Thomas Roche, Jr. 4 Replies Thomas Roche, Jr., the Murray Professor of English, Emeritus, died on May 3, 2020
Professor Roche taught my Shakespeare course the first semester of my first year at Princeton. I also had the good fortune to have him as my preceptor. He brought Shakespeare alive for me, taking it from a ponderous experience filled with confusing words to a joyful roller coaster ride as I came to appreciate Shakespeare’s depth of understanding of the human condition and his amazing wit and sense of humor. Professor Roche’s own considerable wit and generosity to teach first year undergraduates added a great deal to the experience. Entering Princeton as a prospective physics concentrator, Professor Roche excited an interest in literature that led me to spend too long on papers for his class and, later, to take all the prerequisites to enable me to concentrate in English. The interest in Renaissance literature that was ignited from that first course led me to also take Professor Roche’s Spenser course later in my undergraduate career. In the end I concentrated in physics and manage an R&D group today, but I continue to be grateful to Professor Roche for his dedication to teaching and for opening my mind and heart to Renaissance literature.
I have the fondest memories of T.P.R. (for that’s what all of us who were in productions with him called him). He was a kind and generous soul, and was an integral part of my Princeton experience. I am so sad to hear that we’ve lost him.
Rest In Peace to my all time favorite Professor! Professor Roche, thank you for introducing me to snuff, John Donne’s poem, “The Flea,” and the marvelous sense of humor of poets who wrote hundreds of years ago! Thank you for informing my sense of humor and ability to enjoy the written word! Thank you for inspiring themes and character within my own poetry. Thank you for your warning (that I did not heed) about Princeton men, and thank you for bringing the wonder of great, timeless poetry to life! You were wonderful! Thank you for all you brought and gave to me and to all your students!
He was my thesis advisor in 1984; the subject was the fiction of Flannery O’Connor and he was supportive of and interested in not only that study but my future vocation as a pastor. For sure one of my favorite Princeton people.