Roy Elliott Gridley

Roy Elliott Gridley passed away March 2, 2015. He was born March 24, 1935, the son of Lawrence Ellis Gridley and Gladys Elliott Gridley of Oakley. He attended schools in Oakley, Lenora and Oberlin, and the University of Kansas, where he married Marilyn Leidig in 1956. They had two fine sons, Karl and Mark.

At age fifteen, he had moved on his own to Oberlin to finish high school. There he worked a variety of jobs: construction, livestock auction barns, restaurants, and in summers the wheat harvest from Texas to Montana. He never got over having been both quarterback and middle linebacker for an undefeated Oberlin team.

At the University, Roy became a Summerfield Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa. During 1957–58, he was a Fulbright Scholar to Reading (England) University; in 1959 he took an M.A. at Brown University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.

He joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve to train as an aircraft mechanic. Then he was briefly a police reporter for the Kansas City Star before going on to the University of Illinois. Upon receiving his Ph.D., in 1964, he joined the University of Kansas English Department, becoming Emeritus Professor in 1997.

He wrote two books about Robert Browning and articles on British literature and on Great Plains culture. He published poems in a variety of places. He was a long-time Board Member of the Browning Institute of New York. He received the Amoco Outstanding Teacher award in 1968. For many years Roy brought poets to the campus for readings and meetings with local poets and students. He and Marilyn fed and housed scores of poets, many of whom became life-long friends.

Beginning in 1979, he often spent summers in China assisting Marilyn in her research there. In 1987-88 he was a Fulbright Professor at Beijing University.

Roy is survived by his wife, Marilyn, his sons Karl Leidig Gridley and Mark Elliott Gridley, Daughter-in-law Lynn Murphy, granddaughters June and Ginger, brother Larry Gridley and his wife Connie Gridley, and sister Irmajean Barta and her husband Donald.

He would like any memorial donations to be made to Haskell Foundation, 155 Indian Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66046 and may also be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

9 Condolences

  1. Jim McCrary & Sue Ashline on March 3, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Marylyn, Karl and Mark. Be well. Take care. Words fail.

  2. Troy L Bosserman on March 3, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Irmajean and Family of Roy Gridley
    So Sorry to hear of your loss.
    No words can express our Sorrow that you are going
    through at this time. Know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.
    The Bossermans
    Troy and Laura
    Jonathan and Nastasja Carlson

  3. Dolores Palmer on March 3, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Dear Marilyn and family,

    Love and condolences from your old friend and neighbor. We enjoy our home in North Kansas City, although we miss our Lawrence friends. Peace. Bob and Dolores.

  4. darlene shull on March 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Irmajean & Don, and the family of Ron, my sincere sympathy and prayers.

  5. Dan Rockhill on March 4, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Dear Marilyn, Karl and family,
    I have many wonderful memories of Roy as we worked on his “yurt” and still have the cement finisher’s trowel he brought me back from your China trip that summer. He brought freshness to the way we think about everything and I was delighted to have had a chance to know him. My condolences go out to you all.
    Dan Rockhill

  6. Mark Rasmussen on March 4, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    One of my favorite visions of Mr. Gridley is a picture of him in the driveway looking at the hail,…..I won’t try to guess what he was thinking but it’s a pleasant memory, he was always a kind man to me….Sincerest condolences……Mark

  7. Stephen Goddard on March 5, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Dear Marilyn and Karl,

    I’m greatly saddened by your loss, but knowing you both I look forward to future contact and ongoing positive conversations. Fondest thoughts,


  8. Barbara McCrary on March 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Dear Irmajean, I was sorry to read of your loss of your brother. You will be in my thoughts and prayers in the days to come.

  9. Mike Wahweotten on March 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Condolences to Marilyn, Mark and Karl. Roy and Marilyn were a delight to converse with, and (maybe unknowingly to them) were a pillar of support during my high school years.

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