In google results on a different person today, I stumbled across a blog by
"The Road Genealogist" with a 21 January 2011 entry that gave his
transcription of a January 1987 obituary for Dr. William Poythress from the
San Jose Mercury News:
William H. POYTRESS
Thursday 28 January 1987
San Jose Mercury News, p. 7B
"William Poytress, Former SJS Prof
William H. Poytress, 95, a professor at San Jose State for 40 years who
headed the social science department in the 1940s and 1950s, died Monday at
a San Jose convalescent hospital after a brief illness.
An economics professor, he retired form the faculty in 1963. He came to
San Jose from San Mateo, where he had taught at San Mateo Junior College.
He was born in Birmingham, England, and came to America in 1905 with his
parents. They settled in the Fresno area and farmed.
Highly regarded as a political scientist, Prof. Poytress was often called
upon by business people and others to speak on current events. He would,
during the four decades he taught at San Jose State, speak out on
controversial issues at the drop of a hat. Many of his public remarks were
reported in the newspapers.
For example, on the evening of Feb. 18, 1941, Dr Poytress was called upon
to address a Junior Chamber of Commerce "Americanism Banquet" in Hollister,
at which he declared, "Let's be realistic. We are in a war now." He was to
prove prophetic. Ten months later the United States was, indeed, in war with
Japan, Italy, and Germany.
Dr. Poytress held degrees from the University of California and did his
post-graduate work at Stanford University. A scholar, he had studied Latin
for 13 years and Greek for five years.
He is credited with estabishing SJS's public relations curriculum in 1948.
Dr. Poytress was well-liked by SJS students, and in 1966, three years
after he had retired, he was named the San Jose State College's homecoming
grand marshal by the SJS student body. On homecoming day he led the parade
through downtown San Jose and presided over half-time activities in the
football clash between Idaho and State.
He was a member of scores of professional organizations during his tenure,
but was also proud of being a leader of the Villages Garden Club. He became
an avid gardner upon retirement, at one time expressing a fondness for the
shovel, a tool he often used during the days he grew up on a ranch near
"I never pull weeds," he reported in a 1978 interview published in the
Mercury News. "I shovel them out. None of this bending."
He is survived by his wife, Maude Horn Poytress of San Jose, a son, Dr.
Richard W. Poytress, a Los Gatos anesthesiologist; nine grandchildren; and
four great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were handled by the Neptune
Society of San Jose.
Memorial services are pending.