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David Wham

May 25, 1937 - May 11, 2020

David Buffington Wham of Evanston, Illinois died at Glenbrook Hospital, in Glenview, IL from complications of the Covid-19 Virus on May 11, 2020. He was born on May 25, 1937 in Evanston, IL, to the late Hon. Benjamin and Virginia (Buffington) Wham. In his early years he lived in Winnetka, IL, where he attended North Sh…read more

David Buffington Wham of Evanston, Illinois died at Glenbrook Hospital, in Glenview, IL from complications of the Covid-19 Virus on May 11, 2020. He was born on May 25, 1937 in Evanston, IL, to the late Hon. Benjamin and Virginia (Buffington) Wham. In his early years he lived in Winnetka, IL, where he attended North Shore Country Day School and Skokie School.
David was born with both creative and athletic talents. He started playing the piano by ear at 2-1/2 years, and later was taught to play the pipe organ by the organist at Christ Church in Winnetka. He loved the music of E. Power Biggs. He made small, intricate sculptures of pipe organs. He played baseball and knew all the baseball statistics when he was a boy, fished in the Skokie Lagoons and rode his bike everywhere. He was an Episcopalian all his life and attended church every Sunday wherever he was, whenever he could. He was a man who could talk on practically any subject with intelligence and humor,and did so until the day before he died.
He graduated in 1955 from The Brooks School in North Andover, MA. From Brooks School he was offered admission to Harvard University, and graduated Cum Laude in 1959. After college he was drafted and spent three years in the Army. In 1963 he accepted a position as Instructor of Creative writing and English at the University of Wyoming in Powell, WY, and several years later at Southern Illinois University, where he earned a master’s degree.
David had two loves during his lifetime; his first were his children and grandchildren, his second were politics and writing. In the 1960s he became a speechwriter and worked for several Democratic campaigns. In 1969 he became a Legislative Assistant in the U.S. Congress in Washington, DC. In later years he worked for the Adlai Stevenson Gubernatorial Campaign, and then as a speechwriter for the Dawn Netsch Gubernatorial Campaign.
Among his published works are “A Wave of Bright Boys” (1994); “The Comic Genuflection” (1984); “My Farewell to Bohemia” (1968), among others. He was a contributor to a think-tank publication housed at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 1994 he was a Recipient of the Fiction Award, Columbia Pacific University.
While at Harvard as an undergraduate, David was a member of the Spee Club and the Hasty Pudding Club. Since 1986 he has been a member of the Chicago Harvard Club. He has been an interviewer of prospective Harvard students since 1984.
David will be greatly missed by his daughter Rachel of Evanston, IL and Rachel’s children Alexandra and Jacob; his son Colonel Benjamin Wham II, USAF, Retired, and his wife Ellen of Charlottesville, VA and their children Jennifer and Elizabeth; his sister Barbara (Wham) Waite and her husband Charles of Boston, MA; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A celebration of David’s life will take place in summer in the Elmwood Cemetery in Centralia, Illinois. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rice Child & Family Center, to the attention of Sarah Vitzhum, Program Director, 1101 Washington St, Evanston, IL 60201. For more information please call 847-901-4012 or visit David’s memorial at www.smithcorcoran.com

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