Appeared in Winter 1996, Vol. XXII, No. 4
Frederick D. Wilhelmsen died on May 21, 1996, three days after his seventy- third birthday. He was a sailor, a Thomist philosopher and writer, a medic in World War II, an outstanding teacher, a great raconteur, and a very good friend of mine. When I received, on this side of the atlantic, the news of his death from his daughter, it was hard to believe, for she had just written to me barely a week earlier, about how her father had come through with flying colors a two-year battle with throat cancer. My last conversation with her father had been a few weeks earlier. I had called him concerning the translation from English into Spanish of his memoir of life in Avila, Spain. During our conversation, his voice sounded a bit weaker on the transatlantic phone, but I chalked it up to a poor connection. When I hung up, I remember being grateful that he seemed to have lost little of his tremendous vitality.
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