Clayton, Thomas Swoverland Age 90, of St. Paul, died August 9 surrounded by family from complications of prostate cancer. Professor Clayton, Regents Professor Emeritus in English at the University of Minnesota, was a distinguished scholar of Shakespeare, 17th century British Literature and Classics. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Vida (Swoverland) Clayton and his beloved wife Ruth (Madson) Clayton. Tom is survived by Janice Derksen, his partner and companion of 29 years; children, Pamela Clayton Schultz, Katherine Clayton (James McKernon), John Clayton, and David Clayton; grandchildren Dayna Cossetta and Sam Clayton; and great-grandchildren Miles, Thomas, and Ava.

Tom was born in New Ulm, MN, in 1932. The family lived in several towns in Wisconsin including New Richmond and Viroqua before settling in Winona in 1943, where Tom's father managed the JC Penney store. He attended Phelps Primary School and Winona High School, where Tom was remembered by classmates as athletic, good-looking, bright, and "a wizard of words." Tom joined the Boy Scouts and in 1947 was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. Following his junior year of high school, Tom passed the entrance exam to the University of Chicago and was off to start his academic life.

After two years in Chicago, he transferred to the University of Minnesota where he would graduate summa cum laude in English and Latin. Tom was a proud member of the University's Quiz Bowl team, winning eight straight matches broadcast nationally by the NBC Radio Network. It was also at the University, at a popular campus hang-out, the Varsity Inn, that he "first saw Ruth (Madson) and fell in love with her at first sight." At the encouragement of a visiting scholar, he applied and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Wadham College, Oxford (Classical Honour Moderations). After his first year at Oxford, a year apart from Ruth, Tom hatched the only plan he could think of to keep his Rhodes Scholarship and marry her: join the Army. She accepted his proposal and in September 1955 they were married. With his studies paused and the promise of a steady income, he entered the Army in October, training at Ft. Knox, KY as a radio operator. He served honorably with the 3rd Battalion 14th Armored Cavalry at McPheeters Barracks in Bad Herzfeld, Germany, until his discharge from active duty in the fall of 1957. Returning to Oxford, Tom earned his D.Phil. in English Literature in 1960. His teaching career began at Yale, then on to UCLA for six years, before joining the faculty of the English Department at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1968.

During his 47 years at the University, Tom taught 17th century English Literature with an emphasis on Shakespeare, and Classics. He mentored undergraduate and graduate students, helped start and chair the inter-disciplinary Department of Classical & Near Eastern Studies, and served on the University Faculty Senate. He published studies and critical texts on Sir John Suckling, the Cavalier Poets, and Shakespeare, his "scripture." Tom received numerous grants and awards, most notably a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Morse-Amoco Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, the Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education, and the Regents Professorship (1999), the highest recognition given by the University to a member of its faculty.

Tom was revered by many students and colleagues. A force of nature with boundless energy, he was known for his wry sense of humor and sometimes wicked wit, and he delighted in knowing and talking to people from all walks of life. His energy didn't let up in retirement, as he continued mentoring former students and PhD candidates, visiting with friends in the UK and Los Angeles, and writing. He was always up for a pint of ale with mates whether it was at The Founder's Arms (London), The Dirty Duck (Stratford-upon-Avon), or George & the Dragon (Minneapolis). Ever the scholar, his essay on All's Well That Ends Well was recently accepted for publication in Multicultural Shakespeare, about which he said, "it tickles me to no end."

Tom loved the theater, jazz music, film, British television, especially Monty Python, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and Inspector Morse, Doberman dogs, and Golden Gopher basketball as a season ticket holder for over 50 years, but most of all his family. He enjoyed sharing Janice's companionship and the company of his children, seeing them as special in their own way and making sure to spend dedicated time with each. Tom is and will be deeply missed by his family and friends, and all who were fortunate enough to have known him.

A celebration of Tom's life will be held at the University of Minnesota Campus Club the first week in October. Colleagues and friends, please contact the family for details. Organizations Tom has supported, for those wishing to contribute to a memorial, are the Episcopal Homes Foundation, 490 East Lynnhurst Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104; Americans for Oxford, Inc. 500 Fifth Ave, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10110; and Helping Hand USA, 2199 Hilltop St., Southfield, MI 48033.

"If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves knows, what is't to leave betimes? Let be." – Hamlet 5.2