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.