Theodore Hirschfield

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Theodore H. Hirschfield, 70, beloved husband, father, educator and poet, died Wednesday, June 15, 2011, of cardiac arrest in Lehigh Acres, Fla.

Theodore "Ted" was born Helmut Hirschfeld in Prussia, Germany, on May 25, 1941. Born during World War II under the oppression of the Third Reich, his father, a Baptist minister, was ousted from his pulpit. His family, separated by the Nazis, was not to be reunited until 1946. Five years later, in 1951, after many hardships, the family escaped East Germany and immigrated to the United States.

In a youth filled with the pursuit of knowledge and a love of all things literary, Ted received his formal education at Ottawa University, Hollins College and Vanderbilt University. While attending Ottawa University, Ted met the love of his life, Margaret Allen. They were married Jan. 23, 1963, and shared a 48-year inseparable partnership. Together they had one daughter, Ann.

In 1965, Ted joined the Department of English at Southeast Missouri State University, where he proved to be an educator in the purest sense of the word. He was much beloved to his countless students, who would return semester after semester to fill his classes, even when the subject he was teaching was not a required course. During his time at Southeast, Ted also demonstrated his rare gift for making classical poetry and literature relevant to his students. He taught with the passion of a tent-revival preacher, remained true to his convictions, spoke the truth with courage and constantly urged his students to rise above mediocrity in all areas of their lives. His dedication to the pursuit of a higher self served both to inspire his students as well as remind his peers of their own passion for literature, which had lead them to their chosen professions. He will not be forgotten by those who knew him.

Survivors include his loving wife, Margaret Hirschfield of Lehigh Acres; mother, Ann Hirschfeld of Cape Girardeau; mother-in-law, Helen Allen of Rochester, N.Y.; loving daughter, Ann Calvin and her husband, Craig; granddaughter, Cassondra of Perryville, Mo.; brother, George Hirschfield and his wife, Mary; sister-in-law, Janice Lahman and her husband, James; brother-in-law, Thomas Allen and his wife, Keith; five nieces, Grace Trendel and husband Martin, Winkle Ilic and husband Jovan, Lynn Franklin and husband Ken, Shannon Lotz and husband Jamie, and Andrea Siepman; two nephews, Sean Laham and wife Heather, and Rod Allen; as well as one great-nephew, Mihajlo Ilic.

Ted was preceded in death by his father, the Rev. Herbert Hirschfield; his father-in law, the Rev. Thomas Allen; and his grandson, Craig N. Calvin III.

At Mr. Hirschfield's request, no public service or memorial will be held.

The family requests donations be made to local churches or any favorite charity in lieu of flowers and cards.