Former Old Greenwich resident Edwin Redkey died on Friday, June 10, due to complications from Parkinsons disease. He was 79 years old.
Redkey was born in Washington, D.C., and earned his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle, a master of divinity degree from Princeton University and a Ph.D in American Studies from Yale University.
During his career in education, Redkey served as an administrator, a scholar and a teacher. He was one of the founding administrators of the College at Purchase, SUNY, serving as its first dean of students and later as the dean of humanities and a professor in the History Department. He also taught at Yale University, Middlebury College and the University of Tennessee. He helped found the field of African American studies and made significant scholarly contributions to it. One of his works, A Grand Army of Black Men, served as one of the sources for the movie Glory, which told the story of the first black regiment to fight in the Union Army during the Civil War.
During the 1950s, Redkey was a naval intelligence officer and carrier-based pilot. In 1962, he led an experiment-in-international-living group in Nigeria. Later he was a lecturer in Nigeria, Liberia, India, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania.
In the 1980s, Redkey served on the board of trustees of Whitby School in Greenwich and served as board president from 1983 to 1986. Both of his children graduated from the school.
Redkey is survived by his wife, Nancy Jenks Redkey; a son, David Redkey and his wife, Hyeyong Park Redkey; a daughter, Elizabeth Redkey and her husband, Shigeru Hosoyama; two sisters, Ann Kennedy, and Sue Redkey and her husband, Dan Cushing; a brother, William Redkey and wife, Soozi, and a granddaughter.
A memorial service will be held this summer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Parkinsons Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018.
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