In Remembrance of Bob Lovett, Professor Emeritus of British Literature

Dr. Bob LovettThe Wake Forest University Department of English mourns the loss of Robert (Bob) Lovett, professor emeritus of English, who died February 16, 2020, in Winston-Salem, NC.

Dr. Lovett spent his childhood in New York and Atlanta, Georgia, before attending Marist School, Oglethorpe University, and Emory University, where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. At St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, he met Ruth Candler and they married in 1955, later having three children. Following her death in 1964, he married his wife of more than 53 years and mother of their two children, Miriam Cooper Möller.

In 1962, Dr. Lovett joined the faculty of the Wake Forest Department of English and served here as a beloved professor of 18th-century British literature until he retired in 2001. 

He curated a world-class collection of editions of Robinson Crusoe, which he donated to his alma mater, Emory University, upon his retirement. When he compiled a bibliography of his collection, he found that it was so extensive that he was the first to list some of the gems he had discovered in his searches. 

Dr. Lovett was also fond of traveling in the footsteps of his literary heroes: He loved teaching at Worrell House, retraced Samuel Johnson’s Scottish journey, and was especially happy to take his sons on a voyage to the actual island—one of the Juan Fernandez chain off the Chilean coast—where it’s thought Robinson Crusoe is set.

His colleagues remember him fondly as a kind, generous, witty man whose family meant a great deal to him and who had a great passion for the outdoors, especially the Blue Ridge Mountains. One writes, “he reminded me of a modern version of the English country squire, probably due to his love of all things British, of his books, and above all, his large family. He was like a character in one of the eighteenth-century novels he loved, erudite but down-to-earth.”  

Dr. Lovett’s memorial service will be held on Feb. 29 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, with a reception following in the Colhoun room. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church or the New River Conservancy.

You may find his obituary in the Winston-Salem Journal online here

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