Monroe Engel, 93

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 5:52pm

Monroe Engel, a summer resident of the West Side and a passionate surfcaster for over 50 years, died at 93 on November 29 at Derham House after a long illness.  Born in New York on April 22, 1021 in New York,  Monroe was raised in Mount Vernon, was a member of in the class of 1942 at Harvard College and won the Bowdoin Prize for his undergraduate thesis on Gerard Manley Hopkins.  He enlisted in the US Army just after graduation.  He was a captain and served in the Signal Corps, where he was responsible for ship to shore communications during the Normandy invasion and ended up in Pilsen on VE Day.

After the war, he worked in publishing in New York, initially for Reynal and Hitchcock and then for Viking Press where he was the youngest editor.  Monroe then went to graduate school at Princeton and subsequently taught literature and creative writing at Harvard for more than thirty years.  During his tenure at Harvard, he chaired the creative writing program and mentored countless students, including many now prominent journalists, novelists and poets.  He published five books, including four novels and a critical book on Charles Dickens.

Monroe was married to Brenda Sartorius Engel for 68 years and they had four children: Robin, Winslow, Stephanie and Matthew.  He also leaves 8 devoted grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 2, 3PM, at the Knafel Center, Radcliffe Yard, Cambridge.   Donations can be made in his memory to DeRham House, 65 Chilton St, Cambridge, MA 02139.