Partner William Stringfellow
62 Commonwealth Ave, Haverhill, MA 01830
342 E 100th St, New York, NY 10029
Eschaton, 314 SE Rd, New Shoreham, RI 02807
Anthony Towne (February 14, 1928 - January 28, 1980) was an author, satirist and poet. Towne was the author of seven book and a contributor to many leading American journals of literature and theology.
Towne was born in Haverhill, MA. In the late 1962 Towne met William Stringfellow at an elaborate Manhattan party honoring the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. Stringfellow was a guest and Towne was a bartender at the party. Both were heavy drinkers and convivial spirits so they made a connection there (no details revealed). A few months later, in early 1963, Towne was being evicted from his apartment and asked for Stringfellow’s legal representation. In one scenario that circulated, Stringfellow neglected to follow through on the case and Towne was stranded on the day of his eviction. Stringfellow wrote another account in which Towne first showed up at his office on the day the eviction was being carried out. Stringfellow helped Towne retrieve some personal belongings and offered him temporary shelter at his apartment. They lived together the rest of their lives. Later Stringfellow wrote that their relationship was “friendship and later community.”
A 14-acres estate on the island was owned jointly with Dr. William Stringfellow, the lawyer and Episcopal theologian with he whom he collaborated on the book "The Death and Life of Bishop Pike." It was at Towne's home that the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, antiwar priest, was taken into custody by FBI agents in 1970. Towne was a member of the Block Island Democratic Town Committee.
Stringfellow’s world came crashing down when Towne died unexpectedly on January 28, 1980. Towne had been nursing a mild case of the flu for a couple days. Stringfellow was scheduled to give a lecture at the University of Western Ontario. Assuming that Towne would rest and recover, Stringfellow traveled to his speaking engagement. However, Towne’s condition worsened dramatically and quickly. The rescue squad took him to the hospital where he died. Stringfellow received an urgent call to return home but did not get to see Towne before his death at the age of 51.
Stringfellow never fully recovered from the loss of Towne. Despite his increasingly incapacitated condition due to severe diabetes and other physical maladies, he would not have anyone else live with him. He wrote A Simplicity of Faith: My Experience in Mourning (1971) as his expression of mourning for Towne. Herein he referred to Towne as “my sweet companion for seventeen years.” He described their relationship as “monastic.” His health continued to deteriorate and Stringfellow died on March 2, 1985.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE