Dr. W.W. “Bill” de Grummond, aged 88, passed away on Saturday, July 30, in Tallahassee, Florida. He was preceded in death by his sister Jewel Lynn Delaune and his parents Will White de Grummond, for whom he was named, and Julia “Lena” Young de Grummond. Bill was born near Centerville, Louisiana, on July 24, 1934. He attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (1952-60), from which he received the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Foreign Languages, and later achieved the Ph.D. in Classical studies (Greek and Latin) at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (1968), supported by a scholarship from U.S. Steel. His graduate studies included a year as a Fulbright Scholar to the University of Aix-Marseilles in France and a scholarship of distinction to study at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, as well as education in Mexico and Spain.
Bill was hired in 1968 at Florida State University in the Department of Classical Languages, Literature and Civilization, where he taught courses at varying levels in Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Classical Civilization and Art History. In 1972 he received the Standard Oil Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, and was later asked to join the FSU President’s Council for Excellence in College Teaching. An invited member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a men’s leadership honor fraternity, and Eta Sigma Phi, a Classics honor society, he also served on the national board of directors of Eta Sigma Phi, and for many years as sponsor for the FSU chapter of the society. Among his special teaching assignments was a 6-month stint at the FSU Florence Study Center in Italy (1975) and a Visiting Professorship at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee (1981).
His main area of research was Latin poetry, and in particular the works of Vergil. He wrote his doctoral dissertation at UNC-Chapel Hill on Vergil’s Aeneid, but he also published on several other Roman poets and on topics in the archaeology of Greece and of India. While still a graduate student at UNC, he was tapped as co-editor for the American Office of the global annual bibliography of Classical studies, called L’annee philologique. Bill later shared his publishing expertise as Editor-in-Chief of the Classical Journal, a periodical of the regional Classical Association of the Midwest and South (CAMWS). He also held numerous offices and committee assignments for CAMWS.
Beginning in the 1970’s Bill became a member of the Gulf Winds Track Club, and after his retirement from FSU in 2002, he continued to be a devoted and beloved member of the community of runners in and around Tallahassee. A charter member of the Board of Directors, he was elected 14 times to the board. Among the hundreds of road races in which he participated most notable were his marathons and the Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic, a 50k event. One of his favorite races was the Turkey Trot, which he ran for the final time in 2021. He was a frequent winner in his age groups over a period of many years. In 1989, Bill was named to the Gulf Winds Hall of Fame. He also loved to play and watch tennis and spent many happy hours listening to opera, especially Italian, and German art songs. With his love of travel, he enriched the lives of all his family members who accompanied him on his journeys.
Bill de Grummond is survived by his four children, John, Juli, Elizabeth and Tommy, whom he raised with his former wife, Nancy Thomson de Grummond, also surviving. He is also survived by his son-in-law, Jimmy Stephens, husband of Juli, and four grandsons, Lex Zapata and Evan Zapata, sons of Juli de Grummond and Brent Zapata; Lorenzo Colantoni, son of Elizabeth and Gabriele Colantoni; and by marriage, Cody Burger, son of Debi and Tommy de Grummond. He is additionally survived by his great granddaughter, Zoe Burger, daughter of Amy and Cody Burger, and his nephew Jonathan “Jed” Delaune and his wife Donna and their children.
Jared Padgett of Bevis Funeral Home is arranging the private interment for the family. A memorial service will be held in the near future.
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