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Yale 62

John Calvin Goldthwaite

John Calvin Goldthwaite, 79, died January 2, 2020 at Valley View in Goshen, N.Y. following a protracted illness. He is survived by his daughter, Jessica Wren Goldthwaite, his former wife and good friend, Leila Goldthwaite, family and many old friends. John grew up in Melrose, Massachusetts, the son of Clyde and Marie Goldthwaite. He graduated from Phillips Andover Academy in 1958. At Yale he was a Scholar of the House in his senior year. He graduated in 1963 and went on to serve in the US Coast Guard reserves. He then moved to New York City to work in publishing first at Prentice Hall and then at McGraw Hill doing editorial work. But his real love was writing, so he free-lanced for several years. He married Leila Davis in May 1971, settling in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY. In 1973, Jessica was born. John was a natural storyteller, a poet, and a lover of nature. This combination served him well as he wrote several children’s books for the publisher, Harlin Quist. One of these, The Kidnapping of the Coffee Pot (under the pseudonym Kaye Saari), was mentioned as one of the “notable” children’s books of 1975 by the New York Times. An article he wrote for Harper’s Magazine led to a contract with Oxford University Press which published his The Natural History of Make Believe in 1996, which in turn won the Harvey Darton Award in 1998. In 1999, while living and writing in New York City, John suffered a heart attack, which left him severely disabled for the next 20 years, unable to write. One of his college friends, on learning of his death, remembered John as a “wonderful, honest, creative, funny, talented friend.” He will be missed.


  — John Harger Stewart