William Small ’61

William Small ’61 died on March 9, 2024, in Auburn, Alabama.

(The following was provided by Bangor Daily News on March 15, 2024:)

William Small ’61

Auburn, Ala. — William “Bill” Small, 84, who will be remembered for his sense of humor, passed away peacefully early morning Saturday, March 9, 2024, at his home in Auburn, Ala., in the arms of his wife.

Born on April 26, 1939, in Rockland, Bill was the oldest child of Samuel and Ruth Dondis Small. He is survived by his wife, Louise Andrews Small; his daughter, Catherine Small, her husband, Craig Rueter, their children Samuel and Dylan Rueter; and his sister, Barbara Fishman. Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Edward Small.

Bill’s undergraduate studies were at Bowdoin College. After teaching in Brunswick for a year, he spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow teaching in Luebeck, Germany, where he had the opportunity to perfect his German language ability and become more familiar with contemporary German life. He then went on to study at the Middlebury intensive language program where he earned his master’s. After teaching a couple of years at the University of Maine, he went to the University of Connecticut and earned his doctorate in German literature where he had been awarded a National Defense Education Act Grant which covered all university expenses.

He was fortunate that there was an opening at the UM Language Department in his home state of Maine where he so enjoyed teaching German language, literature and advising students. He became the chairman of the Foreign Language Department for eight years and for a time worked in the Dean’s office.

Bill was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant which allowed him to work with a small group of professors from around the country to delve into the topic of German Jewish literature. He was also the recipient of a Fulbright Grant to Germany to look into the Jewish communities of West Germany.

Bill designed many interesting courses including a very popular total immersion course in German for “May Term.” He directed a summer program in Graz Austria where he taught courses, organized trips and made contacts so UM students could interact with Austrian students. He took over the Directorship of the Salzburg program for many years and was also the resident director in Salzburg for two years. He helped start and run a summer program for high school German teachers in Bar Harbor where the teachers were able to refresh their German and the knowledge of Germany of the day, as well as be reenergized. He was well respected by students, faculty, and administrators alike. For about twenty of his last years, he was asked to be the Grand Marshal for the university commencement.

Bill wrote many articles. His book, Rilke -Kommentar Zu Den Aufzeichnungen Des Malte Laurie’s Brugge, not only met with praise when it came out, but the National Endowment for the Humanities in cooperation with Chapel Hill recently asked him for permission to reprint it.

Determined to support education about truth and diversity, Bill drove two hours one way to be involved with monthly meetings at the board of the Human Rights Commission of Maine for over three years. He was also very involved in Congregation Beth Israel by being on its Board for numerous years and its president for seven years.

In 2020 Bill and his wife moved to Auburn, Ala., to be near the delights of his life — his daughter, Catherine, and her two children, Samuel and Dylan.

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