In Memorium: Jackson Barry
Professor Emeritus Jackson Barry, passed away on April 19, at the age of 85, from complications of Alzheimer's disease.
Professor Jackson Barry joined the English Department as associate professor in Fall, 1970 as a specialist in drama, dramatic theory, and Shakespeare. In later years, his interests came to include narrative theory and semiotics. He received a BA from Yale University (1950), an MA from Columbia University (1951), and a PhD from Western Reserve University (1963, in Dramatic Arts). Before coming to Maryland, Professor Barry had held appointments at the University of Florida, Villanova University, and SUNY Stony Brook. He was the author of two books, Dramatic Structure: The Shaping of Experience (U California P, 1970) and Art, Culture, and the Semiotics of Meaning: Culture's Changing Signs of Life in Poetry, Drama, Painting and Sculpture (St. Martin's Press, 1999), along with some 25 articles on subjects that included Shakespeare, acting and directing, comic theory, modern dance, Robert Lowell's poetry, and cognitive science in relation to art.
Professor Barry was a great citizen in the department and beyond. He served as Director of Graduate Studies in the 1980s, and as chair or as a member of numerous departmental committees; he chaired the College PCCC committee for five years, and participated on various other College committees and boards; and he founded and served as the first president of the Howard County Commission on the Arts, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Museum of Arts.
Professor Barry taught a wide range of courses, and was particularly active as a teacher of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. He served on some 20 doctoral dissertation committees and a complement of MA committees. Those in the department who had the privilege of knowing Professor Barry remember him as spritely, fully engaged, good natured, and generous of his time and interest. He was a great colleague.
Barry retired in the spring of 2006, after 36 years in our department. His wife, Prudence, said to Kent Cartwright (Department Chair) simply, "Jackson loved being a professor in the University of Maryland English Department." The Department will remember him, too, with a full measure of affection, like that which he brought to his life with us.
There will be no funeral service. Those who wish are invited to make donations to their favorite charities in his name. Professor Barry was especially interested in Doctors Without Borders.
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