Thursday, February 09, 2006

Professor Ron Crossland

I just heard Professor Ronald Crossland (Classics, University of Sheffield) died in Cambridge late last month.

After his retirement from Sheffield he was a member of King's College, where he became a good friend of ours, we frequently dined together, both at College and privately.

He was a fascinating man, one these classically educated englishmen with broad interests and razor sharp tongue, one night at High Table, he delivered one of the two all-time verbal take downs I have ever heard.

Before becoming an academic he was an officer in the British Army, he served behind enemy lines in the former Yugoslavia and was badly injured (in Africa I believe), and bore visible scars from his service.

On one of his round-the-world trips in later years he stopped for several days to stay with us in central Pennsylvania. Among other things he finally spurred us to take a day to tour Gettysburg, which was fascinating. We still have the rest of the gin bottle obtained for the occasion, and probably the spare tonic bottle too.

Funeral is on monday - drinks at the Isaac Newton on Castle Hill after the service - anyone who happens to be there, have either a G&T or stout.

He was brave enough to eat shark when offered, gracious enough to be nice about it (and the brennivín to go with it), and sensible enough to decline a second round...


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