Dr. Dorothy Parkander, 93, Rock Island, died October 8, 2018 after a short illness.
Services for Dr. Parkander will be 10 am, Monday at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rock Island. Visitation will be Sunday from 2 pm to 5 pm at the Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home and Crematory, 3030-7th Avenue, Rock Island. Burial will be in Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island.
For nearly fifty years Dr. Parkander was a beloved professor in the English Department at Augustana College.
Her intellectual rigor, the eloquence and elegance of her lectures, her impassioned commitment to words well crafted, and perhaps most of all, the energy and warmth of her smile, were legendary.
Though the demands of her classes could daunt, the love she brought to literature and to her students invariably affirmed. And made stretching the mind and heart fun. Her teaching over her long tenure reached an estimated 40,000 students.
The many honors she accumulated attest to her success. She occupied the first fully-endowed academic chair at Augustana, the Conrad Bergendoff Chair in the Humanities. Later, former students gathered funds to establish a professorship in her name, the Dorothy Parkander Chair in Literature. Shortly before her retirement she was named Illinois Professor of the Year by the Washington, D.C.-based Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the first professor at Augustana to attain that signal recognition.
But in her own estimation, it was students' successes that mattered. Many noted scholars, writers, and teachers credit her example and encouragement for their own subsequent achievements. She cherished those accolades, and equally those of students who went on to other fields but learned the love of literature from her.
Her classes reached beyond academic exercises to explore realms of the spirit, the mysteries and marvels of our shared humanity. Before "equity" and "inclusivity" became cultural concepts, Dr. Parkander practiced them, with the grace-filled hospitality that defined her life.
She was born March 14, 1925, in Chicago, daughter of the well-known clergyman Reverend Joseph Parkander and Hazel Hamborg Parkander. Graduating as valedictorian of Hirsch
High School, she went on to attend Augustana College, again attaining top honors (summa cum laude) on graduation.
She earned Master's and Doctoral degrees in literature from The University of Chicago, where she received one of the University's rare honors Ph.D.s. She returned to teach at Augustana in 1947 and retired in 1996. For several years after retirement she enjoyed taking classes from (and sometimes unintentionally intimidating) her colleagues.
She was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church, Rock Island.
Dr. Parkander is survived by a niece, Joan Rock Clokey, California; two great-nephews and one great niece; and by her adopted family Dr. Ann Boaden, Rock Island; Mary Sirevaag and Drs. Erik and Anita Sirevaag, Granite City, Illinois; Kristofer and Abigail Sirevaag, St. Charles, Illinois, and many loving students and friends. She was preceded in death by her sister, Ruth Parkander Clokey Goodell, by her niece, Ann Helene Clokey, and her nephew, Joseph Arthur Clokey.
Memorials may be directed to the Dorothy Parkander Chair in Literature, Augustana College, or to St. John's Lutheran Church, Rock Island.
Online condolences may be left for the family at wheelanpressly.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Dorothy J. Parkander, please visit our floral store.