Thursday, July 8, 2021
11:00 AM CDT
St. Luke's Episcopal Church
614 Main St.
Racine, WI 53403
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
DeKoven Foundation for Church Work
600 21st St.
Racine, WI 53403
Harvard Divinity School
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Life Story / Obituary
The Rev’d Dr. Travis Talmadge DuPriest, Jr., died unexpectedly on June 29, 2021.
Travis was born August 15, 1944 in Richmond, VA to Travis Talmadge DuPriest, Sr., and Mildred Abbitt DuPriest. He grew up and attended school in Crewe, VA, graduating from Crewe High School in 1962. He attended college at the University of Richmond, Richmond Va., majoring in English. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity and the Areopagitica honorary English society.
Graduating with honors in 1966, Travis began graduate studies in English that fall at the University of Kentucky. An NDEA Fellow, Travis completed his graduate studies, earning a PhD. with a specialization in 17th century English literature. After graduate school Travis continued his studies by entering a Masters in Theological Studies program at Harvard Divinity School. While at Harvard, he was a Rockefeller Fellow and a teaching assistant.
Part of his theological studies was completed at St. Chad’s College at the University of Durham, Durham, England, where he was in residence 1972-1973.
After completing his theological training, Travis was ordained to the Diaconate in 1974, and to the priesthood in 1975.
Travis’s professional academic career began with his appointment as Assistant Professor of English at Carthage College in 1974. His career at Carthage continued for many years and encompassed a wide range of interests. He taught courses in English and American literature, as well as Creative Writing. The courses he developed focused on women writers were among the first such classes in the English department at Carthage. A class he was particularly associated with was his course on Southern Women Writers.
In addition to his teaching activities, Travis had administrative roles, such as department chair, and he was also active in the Honors Program for students, an interest which went beyond the borders of the college, as he served as President of the Upper Midwest Honors Society and also as President of the National Collegiate Honors Council.
He also maintained active scholarship, writing and presenting papers at a number of forums, particularly at meetings of the Conference of Christianity and Literature, and also publishing numerous articles in scholarly journals. He also continued his own educational development with courses of study at St. Edmunds House, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, and at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles CA, where he was awarded a fellowship for the study of the English poet Katherine Phillips. The fruit of his work at the Huntington was the facsimile edition of her poems which he edited and for which he provided an introduction.
Poetry was the voice closest to his heart. He published poems in a number of journals, and also published a number of poetry collections: “Soapstone Wall,” “Summer Storm on the James,” “Noon at Smyrna,” “Hours of the Day,” “Hours of the Day.” Additionally, he published “Picking Up Sticks: Meditations on Rest and Relationship.”
Literature: its study, its explication, its practice—was an enduring love, but Travis was also a devoted servant of the Lord and of his Church. After his ordination to the diaconate, and later to the priesthood, Travis served at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Kenosha, WI. In 1979, he began serving as assistant priest at St Luke’s Episcopal Church, Racine, where he continued to preach, minister, and teach for 17 years.
In 1990, his career took another direction, when he became the Director of the DeKoven Foundation for Church Work (the first person to serve in that capacity). He loved the DeKoven Center: its history, its beauty, its deep roots in Anglican spirituality as embodied in the life of Blessed James DeKoven, and its commitment to social action in the ministry of the Sisters of St Mary, the community of which he served as chaplain. That love bloomed as the foundering property gained new life and vitality under his direction. Combining his love of DeKoven and his literary scholarship, he and his associate, Robert Boak Slocan published in 2002 “To Hear Celestial Harmonies: Essays on the Witness of James DeKoven and The DeKoven Center, The Sesquicentennial Edition, 1852-2002.”
A word about his avocations. Travis loved everything about books: reading them, analyzing them, and also printing them. While in graduate school, he was an apprentice at the King Library Press at the University of Kentucky, a world-renowned hand press under the direction of Carolyn Reading Hammer. His love of fine printing, and his fine craftsmanship led to his establishing his own hand press, The Southport Press, while he was at Carthage College. At The Southport Press, he produced a number of imprints, and also used his equipment and his skills to introduce students to an appreciation of the beauty of fine printing.
Another avocation was his interest in history and genealogy. Travis was a member of a number of heritage organizations: The Sons of the Revolution, The General Society of Colonial Wars, The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, The Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, Sons of the American Revolution, the Mayflower Society, and the Huguenot Society of America, of which he served as national president.
In 1972, Travis married Mabel Ann Benson at the Cathedral Church of St George, Martyr at Crystal Kentucky. They became parents of two children: Travis Edgerton and Benson Hunter, and grandparents of Madeline Rose and Evan Hunter.
Travis has been preceded in death by his parents, Travis and Mildred, and by his nephew, Talmadge Abbitt DuPriest. He is survived by his wife, his sons, his daughter-in-law Maria, his grandchildren, his brother and sister-in-law: Robert and Barclay DuPriest, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Edna and Richard Haase, his sister-in-law Marilyn Benson, his nephew Rand DuPriest and great-niece Sydney DuPriest, nieces and nephews Jim Haase, Ann Hurst, Lisa Humphrey, Laura Pfeufer, Debra Benson, John Pederson, Daniel Pederson, Christine Barta, their spouses and children, and loving friends.
His final hours were blessed with compassionate care by the staff of the Froedtert Neurological Intensive Care Unit and by the ministry of the chaplain.
Interment will be a private ceremony on the DeKoven Center grounds. At 11:00 am, on July 8 a Requiem Mass will be celebrated at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Racine,
In lieu of flowers, Travis has requested that donations may be given to the DeKoven Foundation for Church Work and Harvard Divinity School.