Linda Wyman

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Dr. Linda Lee Wyman, age 74 years, of Jefferson City, Mo., died Monday, August 29, 2011, at St. Joseph's Bluffs. Linda was born April 1, 1937, in Rockford, Ill., to Thomas Frederick and Catherine Grandstaff Wyman, who preceded her in death. She grew up in the Battle House, a hotel in Mobile, Ala., owned by her parents. The family later moved to West Point, Miss., where she graduated Valedictorian of her 1954 class at West Point High School. She attended Christian College in Columbia, Mo. She earned an A.B. degree from Southern Methodist University, the M.A. from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Ph.D. from George Peabody College for Teachers. She also studied at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Summer School in Stratford, England. Following employment at Christian College, Western Kentucky University, George Peabody College, and Motlow State Community College, she came to Lincoln University in 1975 to teach English and to chair the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Philosophy. During her tenure as chair, she instituted a program of honors and awards for majors that still exists today. She also chartered the Omega Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honor Society, and she served as its sponsor until her retirement. She was active in numerous professional organizations, serving as president and editor for the Missouri Association of Teachers of English; assistant editor for the National Council of Teachers of English; and treasurer, vice-president and editor for the T. S. Eliot Society. She published articles and her original poetry in anthologies and journals, including Modern Drama, English Journal, and The Oxford American. She presented papers to the T. S. Eliot Society, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the Missouri Philological Association, among a number of scholarly organizations. In 1993, she gave an invited lecture on T. S. Eliot at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Summer School in Stratford-on-Avon, England, and she has recently served as assistant editor of Rogues and Vagabonds, a theatre website based in London. Well known for her excellence as a teacher of English teachers, she was in great demand as a workshop presenter and consultant for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri Association of Teachers of English, and other education organizations. In 1990, she was honored as the Missouri Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. She received the Columbia College Distinguished Alumna Award in 1991. But the award that truly touched her heart was when she was honored in 2004 as the outstanding faculty sponsor in the United States by Sigma Tau Delta. A group of students nominated her for this prestigious award and then traveled with her to Daytona, Fla., to be on hand when it was presented. Lincoln University faculty and staff know her for her years of dedication to the institution and her unflagging devotion to high standards and quality academic programs. Lincoln students know her from the classroom where, since 1975, she taught, exhorted, and cheered them on to become better writers and capable readers of literature. Her many years in the Midwest did not eradicate the delightful Southern cadences with which she shared poetry with countless students. In May 2011, upon her retirement from Lincoln University, Dr. Wyman was granted the rank of professor emerita. Outside of the classroom, some of the things she most enjoyed were baseball, the theater, and travel. During her lifetime, she made over 45 trips to England. She is survived by her sister, Eloise Wyman Portera; her brother-in-law, Paul Portera; one nephew, Stark Hayden and his wife Kelly; and three nieces, Paige Hayden Logan and her husband Skip, Molly Portera, and Lee Karen Portera; three great-nephews and one great-niece. She also leaves behind a vast network of loyal friends, colleagues, and students. Visitation will be at Freeman Mortuary from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Thursday, September 1, 2011. A celebration of life will be conducted at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, September 1, 2011, in the Freeman Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that books be donated to any library in Linda's honor.

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Freeman Mortuary
  • 915 Madison Street Jefferson City, Mo 65101
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deboldt 2 years, 11 months ago

I regret to say that I only had one class with Linda Wyman. The one class I had with her in contemporary poetry was a transformative one. She was one of the most remarkable teachers I have ever experienced. Ms. Wyman was the embodiment of Southern modesty—the way she delicately turned from praise. She had a way of indirectly deferring a compliment that was quite disarming. She had a deep, quiet passion for the poets and the poetry she was leading us to and through. Her patience was boundless with those of us slow to grasp the full import and meaning in a work—unless she felt some hint of inattention or a lack of seriousness on the part of a student. Her knowledge of and appreciation for the proper use of the English language was all consuming. I began her class thinking that I had a pretty fair understanding of grammar and syntax. An hour or two in one of Linda’s special tutorial classes she set up on her own time to help those of us brave and honest enough to ask for help was humbling. I have heard much loose talk in academic circles about the Socratic Method as a teaching tool. I have never seen it practiced with its full power and meaning until I saw the way Linda Wyman did it. One day she took nearly ten minutes working through a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem with a student. He did all the work (and difficult work it was) guided only by Linda’s questions—delicate, incisive, probing questions. I’ve read a lot of Plato. She outdid Plato. After that experience the student seemed markedly changed. His appreciation and understanding of poetry had been profoundly altered and expanded, as was mine.


2warped757 2 years, 11 months ago

Linda was an amazing woman - I only knew her for a short time, through some mutual friends in Osage County. We spent many Saturday mornings visiting at the Blacksmith Shop Cafe. I was so saddened to hear of her passing. She'll be missed by anyone whose life she has touched.


cogito 2 years, 11 months ago

I can't even find the words. I thought we had another few decades with this woman. She was supposed to be perennial. The whole world just shifted and became less bright. For those of you that never had the opportunity to learn with her, I can say that you missed an amazing opportunity. And if you never had the chance to share a meal with her, well, I guess you won't miss it, because you'll never have known, but those of us that include her in our daily thoughts will miss her and her wit and her delicate southern lilt for as long as this life keeps us.


lmw309 2 years, 11 months ago

I can't begin to express here how saddened I am by Linda's death. She touched my life and helped me become a better person. I am forever grateful for her guidance, her wit, and her friendship. She was the one and only "Coach".


John 2 years, 11 months ago

I discovered and learned so much through this woman


drharv 2 years, 11 months ago

My wonderful cousin Linda Wyman has died. I loved her dearly and I shall miss her very much. She was a jewel and a treasure to all those who had the privilege of knowing her. She causally forgot more than I ever knew about the English language and I was a speech pathologist.

Dr. Harvey Grandstaff


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