Louis 'Jim" De Catur, illustrious professor

June 25, 2014
Jim De Catur

Louis Aubrey De Catur, known throughout his entire life as Jim, passed away suddenly of natural causes Monday, June 9, 2014, in Gdansk, Poland after enjoying a wonderful trip to Scandinavia.

Born April 27, 1931, to the late Ethel Mossburg De Catur and John De Catur, and raised in Washington, D.C., as the eldest of three children, he graduated through the ROTC program with a degree in English literature from the University of Maryland, returning later for his M.A. and Ph.D. While writing his thesis, he taught English at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1968-70.

He taught Shakespeare and world literature for 30 years, from 1970-2000 at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., and supported the arts by acting in college theatre and singing in the college choir.  Jim developed a love of Chinese and Japanese literature, and studied Chinese language, as well as teaching as an exchange professor at Tohoku Gakuin University in Sendai, Japan, in 1989 and 1994.  He also spent summers studying at Columbia, Stanford, and Oxford, England.

In retirement Jim studied German, poetry, opera and the recorder, and taught Shakespeare at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  He sang in church choirs and participated on parish vestries; was three points shy of a grand master title in Bridge; and always had a group of friends with whom he played Bridge and poker.  Jim developed a hobby of collecting early American furniture, culminating in the business venture Louis of Lewes at Practically Yours Antiques.

Jim served two years in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict, in Minnesota and Arizona.  In the 1960s he taught English for the Department of Defense through the University of Maryland program in Libya, France and Germany, and met his future wife, Carol Davis, at the Munich Oktoberfest, the beginning of nearly 50 years together.  He returned to Germany with his family several times over the course of his life and enjoyed traveling extensively in Eurpoe.

He is survived by friends, loved ones and family - his wife Carol Davis De Catur; a son, Michael De Catur of Mill Valley, Calif; a daughter, Caroline De Catur Putnam and son-in-law Christopher Putnam of Berkeley, Calif.; a sister, Diane De Catur Nelson of Haymarket, Va.; a niece, Judy Nelson Eldawy and daughter Camile Eldawy of Littleton, N.C.; a nephew, Daniel Nelson; and dachshund Elsa. A brother, Don De Catur, preceded him in death.

A memorial service will be held Friday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m., at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Second and Market streets, Lewes. A graveside service in Shelter Island, N.Y., will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggets memorial donations to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Delaware, Frederick D. Thomas Building, Lewes DE 19958.

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