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Obituaries

David Scofield Wilson

May 26, 1931 — Dec. 7, 2019

David Scofield Wilson passed away peacefully at Enloe Medical Center in Chico on Dec. 7, 2019, at age 88. He was born in Minneapolis on May 26, 1931, to Grace Scofield Wilson and Harold Lewis Wilson. He graduated from Southwest High School and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in American studies at the University of Minnesota.

His first college teaching was in the English Department at SUNY, Cortland. Subsequently, in 1968 he accepted a teaching position at UC Davis, in English and American studies. Later as a professor fully in the American Studies Program, he developed and taught courses on the Sacramento Valley, nature and culture, and religion in America.

365体育官网He was keenly interested in the many connections between nature and culture and relished researching and writing about the cultural implications of such subjects as Sacramento Valley tomatoes (the infamous “square” tomato suitable for machine harvesting), rattlesnakes, flying spiders and the Sutter Buttes.

365体育官网For a number of years, he also helped lead hikes into the Buttes for the then Middle Mountain Foundation, and inspired students to study nature during numerous camping trips. He also pushed his students to connect with nature through contour drawing, for which he published a small how-to-draw pamphlet. He was an active and engaged colleague as the American Studies Program developed unique curricula in such areas as popular culture, folklore and folklife, foodways and ethnicity. He was proud of his book “In the Presence of Nature” (1978 ) and of his scholarly presentations and contributions of a number of published articles on American culture.

David’s commitment to peace and justice had strong roots in his father’s and mother’s values, values he stood for all his life and which led him to become a Quaker, also appreciating the Quakers’ silent worship and social action. He was an ardent defender of social justice and civil rights, spending many Saturdays at the Chico Peace Vigil at 3rd and Main. A lifelong Democrat, he strongly supported the Chico Peace and Justice Center and LGBTQ rights. 

With his first wife, Bonnie Stahler, he had two children, David Jr. (Jenny Wu) and Deirdre Glynn-Wilson (Allison Glynn). In 1987 he married Sarah Emily Newton and found great love and a sympathetic like-mindedness that lasted his whole life. Together, he and Emily enjoyed watercolor and acrylic painting and relished good food, dogs, birding, hiking and travel, both in the United States and Europe.

A man of great heart and generosity, a gentleman’s gentleman, a true friend, a teacher, poet, intellectual, artist, naturalist, peace activist, once an ice skater, rower and runner, 

David is survived by his beloved wife Sarah Emily; sisters Anne Orfald and Kay Hensgens; children David and Deirdre and their families; grandchildren Julia, Grace, Ian and Rachel; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

After some years of medical issues and difficult rehabilitation, he has now walked on, or perhaps run, beyond pain and disability. He is deeply loved and missed.

A celebration of his life will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. in Chico. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Jesus Center or Chico Peace and Justice Center. To send condolences to the family please visit .

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