W. Richard (Dick) Cantwell

8 September 2014
Dick Cantwell
Dick Cantwell

W. Richard (Dick) Cantwell died on Sunday, Sept 7, at the age of 82. Dick came to Carleton as an Instructor in German in 1965 and retired as Professor of German in 1993. In the 1970’s, he initiated the department’s overseas seminar in Germany. He was also the Director of Off-Campus Programs from 1979–1983.

Dick was a generous and supportive colleague with a wry sense of humor. He brought many interests to his teaching, including his extensive knowledge of German history, German literature, and his expertise in opera and the German Lied. He was able to bring German culture alive for students, and his courses on Romanticism and 19th-century German literature were very popular. He had a number of roles in the theater productions of the Northfield Arts Guild, and he occasionally helped coach student actors of German plays at Carleton. After his retirement, he taught several courses through the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium.

A memorial service for Dick Cantwell will be held on Saturday, Nov. 8th, at 2pm, at Great Hall.

Please keep Dick’s wife, Nancy, their three sons, Dick, Peter, and Jim, and all of their family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

In sorrow and faith,
Carolyn Fure-Slocum
College Chaplain

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  • 2014-09-16 10:20:02
    Karl Simer

    Professor Cantwell war nicht nur eine wundervolle Personlichkeit, Er war immer freundlich, aufmerksam, und hilfsbereit bei jeder Gelegenheit, ohne Gegenleistung zu erwarten.  Professor Cantwell wird mir immer in Errerung bleiben. 

  • 2014-09-17 10:10:22
    David Narum

    I remember him from the long ago days of the Arts Guild, when I was Tiny Tim and he was Scrooge. Great guy! Sorry to hear of his passing.

  • 2014-09-18 22:21:41
    Sally Robertson '79

    A sad day indeed! I'll second what you wrote about bringing German culture alive. I have a vivid memory of Prof. Cantwell sitting cross-legged on his desk, wide-eyed, eyebrows arched, and whispering "Klopstock!" It was a quote from some character (Goethe's Young Werther perhaps?) who was expressing his reverence for the poet Friedrich Klopstock. It was supposed to illustrate the earnest intensity of the Sturm und Drang writers, but it also demonstrated Cantwell's own intense enthusiasm for his subject. It was contagious. I walked across town once to see him equally enthusiastic as King Pellinore in "Camelot." Godspeed!

  • 2014-09-22 13:25:40
    Diane Christianson '77

    I took Mr. Cantwell's class on German Romanticism.  This was a breakthrough class for me, as he taught us to read, not with the word by word precision of a grammar class, but with an eye for the thoughts conveyed.  Finally, I really was able to read German!  It was exhilarating!  I'm grateful for his tremendous ability to teach.

  • 2014-09-24 14:06:13
    Melanie Bales '76

    Professor Cantwell inspired me, a transfer student unsure of my major, to choose German. What a delight to sit in his classes on Romanticism--Ludwig Tieck, blue roses, and forests full of birdsong! Soon after Carleton, I danced in a theater in Germany and ended up teaching dance in a University for the last 26 years. As a professor, he was a great model of dignity, enthusiasm and support. Wish I had stayed better in touch, but I send my best wishes to the family.