|Remembering Richard Hampsten|
Richard F. Hampsten, retired professor of English, died July 18, 2006, after a brief illness. He was 76.
Richard Franklin Hampsten was born Dec. 14, 1929, in Yale, Ill., to Doris and Harry Hampsten. Richard grew up in the small town of Yale, going to high school in Charleston, Ill. After completing his studies at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, and one year at the Sorbonne University, in Paris, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950, fighting the Korean War in Germany. He served in the U.S. Army intelligence branch in West Germany, translating requests from Eastern bloc spies for Dijon mustard to be included in secret deliveries.
Following his honorable discharge, he earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington, where he met his wife Elizabeth (also working on her Ph.D.), and where their first child, Sarah, was born. He then moved to Columbus, Ohio, to teach at Ohio State University where sons Stephen and Andrew were born. After a brief but distinguished career as a professor of English at the University of Victoria (BC), he bravely (and with some regret) moved his ever-growing family to Grand Forks in 1966 to teach at the University of North Dakota, and where youngest son David was born and daughter Mary was adopted into the family.
He spent his career at UND mentoring students in the English Department and as the head of the Honors program. In the 1980s he extended his travels to China where he taught English, learned Chinese, and sponsored many students who would later come to study in America.
After retiring from UND in 1992, he settled on Cougar Mountain in Issaquah, Wash., with his old friend and former pupil Jiefeng Li. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth and their children Sarah (Richard) Sink of French Creek, W.V., Stephen (Julia) Hampsten of Seattle, Wash., Andrew Hampsten of Castegneto Carducci, Italy, Mary (Michael) Payne of Houston, Texas, and David Hampsten of Grand Forks, as well as Richard’s sister Janet (David) Cutright in Illinois, and nine grandchildren.
“Dick” was loved for his conversational skills over gourmet home-cooked meals with accompanying wines. Dr. Hampsten loved the outdoors, plants, travel, art, and education. His interests included music, lately with the Seattle Guitar Society, pottery, reading, and applying his quick wit to lively conversations in several languages. It was reported that he would have long conversations in Latin with his friend Bernard O’Kelly, the late dean of Arts and Sciences at UND, much to the awe of students passing by.
He passed away while traveling on the East coast to see family and friends.
Richard’s humanity touched many and will be cherished forever.
A memorial service will be held in Issaquah, Wash., on August 26. In lieu of flowers, the Hampsten family asks that you make a donation towards the college education of someone you know.