Welch Everman, a professor of English at the University of Maine, lost his battle with lung cancer at his Orono home on Friday morning at the age of 57. Everman will be best remembered for his sense of humor, his friendly demeanor and his dedication to teaching, according to friends and colleagues.
“Welch was a great teacher and prolific writer,” said Robert Whelan, a fellow English professor. “It’s going to be tough not having him around.”
Everman was an accomplished jazz musician, a talented writer and an inexhaustible teacher. He also pioneered distance education at the university.
“He took it to new heights,” Whelan said on Tuesday, “He personalized it, and touched each student even though it was an online course; he was a wonderful teacher.”
In Everman’s office stands a life-sized cutout of Steven King, pictures of his surviving sons and wife and a mass of books.
“He was a creator of literature as much as a teacher,” said Kathryn Olmstead, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “[Everman] fought ’till the end, as late as May term, still grading papers.”
“He had a terrific sense of humor, and a great rapport with the students,” said Margaret Lukens, chair of the English department said Tuesday.
“He had respect as a writer,” said Justus Humphrey, a former student of Everman’s. “It was great learning from someone who had such a craft for writing. Every time I went to class, I would get something out of [his feedback], regardless of whether I wrote [the discussion piece] or not.”
Everman was one of two fiction writers in the English department and was well published.
“He was one of those colleagues who is extremely trustworthy, always willing to step up and do whatever job needed to be done.” Lukens said. “We have someone who was a member of the community for such a long time, who made a real impact on the community. His presence and interest and generally contributing so much to the community … It’s going to be a hard act to follow,” she said.
Everman is survived by his wife and two sons. A memorial service will be held at noon Friday, Sept. 24 at St. Ann’s Church on Indian Island.