Remembering Prof. Walter Martin and Prof. Jim Stone

Walter Martin
It is with great sadness, I am sharing news of the passing of two founding members of the University of Waterloo English department, Dr. Walter Martin (1920-2015) on April 5th, and Prof. James S. Stone (1919-2015) on March 31st. Members of the department have been kind enough to share their knowledge of each man, which I have included below. Some may be interested to know about Prof. Stone’s WWII service in the RCAF, for instance–though Dr. North focuses on his other achievements. Please feel free to share more memories in the comments section below.

Walter Martin
From Fraser Easton, Chair of English Language and Literature
Dr. Martin died on April 5th, just shy of his 95th birthday.  He came to Waterloo in 1962 from South Africa.  He was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus, a recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, and a Henry James scholar, among other interests.  He made himself over as something of a Canadianist, as well, and was the author of what has been called the first significant book on the corpus of Alice Munro, Alice Munro: Paradox and Parallel. Walter collaborated extensively with Department colleagues on academic and other projects, was a great believer in the importance of English Literature, and had a great impact on his students.  And he remained connected and dedicated to his former Department over the years: despite failing health, for example, he attended the Department’s 50th anniversary BBQ celebration in 2010.

His full obituary, including information on his funeral, to be held April 10th, is here.

James S. Stone
From John North, Professor, English Language and Literature
Jim, like myself, grew up in Vancouver, and did his BA and MA at UBC. I did not know him until I arrived at Waterloo. Jim was also a Victorianist, also President of the Faculty Association, and preceded me as the editor of the English Quarterly. Joan was his wife. Jim published a biography of his father, My Dad the Rum Runner, which describes his father’s exploits as the captain of a 5-masted schooner, the Malahat, running rum off the west coast during prohibition. His dad ran whiskey to freighters anchored in Rum Runner’s Row, which was off Hawaii and outside the 12-mile maritime limit of the USA. Rum runners were endangered not only by the US coastguard—which didn’t always stick within the 12-mile limit, and in fact on at least one occasion seized Jim’s dad’s ship and took it into Seattle—but also by the murders, violence, mayhem of all sorts which went with rum running. Small fast boats would run rum from the freighters to the US mainland. The Malahat, built in North Vancouver to be a lumber carrier, was owned by the prominent Reifel family, which ran a liquor export business. Jim’s dad managed to evade the US coastguard because sympathetic ships would radio his aunt, who lived near Jericho beach, with the location of the coastguard ships, and she in turn would radio her brother. Jim’s book won a publishing award.

Jim did much research on the life of Emily Faithful, a Victorian women’s rights activist who published The English Woman’s Journal, and became printer and publisher to Queen Victoria. She also published The Victoria Magazine, advocating the right of women to remunerative employment. I have always thought that Jim’s compassion for suffering women arose from his care for his mother, who when his father was at sea, was left alone to care for the family.

Thank you to John and Fraser for their contributions.


2 responses to “Remembering Prof. Walter Martin and Prof. Jim Stone

  1. I’m truly sorry to receive this sad news. They both made such wonderful contributions.

  2. James Stone was my grandfather, He would Often talk to me about all his stories about all the planes in the RAF when he did his service, And I would ask him to tell me stories about when he was in scouts in the 1930’s. He told me many wonderful stories and about living in the houseboat, getting scared by his cousin, When he went to visit his brother Lorne, he would call me and my grandmother all the time.

    Jim was my grandfather, and a true man.

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