CANTON – Wayne Howe Phelps, PhD, 84, passed away Friday evening, January 27, 2023 at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Wayne was born in Potsdam on September 2, 1938, the son of the late Elmer R. and Floy E. (Howe) Phelps.
Influenced by his high school English teachers, Dr. Wayne H. Phelps developed an interest in English literature and William Shakespeare at a young age.
He attended St. Lawrence University and received a BA in English, magna cum laude, in 1959 before being accepted in Princeton University, where he earned an MA and PhD in English in 1961 and 1965, respectively.
During and after his doctoral studies, he served as an instructor and assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia from 1962 to 1972.
He was then an assistant professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University from 1972-1977.
From 1978 to 1980, Dr. Phelps served as a research associate of academy programs for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
He was also affiliated with the council as a research associate for institutional approval in 1980 and coordinator of institutional approval from 1980 to 1982.
He subsequently retired in 1986, having worked as the director of planning and educational research for the West Virginia Board of Regents for four years.
Alongside his primary career endeavors, Dr. Phelps was an editorial consultant at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Following his retirement, he moved back to the North Country settling in Canton near his Alma Mater – St. Lawrence University. Dr. Phelps served on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Owen D. Young and Launders Libraries for 20 years.
Outside his tenure in education, he has shared his expertise in several works, including “Edmund Shakespeare at St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch,” which was published in Shakespeare Quarterly in 1978 and “The Date of Ben Jonson’s Death” in Notes and Queries in 1980, along with numerous other creative works.
Dr. Phelps was deemed a summer fellow, Charles Scribner junior fellow, junior fellow and Woodrow Wilson National Fellow at Princeton University during his graduate and doctoral studies.
He has been highlighted in several editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Who’s Who in the East.
He also enjoyed modern square dancing and was active with Skirts-n-Flirts at one time.
Dr. Phelps is survived by a niece, Roxann M. Paro of Pulaski, New York; two grand-nephews, Kristoffer D. Paro of Pulaski, New York and Jeremy A. Hall of Gouverneur, New York; as well as a Kristoffer’s daughter, Isabelle.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, Janice M. Phelps Lehan.
Arrangements are the care and guidance of the Donaldson-Seymour Funeral Home, Potsdam, where funeral services will be held Friday at 2:00 PM, friends may call prior to the service starting at 1:00 PM.
Burial will be in the spring in Hillcrest Cemetery, Parishville.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing may consider memorial contributions to be made in his memory to the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund or the Help Sami Kick Cancer Foundation.
Friends and family are encouraged to share memories and offer condolences online at www.donaldsonseymour.com.