Loving professor, wife passes away

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Linda Smith, News Editor

English professor Dr. Helen de Alvarez passed away at home from cancer on April 25, 2013. She was 79 years old.

Dr. Helen de Alvarez,  loving and long-time UD professor, wife and mother  Photo courtesy of the UD Year Book archives
Dr. Helen de Alvarez, loving and long-time UD professor, wife and mother
Photo courtesy of the UD Year Book archives

According to the Dallas Morning News, de Alvarez was born in London, Ontario and received a B.A. Honors degree and M.A. philosophy degree at the University of Windsor, before receiving her M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics and Literature at the University of Dallas. de Alvarez began teaching English at UD in 1967, and taught until March of this year.

“[She] was a much loved wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, and friend,” English department chair Dr. Gregory Roper said in an announcement to the UD community. “She was always a kind, gentle, and intelligent presence in our community,” Roper added. “She was a kind, gentle teacher who loved her students with a deep, rich heart and challengedthem to their best work.”

Associate professor of English Dr. Andrew Moran called de Alvarez “an astonishingly gentle soul,” while fellow English professor Dr. Theresa Kenney remembered de Alvarez’s kindness, even towards Anna Maria, Kenney’s daughter.

“She was so kind, so gentle, and so smart,” Kenney said. “Even after she was diagnosed with cancer, she would bring in little presents for Anna Maria.”

The Mass for Christian Burial for de Alvarez was celebrated in the Church of the Incarnation on Monday. Family, friends, faculty and students filled the church for the Mass, celebrated by English professor Fr. Robert Maguire, O. Cist., who said he had known de Alvarez for 46 years, and that she had exemplified what Augustine teaches about faith through understanding.

Memorial contributions can be made to the University of Dallas scholarship fund. de Alvarez is survived by husband Leo Paul, son Alexis and grandchildren Katherine and Benjamin.

Krista Shaw contributed reporting to this article.

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