Dr. John M. Fein

Portland, ME — Dr. John M. Fein, 92, died at home on August 18 in Portland, Maine. He was born on December 23, 1922 to Louis and Lola Fein in East Chicago, Indiana. He married his high school sweetheart, Lucyle Blumenthal, in 1946, a marriage that lasted 53 years until her death in 1999. 

He received his B.A, magna cum laude, from Harvard in 1944, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1950, moving into a long and distinguished career as a faculty member (Spanish and Latin American Studies) and administrator at Duke University. He served three terms as Chair of the Department of Romance Languages, and also a term as Vice Provost and Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke, and published two important books and many articles on Latin American literature. 

He was awarded a Fulbright Lectureship to Chile, and also held visiting appointments at several institutions including Indiana University, Stanford, and Dartmouth. Throughout his teaching career and well into retirement he maintained a passionate love of literature. His other interests included travel, contemporary Latin American art, and gardening. He had a special love for the family summer house on Thompson Lake in Maine, the site of many happy family reunions. He will be especially missed and remembered for his wit, sense of humor, intelligence, as well as the encouragement he generously shared with his children and grandchildren, and the pride he took in their achievements. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Lucyle, and his brother, George. He is survived by son, David, and wife, Rita, of Greensboro, NC, his daughter, Judith, of Durham, NC, daughter, Jody, and husband, Robb of West Gray, ME, and daughter, Laurie, and husband, Dave, of Portland, ME, as well as grandchildren: Aaron, Dana, Margot, Sarah, Nathan, Jack, and Luisa, and six great-grandchildren.


Memorial contributions may be made to: Amnesty International, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001 or Duke Gardens Endowment, Duke University, Durham, NC 27706

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