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Cecil DeGrotte Eby, Jr.

Feb 20, 2015

Cecil DeGrotte Eby, Jr. aged 87, retired professor of English, died peacefully Sunday, Feb. 15,, 2015 with his two daughters by his side.

He was born in Charles Town, West Virginia and was the son of Cecil DeGrotte Eby and Ellen Butler Turner Eby.

He had two sisters, Anita Rosiland Rush Brill (1907-1984) and Georgene Turner Rush Funk (1918-2004).

Mr. Eby earned a B.A. from Shepherd College in 1950, a M.A. from Northwestern University in 1951, and a Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania in 1958. He also earned an honorary A.B. from Western Maryland College in 1988.

Eby served in the 16th fleet of the United States Navy from 1945-1946. He then entered graduate school to prepare himself for an academic career. Eby was an Assistant Professor of English at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia (1957-1960). He then joined the faculty of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia where he remained until 1965. Eby spent the remainder of his academic career at the University of Michigan (1965-1995) where he retired as Professor of English. In 1975-1976 he was Chairman of the English Department at the University of Mississippi. During his professional career, Eby was a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Salamanca (Spain, 1962-1963), University of Valencia (Spain, 1967-1968), Eotvos Lorand University (Hungary, 1982), and Joszef Attila University (Hungary, 1988-1989). Throughout his career, Eby spent many summers in Deer Isle, Maine with his family. During his career, Eby wrote 9 critically acclaimed books. Subjects range from the U.S. Civil War (The Old South Illustrated, 1959, University of North Carolina Press; Porte Crayon: The Life of David H. Strother, 1973, University of North Carolina Press; A Virginia Yankee in the Civil War, 1961, University of North Carolina Press), to the Spanish Civil War (The Siege of the Alcazar, 1965, Random House; Between the Bullet and the Lie, 1969, Holt, Rinehart & Winston; Comrades and Commissars: The Lincoln Battalion in Spain, 2006, Penn State Press); to the 1832 conflict between the United States and Native Americans (That Disgraceful Affair: The Black Hawk War, 1973, Duke University Press), to World War II (Hungary at War: Civilians and Soldiers in World War II, 2003, Penn State Press), and how popular literature paved the way for World War I (The Road to Armageddon: The Martial Spirit in English Popular literature 1870-1914, 1988, Duke University Press). Eby also published numerous academic articles in outlets such as American Literature, American Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review and the New England Quarterly.

In addition to his scholarly accomplishments, Eby was very active in the Historical Society of Jefferson County, West Virginia. He frequently contributed historical non-fiction essays and articles related to the local history of Jefferson County, where Eby spent his formative years.

Eby is survived by one son, David MacDougal, two daughters, Clare Virginia Eby and Lillian Turner deTormes Eby, and two grandchildren, Alexander Tracey Eby MacDougal and Turner Alexis Pascoe.

In the later years of his life, Eby resided in Athens, Georgia where his youngest daughter lives. One year before his death he moved to Connecticut to be near his older daughter.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date for the immediate family.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your local humane society or the Jefferson County West Virginia Historical Society.