing poetry. She was a founding member of Dayton Bibliophiles book club; self-published a book of children's rhymes in collaboration with the Peace Museum, Creatures for Peace (2013), with paintings by Mary Rollins; won third place in the 2015 Dayton Metro Library Poetry Contest for her poem Wild Horses at Mt. Rogers; and published in local poetry journals, including Mock Turtle Zine, Poems from the Far Hills, and The Mad River Review.
She is survived by her three sons, Theodore (Ted) of Philadelphia, and Stephen and Matthew, both of Dayton. Rite of Christian Burial will be held 2 p.m., Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Christ Episcopal Church, 20 W. First Street, with The Rev. Joanna Leiserson officiating. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Cecile's memory to Christ Episcopal Church or to the Wright State University English Department Founders' Fund Cecile Cary Scholarship. Arrangements entrusted to Marker & Heller Funeral Home, North Main Street Chapel.