In Memoriam: Dr. Walter Beale

In Memoriam: Dr. Walter Beale

Posted on November 15, 2021


Walter Henry Beale III, 76, died on Friday, November 12, 2021 at Beacon Place in Greensboro, North Carolina. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at First Baptist Church in Greensboro.

Born in Roseboro, North Carolina to Walter H. Beale Jr. and Georgia Connor Beale, Walter spent his childhood in the small town of Potecasi, North Carolina. After graduating from Woodland-Olney High School in Northampton County, Walter matriculated at Wake Forest College (now Wake Forest University) where he received his B.A. in English in 1967. At Wake Forest, encouraged by professors like Dr. Ed Wilson, Walter was introduced to the world of of English studies. He subsequently earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1971, Walter moved to Greensboro and became an assistant professor of English at UNCG. Awarded full professor in 1984, he served as the Chair of the English Department from 1988-1990, and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1990-2003. After stepping down from his position as dean, Walter returned to teaching in the English Department, where he remained until his retirement after 45 years at the university.

In addition to his teaching and scholarship, Walter was devoted to his friends. He and his wife, Lollie, hosted monthly meetings of the Tate Street Thespians, a drama reading club. For forty years, he was an enthusiastic member of a poker group consisting of UNCG professors and including his life-long friends Jim Evans and Keith Cushman. Walter was a lover of music, playing in a rock band as a teenager and then discovering the deep joy of classical music at Wake Forest—under the influence of his great friend Paul Sinal and his piano teacher, Christoper Giles. He was an opera aficionado and for many years sang in the Greensboro Choral Society. Walter was also a lover of food and wine. He and his brother-in-law and friend, Ralph Lake, made many pleasant excursions to a Chapel Hill wine distributor, followed by barbecue lunches. Of all his social activities, perhaps the happiest for him were planning and cooking for a dinner party.

Preceded in death by his parents and granddaughter, Selena Vincent, Walter is survived by his wife, Laurie (Lollie) White, his elder daughter, Stella Beale of San Rafael, California and Stella’s son, Jeffrey, and his younger daughter Louise Vincent of Greensboro as well as his former spouse and mother of his children, Sarah Beale. He is also survived by two brothers, Steve (Martha) Beale and Mack (Anne) Beale and several nieces and nephews. Cherishing his memory, too, are Lollie’s children: Kathryn White & Adam Chase, of Savannah, Georgia and Benjamin and Tiffany White, Emery and Ian, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Memorials may be made to Greensboro Opera or the Walter H. Beale Scholarship at UNCG.

Walter became the Head of the Department of English in 1990.  He did such an energetic, effective job that he became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences after only two years as Department Head.  His leadership as Dean, from 1990 to 2003, contributed mightily to the greatness of UNCG during those years.
Perhaps Walter was most wonderfully himself at the poker table in the faculty game that he joined in 1980.  No one knows how many thousands of dollars he won from successful bluffs.  The faculty members who participated liked to believe that the poker game was legendary.  English Department  participants included Keith Cushman, Stuart Dischell, Jim Evans, Russ McDonald, and Scott Romine.  Other College participants were Rich Fabiano, Herb Gochberg, Rob Guttentag, Bruce Landman, Stuart Marcovitch, and Doug Minyard.  Bruce Caldwell (School of Business), David Holley (School of Music), and Ansley Brown (married to Martha Brown, a Ph.D. in English at UNCG) also played in the game.


Reflection by Keith Cushman

Professor Emeritus, Department of English

My fondest memory of Walter is our chats at odd times (very early in the morning, on weekends, on holidays) in the hallway in MHRA.  These were brief since we were both excited to get back to our research, but they encouraged me and warmed my heart.

Reflection by Jen Feather
Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

UNCG News In Memoriam Post

Walter Beale’s Faculty Page

Oral History Interview

UNCG Encyclopedia Entry