- In Memoriam
Faith Tolkien, first wife of J.R.R. Tolkien's son Christopher, died on October 24, 2017 after a long illness. She was 89. Born Faith Lucy Tilly Faulconbridge in 1928, she read English at St. Anne's College, Oxford, taking a BA in 1950, and subsequently studied sculpture at the Oxford City Art School. She married Christopher Tolkien in 1951. They had one son, Simon, but were separated in 1964 and divorced in 1967. Faith began her career as a teacher, but in later life devoted her energies to sculpture. Many of her works are displayed in and around Oxford. Her Stations of the Cross can be seen in the Catholic Church of Corpus Christi in Headington, Oxford, where her funeral was held on October 31, 2017 with a eulogy by her son Simon. Her bronze bust of J.R.R. Tolkien is in the entrance to the chapel of Exeter College at Oxford. She also did a monumental triptych for the Church of the Sacred Heart in Sutton Coldfield, as well as a garden statue of St. Joseph, and numerous smaller, occasional pieces. She is survived by her son Simon Tolkien and by her grandchildren, Simon's two children Nicholas and Anna Tolkien. Faith Tolkien was a good friend of J.R.R. Tolkien's daughter, Priscilla, who visited her regularly in her final illness.
Tolkien Studies notes with sadness the passing of David D(ean) Oberhelman (1965–2018), who died on January 25, 2018 at the age of 52 after a sudden illness. David's principal importance to the field was as the long-time administrator of the Mythopoeic Awards. In this capacity he counted and certified the juror votes for awards including the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies, the most prominent award often received by works of Tolkien scholarship. He ran the awards from 2007 to 2017, supervising their presentation at each annual Mythopoeic Conference, before retiring as administrator just before his death. A reference librarian and professor of library service at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, since 1997, David also contributed to mythopoeic scholarship himself, in the Tolkien field writing a history of libraries in Middle-earth (in Truths Breathed through Silver, ed. Jonathan B. Himes, 2008) and several entries in the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia (ed. Michael D. C. Drout, 2007). David had a background in literary criticism, earning a Ph.D. in English Literature in 1993 and teaching at the college level for two years before embarking on a master's in library science.
We lament the passing on February 20, 2018 of Rhona Beare, an academic who combined a professional career as a classicist with research and publishing in a variety of Tolkien-related small press magazines [End Page 3] between 1979 and 2007. Born in 1935, the daughter of a Latin professor at Bristol, she taught classics, first at London University and then at Newcastle University, New South Wales, Australia, traveling back to Bristol during vacations to be reunited with her family, and she wrote articles on Tolkien's sources and languages at both addresses. An early Tolkien fan, she corresponded with Tolkien, whose replies are in the Letters. Two were published in facsimile by the New England Tolkien Society in a limited edition of 95 copies. The second letter was typed, but the first consists of twelve pages in Tolkien's handwriting. Her major works were J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, a Babel Handbook, Nimrod Publications, Australia, 1999; "A Mythology for England" in The Silmarillion—Thirty Years On, edited by Allan Turner, Walking Tree, 2007, which reworked part of her handbook with new material on "earendel"; and "Influence of Climate on Myth: Tolkien's Theory and Practice" in The Ring goes ever on: Proceedings of the Tolkien 2005 Conference, 2008. She made a significant contribution to Tolkien studies, generously offering articles to the small press as well as writing major long essays.
Tolkien Studies also notes the passing of Ursula K(roeber) Le Guin (1929–2018), who died at the age of 88 on January 22, 2018. A much-honored author of fiction and poetry too renowned for her works to need itemizing...