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Shona Kelly Wray (1963-2012)

It is with sadness that we report the death of Shona Kelly Wray, professor of history at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Professor Kelly Wray passed away suddenly on Sunday, in Florence, Italy. She was 48.

The following is a message from Kate Sisil: “It is with great sadness that we write to share the news that yesterday, May 6, Shona Kelly Wray, beloved professor and mentor, passed away. Having been awarded a prestigious grant, Shona has been on leave this year at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard Research Center for Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. Her project for this grant focused on the family of Bolognese university faculty in the fourteenth century. She had just returned from a conference in Brussels and experienced an aneurysm and cardiac arrest. Emergency personnel were able to restart her heart and she was placed on life support. Her family was with her at the end. Roisin Cossar, a long-time colleague and collaborator of Shona sent this email message:

“I was at the hospital last night with Shona’s family, her son Shane, daughter Alina, her husband Randy, and her sister Maggi. Several of Shona and Randy’s closest Italian friends were also there and were extremely supportive of the family. They all had a chance to be together to say goodbye to Shona, and begin to make some plans for the next days. The only good news in all of this is that Shona wanted to donate her organs, and this has been done successfully. Maggi said that it seemed especially fitting that Shona would be giving new life to Italians.”

I write in hopes that you will share our love of Shona and all the wonderful work she did. She was one of most brilliant people I ever had the honor of knowing and she was a huge influence in my undergraduate years. We will all miss her very much.”

The University of Missouri – Kansas City website also notes her death, adding that “Kelly Wray was a brilliant scholar-teacher, beloved by her colleagues and students. A student of medieval and Renaissance Italy, medieval feminist scholarship, medical history and more, she was one of the brightest lights of her generation.”

Shona Kelly Wray studied throughout the United States and Italy, earning her PhD from the University of Colorado in 1999. Among her numerous written works are two books: Communities and Crisis: Bologna during the Black Death and Across the Religious Divide: Women, Property, and Law in the Wider Mediterranean (ca. 1300- 1800). You can download her full CV here.

Click here to read Shona’s article “Children during the Black Death”

A memorial website is also being set up to commemorate Shona. Click here to vist this site.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Shona’s family.

medievalverse magazine
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