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John M. Wasson



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Date published: 11/3/2013

John M. Wasson

John Marvin Wasson, 85, beloved father and renowned medieval scholar, died peacefully at Greenfield Assisted Living on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, surrounded by family and friends.

John served in the U.S. Army during both the occupation of Japan and the Korean Conflict. He was awarded a Purple Heart in Korea, breaking his back on his 23rd parachute jump as an Army paratrooper.

Wasson used the G.I. Bill to further his education, earning a Ph.D. in English literature from Stanford University in 1957. Soon after, he became professor of English at Washington State University, where he taught medieval and Renaissance literature until retirement.

John's career highlights include authoring "Subject and Structure," a college writing textbook that went through a then-record eight editions. He wrote a manual on paleography, published many articles on medieval and Renaissance literature, and, along with his wife, Barbara Palmer, authored several volumes of the Records of Early English Drama.

He is survived by his four loving children, Jody Galt (George) of Boulder Creek, Calif., David Wasson of Davao del Norte, Philippines, Adam Wasson of Los Angeles, Calif., and Matthew Wasson of Todd, N.C.; two sisters, Grace Cogswell of Ormond Beach, Fla., and Mary Jane Archer (James) of Apple Valley, Calif.; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at St. George's Episcopal Church, 905 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg, with the Rev. Gay M. Rahn officiating.