Obituary: David F. Grose, Classics professor

David F. Grose, 59, of Amherst, a longtime professor of Classics, died Oct. 13 at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge of cardiac arrest following complications from previous surgeries.

Born in Faribault, Minn., he was was educated at St. Olaf College and Harvard University, where he was trained in history and archaeology. He was a recipient of a Rome Prize Fellowship and a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. After serving as curator of ancient glass at the Toledo Museum of Art and as assistant professor of classical archaeology at the University of Missouri, David joined the Department of Classics in 1977. He served as chair of the department for eight years, during which time he was instrumental in strengthening the interdisciplinary program of study in classical languages and civilizations. He also served as president of the UMass chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for more than a decade.

Grose was an internationally renowned archaeologist with research interests in ancient, medieval, and Islamic glass. While at UMass, David contributed significant scholarship to the field. He is author of “Early Ancient Glass” (1989), “The Pre-Hellenistic, Hellenistic, Roman and Islamic Glass from Tel Anafa” (2003), and many articles, book chapters, and excavation reports. Two excavation catalogues, “The Hellenistic, Roman, and Medieval Glass from Cosa” and “Morgantina: The Pre-Hellenistic, Hellenistic, Roman, and Medieval Glass,” will be published posthumously

During his tenure at UMass, he pursued his lifelong interest in museum conservation. He was acting director of the Smith College Museum of Art during fall term 1986. Throughout his career he served as consultant to many major museums in the United States and abroad, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the British Museum. He also worked on numerous excavations at sites in Britain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Tunisia, Egypt and Israel.

“Although David was a scholar of considerable renown,” says Classics Department chair Rex Wallace, “this department will remember him best for his keen interest in and his promotion of study abroad programs and excavations for his students. He worked tirelessly to find internships for UMass students. Many worked for the Old Sturbridge Village Museum, for the MFA in Boston, and for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. David spent countless hours counseling students about summer excavation programs and many went on to dig in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and the Near East.”

According to Wallace, Grose spent much of his last year working with the UMass Amherst Foundation on a project very close to his heart, the establishment of an endowment fund for undergraduate majors in Classics.

“The department is delighted to be able to say that David saw this project to its completion,” said Wallace. “This past summer the department established an Endowment Fund in Classics, which the department is proud to announce has been named in David’s honor. This is a fitting memorial to someone who cared passionately that UMass Amherst provide life-transforming opportunities for those students who might not otherwise be able to afford them. For this the department and its students owe him a great debt of gratitude.”

He leaves his mother Marie; his brothers Charles, Kevin, and Chad; his sister Rochelle; and his partner of 35 years, Joseph W. Dauben.

A memorial service is being held in Northfield, Minn. on the campus of St. Olaf College on Oct. 26. He is to be buried in the Grose family plot of Gol Lutheran Church in Kenyon, Minn. Donations in David’s memory may be sent to the David F. Grose Memorial Fund at St. Olaf College, or to the American Academy in Rome, 7 East 60 St., New York NY 10022-1001.

The Department of Classics plans to celebrate David Grose’s contributions to the department and UMass Amherst with an informal gathering in his honor on Friday, Nov. 12. For more information, contact department chair Rex Wallace ( or department secretary Connie Vollinger (