Professor Frank Gado remembered

Publication Date
Prof. Frank Gado

Prof. Frank Gado

Frank Gado, a professor emeritus of English who specialized in American literature and film, passed away June 8, 2022, after a long illness at his home in West Hartford, Vt. He was 85.

Gado, who taught at Union from 1963 until he retired in 1999, was also head of the Union College Press, for which he edited a number of works on American writers and published two studies on poet William Cullen Bryant.

Born in Fairview, N.J., to immigrant parents from Piemonte, Italy, Gado graduated in 1958 with a degree in philosophy from Dartmouth College, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. After a semester at Harvard Law School, he changed course and earned his master’s and Ph.D. in literature from Duke University.

Teaching literature and writing remained his passion throughout his professional life, most of which was spent at Union, where he chaired the English department for several years.

He was twice awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach at Uppsala University in Sweden and an NEH grant to study the genre of autobiography.

His interests also included film. He taught the film program at the College, concurrently writing his most ambitious work, The Passion of Ingmar Bergman, published in 1986.

He edited First Person: Conversations on Writers and Writing with writers including John Updike, Glenway Wescott and Robert Penn Warren. He also edited volumes of works by Stephen Crane (Drawn from Life: Stories by Stephen Crane) and James Kirke Paulding (The Lion of the West and the Bucktails).

An active lecturer during retirement, he gave annual talks on Bryant at the poet’s homestead in Cummington, Mass. In the past several years, while undergoing treatment for cancer, he gave a series of talks on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick at Dartmouth College’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Gado was a forthright critic of literature, culture and the academy. In retirement, his emails with alumni and former colleagues combined the latest personal news with waggish analyses of a book, film or college policy. He delighted in calling attention to “barbarisms” of English usage in the College magazine. He also penned letters to The New Yorker to correct grammatical mistakes or to complain that none of his entries to the weekly cartoon contest had made it to the preliminary ballot.

The Frank Gado Endowed Terms Abroad Fellowship was created by Janet Black ’74 and Dr. Hans Black ’74 to honor their former professor.

Survivors include his children, Tobias ’92 and Carin ’96.