Jere David “Poppy” Field — father, husband, friend, professor, birdwatcher and lover of Coke Zero — died on Oct. 5, 2023, near his hometown of Monroe, Ga., where he retired after many years of teaching English at DePauw University in Greencastle.
David was born on Dec. 19, 1947, in Shreveport, La., to Jere Field and Marsie Moore Field. An only child, he was doted on by his parents as well as his beloved aunt, Alice Field, and his grandmother, Irene Walker Field.
After attending early school years in Monroe, David graduated from Westminster High School in Atlanta and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. (1970). Following an ill-fated two weeks at law school at the behest of his family, he pursued his true joy and received a doctorate in English from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. (1982). Charlottesville was a much-loved home for many years, where David and his first wife, Mary, made and nurtured many lifelong friendships.
In 1982, David and Mary moved to Greencastle, where their daughter Marion was born in 1985 and their daughter Jane in 1988. His daughters — and many of their friends — called him Poppy. He cared for his family with an unparalleled devotion through many challenges, including the death of his wife Mary in 2005 and the death of his daughter Marion in 2014.
In Greencastle, David taught literature and creative writing at DePauw University until 2009. He loved teaching and his students and received several awards, including the Exemplary Teaching Award, given jointly by DePauw and the General Board of Higher Education of the Methodist Church, and the Mr. & Mrs. Fred C. Tucker Jr. Distinguished Career Award. He remained dedicated to his students long after they graduated, staying in touch with many and encouraging their personal and professional writing over decades.
In 2011, he married the love of his later life, Dianne Hardin, and they spent years traveling, bird watching and making a home together in Monroe, Ga. Together they treasured classical music and attended the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C., every year without fail.
David is survived by his wife, Dianne; his daughter, Jane; his stepchildren, Sarah Hardin-White and Andrew Hardin-White; and numerous cherished cousins.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Marion; his first wife, Mary; his parents, Marsie and Jere; and his aunt, Alice.
A celebration-of-life memorial will be held at the family’s home, 110 Davis St., Monroe, Ga., on Nov. 12 from 1-4 p.m., with memories shared at 2 p.m.
A second memorial will be held at a later date in Greencastle in the spring of 2024.