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Carol McNair Obituary

Kathryn Carol McNair

April 1, 1932 - October 30, 2018

Kathryn Carol McNair died on October 30, 2018, with her beloved husband Robert DeVoe. She was born on April 1, 1932 in Shelby County, Iowa. She entered nurse's training in Des Moines at seventeen, and as an R.N., moved to Oregon in the early 1950s. In 1956, she married James McNair in Eugene. They had two daughters, Amy and Sandoval. She earned a BA in English from the University of New Mexico in 1965, supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and started graduate school at the University of Oregon. Upon earning the PhD, she was hired in the English Department at Southern Oregon College in 1971, where she taught Shakespeare, poetry, and composition until her retirement in 1990 as professor emerita.

Carol was a nurse, a teacher, a mentor, a loyal and loving daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, friend. She was a collector of frogs, of friends, of ideas, earrings, art, and books. She loved Ashland and the breaking of the waves on the rocks at Bandon, Oregon.

She loved Shakespeare, discussing his works in the classroom or with friends and colleagues, and seeing and critiquing productions of his work. With her husband, Bob DeVoe, she organized the 1983 Shakespeare Society of America in Ashland, and she worked closely with the NEH Summer Shakespeare Seminar on teaching Shakespeare.

Carol found joy in creating and nurturing communities, families, whether it was around an academic endeavor like Writing Across the Curriculum at SOU, the round-robin letter exchange with her siblings, or her dining table, bringing people together to read poetry and discuss literature—and eat good food. She edited the SOU Retirees newsletter and enjoyed the chance to maintain connections made over her long academic career. She loved the exchange of ideas and could enjoy any play, movie, or book if it led to a lively discussion.

She also loved children, her own, as well as those of her friends and family. After retiring as an English Professor, she participated in the Smart Readers program in the Ashland School District. And she would share books, knowledge, toys, and the tree house in their backyard with any children who happened through their door.

Carol was proud of the life she created, a life filled with beautiful objects, intellectual exchange, humor, a challenging, fulfilling teaching career, travel to museums and theatres, and she took great joy in sharing that life with others. She was proud of the achievements of her and Bob's children and grandchildren, of Bob's success as an artist, of her own achievements as a person in the world.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Amy Griffith, and her sisters Joyce Hansen and Mary Cox, as well as James McNair and her children, Robert Ward DeVoe and Sandoval McNair. She is survived by her siblings Alice Hansen, Jane Wittrup, John Griffith (Rita), and Gene Griffith (Laura), her children John DeVoe (Cinda), Amy McNair, Mark DeVoe, and Laura Boone, her grandchildren Gabriel DeVoe (Kristi Miller), Jordyn DeVoe (Brian Rowbotham), Kaydee Boone Larsen, Calhoun Boone, Kamryn Boone, and great-grandchildren Owen, Amelia, and Ariel DeVoe.

No memorial service is planned. In lieu of flowers, the families request that donations be made to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in memory of Carol McNair and Robert DeVoe.

For more information, contact: Jeanne Stallman, Executive Director, Outreach and Engagement,

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