Hilary Thomas Masters ’48

Hilary Thomas Masters '48Hilary Masters, born Feb. 3, 1928, an American writer and beloved teacher of many writers died peacefully in his sleep at his home on Sunday, June 14, 2015. The causes were complications from surgery. He was born in Kansas City, Mo., the son of Edgar Lee Masters, a poet and biographer, and Ellen Frances Coyne Masters, a professor of English.

He attended Davidson College from 1944 to 1946, then served in the Navy from 1946 to 1947 as a naval correspondent. He completed his BA at Brown University in 1952. Masters began his writing career after graduation in New York with Bennett and Pleasant, press agents for concert and dance artists. Next he worked independently as a theatrical press agent for Off Broadway and summer theaters from 1953 to 1956.

He then moved into journalism as owner and editor of the Hyde Park Record, in Hyde Park, N.Y., from 1956 to 1959. In the 1960s he was a Democratic candidate for New York’s 100th Assembly District.

He also worked as a freelance photographer for Image Bank and over the years had many gallery photo exhibits. He has taught writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Drake University, Clark University, Ohio University and the University of Denver. Since 1983 he has served as professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

He was honored in 2010 by the American Academy of Arts and Letters with a Lifetime Achievement award. He is the author of nearly 20 works – a memoir, Last Stands: Notes from Memory, many novels and short story collections, two essay collections. The most recent titles are In Montaigne’s Tower, How the Indians Buried Their Dead, and Post.

Surviving him are his wife of 21 years, Kathleen George; and his three children, Joellen, Catherine and John, from his previous marriage to Polly Jo McCulloch. Arrangements McCABE BROS. INC.

Contributions may be made to the CMU English department, specifying the Hilary Masters Fiction Award Fund.

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