Darrel Lloyd’s passion was for literature, but students, colleagues and family will remember him for his ability to inspire the same passion in others.
“His students will say, ‘I didn’t know I loved literature until I took your dad’s class,’ “ said Jeni Howard, Lloyd’s daughter.
Lloyd, 85, died Nov. 28 at his home in Hastings. He was a professor of English at Hastings College for 36 years until retiring in 2000. Before Hastings College, he taught in Arnold Gothenburg and in Hastings Public Schools.
Lloyd’s passion for literature reached beyond the classroom and into the community. He was well known for his holiday readings — a tradition started by the late Hal Shiffler, another Hastings College professor — inviting people to listen as he read short poems and stories.
“They were wonderful,” Howard said. “They were so engaging; it became part of Christmas traditions for a lot of people.”
Occasionally, Lloyd was joined by his son, Richard, for the readings.
Richard worked alongside his father on the Hastings College English faculty for more than 20 years and during that time served as vice president for academic affairs, dean of faculty and vice president for college initiatives.
He later went on to become president of the College of St. Joseph in Rutland, Vermont, and president of Bryan College of Health Sciences in Lincoln.
Lloyd also enjoyed traveling, initially for educational trips with students and then to guide people in the community. His usual travel spots were in the British Isles and France.
“His curiosity about everything was far and wide. Travel wasn’t just going to a place and learning. It was reading everything he could before he left, learning where he wanted to go, finding those unusual spots,” Howard said.
After retiring, Darrel and his wife, Roberta, continued to travel. Roberta said Darrel’s favorite place to visit was Ireland.
During his time at Hastings College, Lloyd was awarded the Alpha Chi Outstanding Faculty Award three times, gave four presentations for the Invited Faculty Lecture and was president of the faculty senate four times.
Phil Dudley, president emeritus of Hastings College, joined the college faculty in 1973 and worked with Lloyd for decades. Dudley, an economist, said the English department was one of college’s top programs, and Lloyd was the department chair for seven years.
“There are certain centers of excellence at different colleges and universities, and the center of excellence at Hastings was the English department,” Dudley said. “The English department was absolutely marvelous ... but Darrel was an absolute superstar in that department.”
“He was just what Hastings College was all about — do anything to help a student.”
Judee Konen was a student of Lloyd’s and then a colleague after she graduated and began working for Hastings College.
Konen said Lloyd’s pool of knowledge — which extended beyond literature — and genuine care for students made him an outstanding teacher.
“He was a true inspiration to generations of students,” Konen said. “Just an absolutely brilliant man in every way, and cared so much about his students.”
When he retired, Lloyd received an honorary doctor of literature degree.
Hastings College inducted Lloyd into its Pro Rege Society in 2005, thereby bestowing on him the highest non-academic recognition the college awards.
Lloyd was born Dec. 14, 1933, in Maywood. He graduated from North Platte High School and received a bachelor’s degree in English from Kearney State College. He received a master of arts degree from the University of Wyoming.
From high school to two years after college, Lloyd was a successful athlete. He was an all-state basketball player and an all-state American Legion baseball player.
In college, he played basketball — where he was leading scorer for two years — and twice was the conference high jump champion. After college, he played baseball in the Dodgers minor league system.
Dudley said Lloyd’s athleticism didn’t end after college. He recalled a time when students created a student-versus-faculty basketball game in the mid 1970s for a fundraiser.
“I thought to myself, good Lord, this guy is a professor of English and this kind of athlete?” Dudley said. “He looked like a Harlan Globetrotter dribbling the ball; he was amazing.”
A Celebration of Life is planned for 2 p.m. Dec. 15 at First Presbyterian Church.
Lloyd is survived by Roberta, his wife since 1954; daughter Jeni Howard of Hastings; sons Mark Lloyd of Omaha and Richard Lloyd of Lincoln; and 11 grandchildren.