Jonathan Hufstader

Jonathan Hufstader, English Professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, died peacefully on June 28, 2023 at Bryn Mawr Hospital, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife, Janis Franklin, of Media, PA, his daughter, Rebecca Hufstader, son-in-law, Jonah Eaton, and grandson Tobias (age seven months), of Philadelphia, his daughter, Susannah Hufstader and her partner, Aliza Gazek, of Oakland, CA, and seven dear nieces and nephews and their families. He was pre-deceased by his sister, Lucy Sharp, and his brother, Peter Hufstader.

Jonathan grew up in Manhattan and spent summers in Edgartown, MA, where he learned to sail and enjoyed racing with family and friends. He graduated from the Buckley School, Milton Academy, and Yale University. Jonathan was a lifelong learner and a wonderful teacher. After college, he joined a Benedictine monastery, Portsmouth Abbey, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. There, where he was known as Father Anselm, he served as teacher of French and Religion, sailing coach, and, for four years, headmaster of the school. During his tenure there, he studied theology in Rome for four years and was ordained a Catholic priest. Later, he published his first book, God’s Time is the Best Time. Jonathan always shared many fond memories of adventures with his students at Portsmouth, whether begrudgingly adopting the dorm cat (aka Fang) or leading bike trips through Europe and to Lourdes, where he and his students helped care for patients who had come for the healing waters.

In 1986, Jonathan left the priesthood. He taught at Dana Hall School and worked on his Ph.D. in English at Harvard University. Jonathan and Janis married in 1987; Rebecca was born in 1988 and Susannah in 1990. In 1993, the family moved to Storrs, CT, where Jonathan taught and advised UConn students for more than twenty years. During that time, he published a book on modern Irish poetry, Tongue of Water, Teeth of Stones. In Storrs and beyond, Jonathan supported Rebecca and Susie in their adventures and endeavors. Last fall, Janis and Jonathan came to Wesley Enhanced Living in Media, PA, hoping to simplify their health care and daily living challenges and to live closer to Rebecca and family.

Jonathan endeared himself to his family and friends with his dry sense of humor, his depth of knowledge, his thoughtful insights, and his cheerful humility. He was always ready to dive deep on the etymology of a word, a close reading of a poem, a good palindrome, a joke in French, or an insight at Torah study at Beth El in Storrs. Jonathan loved UConn basketball and the New York Yankees, who had a perfect game on June 28 just for him. He had a rough couple of years, plagued by repeated injuries and infections, but never became bitter or despairing. He will be missed and remembered. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcomed in his memory at First Generation UConn in Storrs or the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia.