Below is Will's obituary that was published in the Athens Messenger:
ATHENS — Will Dewees died peacefully in Athens, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. Born in Chicago in 1939, he was the only child of Margaret Slater Dewees and Francis John Dewees. He enrolled at Purdue University in electrical engineering, but soon realized that his interests and talents went in another direction. He switched to English literature at the University of Illinois and later graduated with a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Will traveled to East Africa at the age of 24 as part of “Teachers for East Africa.” While there, he discovered his love of adventure, his curiosity about other societies and people and their languages and stories. Will was relentless in his desire and ability to connect with people. A fearless traveler, he could converse in Swahili, and Polish, and say “hello,” “thank you” and “How do you say that?” in many languages. At middle age, he learned decent Chinese and enjoyed adventure travel to China every year for more than 15 years, making his last trip this spring. He managed a small flower bulb import business and learned everything he could about his adopted country. Will has close friends all around the world.
Will moved to Athens County in 1971, taught linguistics briefly and later became part of the tutoring center at Ohio University, teaching and supporting many, many young people. For Will, home was always Athens County. He always loved family and community and founded the intentional community, “The Far,” in Ames Twp. in 1973. He and the many other communards lived, plowed and loved the land there. One day Will drove by a field of daffodils on New England Road, planted by a woman many decades ago at a now-abandoned farmhouse. The rest is Will’s history as “The Daffodil Man.”
Will planted and sold wild daffodils online and at the Athens Famers Market for many years, enjoying the social friendly atmosphere of the folks gathering there. He later branched out into “Nekkid Lady” bulbs and got a huge kick out of shouting, “Come and see the Naked Ladies!” at his Farmers Market stall. Will honored the women who had first planted these bulbs in Southeast Ohio, and he told their imagined stories on his Web page.
From childhood, Will loved language, stories, jokes and puns. He self-published more than five books, participated in storytelling sessions at local libraries, and delighted in challenging children with his many riddles and puns. His most recent book of stories, Small Cruelties of Children, was illustrated by his grandson Simon.
Will loved to cook and worked wonders with whatever was available. His menus consisted of dishes from around the world. He cooked up some unusual entrees but they were always delicious, and as he proudly stated, made “in 30 minutes or less.” In the last few years he became fond of cooking Chinese food and often served up a feast of several dishes for his friends and family members.
Will is survived by his loved and loving partner of 30 years, Judy Daso; and by his children with longtime friend, Pat Dewees: son Jesse Dewees, daughter Sarah Dewees Hanna (son-in-law Steve Hanna), grandchildren Tenisha Dewees and Simon Dewees-Hanna; and by his many friends and extended families.