In Memory

James Vickery

James F. Vickery, born July 29, 1941 in Denver, Colorado, died August 8, 2014, also in Denver.  He is survived by his wife, Sangmin, and their canine companion Ezra.

Jim received a BA in Philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder and his MA and PhD in English/Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Following teaching in Micronesia Jim joined the then Far East Division of the University of Maryland University College in 1978.  For 20 years (though not continuously) he taught English and Literature for UMUC on Okinawa and in Korea.

Jim was a devoted teacher and an avid poet, He completed three compilations of his poetry towards the end of his life.  All published by Outskirts Press of Denver in 2015, they are: Immune from Nothing I Can Think of, No Cold as Bitter as the Mind, and The Unattainable Shakes Loose My Tongue.

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01/06/16 06:22 PM #1    

Ken Shapiro

I had the great plearure of meeting and teaching with Jim, in Asia, in 1980-81.  He was s dedicated teacher and we shared many good times (and, as I recall, a few libations).  I'm not sure if Jim went with us to China on the trip that Joe Arden arranged over the Dec '80 - Jan '81 break (highlights of which included New Years Eve at the Peace Hotel in Shanghai (if I recall correctly), and a visit to the archaeological dig at Xian, shortly after that site was unearthed).  Does anyone have list of who was involved in that memorable adventure?

01/07/16 09:50 AM #2    

Kevin Flanagan

Sorry to hear of Jim's passing.

Ken, I don't think he was on that trip, as I remember meeting him when we were BOQ neighbors in Iwakuni shortly afterwards, in early 1980.

I remember Paul Voninski, Kate Pulling, Susan Kromholz, Hal Johnson, Bob Francescone, Barb & Ralph Millis, Monik Zwink as being on the trip (which I recall as Dec 79-Jan 80) along with you and myself.  I think McAllister was there palling around with you?  There was a Maryknoll priest who'd been working in Taiwan who was there as a friend of Francescone's.  I wonder if I have a group photo somewhere.


01/07/16 11:12 AM #3    

Nick Zoa

Term III 1980, I had the pleasure of being one of Jim's BOQ neighbors and fellow instructors at Iwakuni.  This was my very first assignment with UMUC.  Jim was my guide and mentor to living and teaching on an overseas military base.  I will never forget our long evenings discussing everything in the universe.  He will be missed.

01/08/16 12:35 PM #4    

Ralph Millis

Jim was a tremendously nice guy and a real professional.  In one of our conversations in Korea, he told me things about Faulkner -- the subject of my dissertation -- that I had never discovered or even considered.  A true Marylander.

Ken, Kevin is correct.  The China trip we were on was the second one Joe Arden created (Dec. '79 -- Jan. 80).  The bar in the Shanghai hotel WAS a hoot.  The bar had recently reopened because of the expected influx of foreign visitors (of which our group among the first) after the death of Mao and the subsequent, tentative Western  "Opening" to the PRC.  The bartender was an old fellow who had worked there prior to the revolution and spoke four or five languages he had picked up slinging drinks for the Westerners on the Bund back then.  He was inordinately proud of the few bottles of scotch, bourbon and gin displayed behind the bar.  He was like a character from a Maugham or Waugh novel.

Kevin, here are some of the other members of the China group:  Al Berger (who arrived in China a committed Marxist and by the time we left was fulminating against Communist bureacracy and inefficiency); Matt Lamberti, a true Asiaphile ,whose back, according to Kate Pulling, appeared in virtually all her photographs because he was always the first one off the bus and hogged the first place in all the lines to the museum exhibits, etc.;  Matt's wife Irene visiting from the States also was along; Jan Brown (a local Maryland lecturer and travel writer from Misawa); Jan's husband, John, an AF LTC and the Misawa base comptroller;  and an AF officer and an Army officer who ostensibly had signed up for the trip after seeing it advertised in the Stars and Stripes.  Actually, by the end of the trip it was universally agreed these two officers, both nice guys, by the way, were really along in disguised official capacities to make sure the Marylanders were not making contact with the Chinese equivalent of the Gestapo and divulging highy classified Crypto  Asian Division secrets.  The AF officer, I remember, had a seemingly unending supply of booze miniatures which he could magically produce at any moment; two of these saved my life after I nearly froze on the Great Wall.  The Maryknoll priest's first name was Ron.    GREAT FUN!!!!!



01/10/16 04:59 AM #5    

Dennis Gwynn

Jim, long time teacher in Korea and friend  to so many of us, will be greatly missed..  


11/13/16 12:37 PM #6    

Mary Lawlor

I was sorry to hear about Jim's death much belatedly. He was a close friend during the time we were both working for Maryland in Okinawa. Jim was great intellect and a gifted poet. During my last months in Okinawa, he helped me get ready for graduate school in the States. I don't think I would've been able to get through my first year had it not been for Jim's telling me what to read in American literature and talking with me about it.

He wrote a great dissertation in his program at SUNY Buffalo called I believe "The Fonts of Henry James." I don't think it was published, but if anyone knows how to access the dissertation I'd be happy to know about it.

06/28/20 04:53 PM #7    

Duane Colt Denfeld

Colt Denfeld

Not too long ago I was thinking of Jim and looked online for his current location. I had waited too long, sorry to learn now of his passing. In 1982 when I arrived at Osan Air Base to start my Asian Division teaching he took me around base, helping me set up banking and other needs. We had many enlighting (at least for me) conversations.  


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