Josephine Trueschler, a retired Notre Dame University of Maryland professor who taught English literature and writing, died of a massive heart attack on June 3 at a local doctor’s office. The Cedarcroft resident was 94 years old.
“She was a key figure on campus when I was president,” said Sister Kathleen Feeley, a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. “She was admired and respected. Her students felt that she was giving them the best possible education. She had witty little sayings that she used to accompany her admonitions or praises.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Echodale Avenue in Hamilton, she was the daughter of Philip Joseph Trueschler, a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad worker, and his wife, Gertrude Cecilia Trueschler, a housewife. She attended St. Dominic’s School and graduated in 1945 from the Institute of Notre Dame.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame University in Maryland and earned her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
She taught in Baltimore City Schools before joining the faculty at Notre Dame University in Maryland, where she taught from 1959 to 1998.
“She inspired students with her passionate outlook on literature and writing, leaving a lasting impression on the many lives she touched,” a university statement said.
Sister Delia Dowling, former dean of the University of Notre Dame in Maryland, said: “She was one of a kind. … I was a math teacher and she taught English and writing. One day we struck up a conversation and came up with a new specialist course, which combined math and English. We introduced students to writing by thinking more logically about their writing and doing creative things at the same time. »
Sister Delia also said, “Everyone loved him. She was the most talked about alumna among the English majors. She paid attention to her students and remembered them.
Miss Trueschler received honors for her teaching. She won the Mullan Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985 and the Elizabeth P. Hoisington Distinguished Alumna Award in 2009.
“For years I had heard stories about him,” Reverend Father F. Robert Leavitt said in his eulogy. “Who hasn’t? She was legendary at Notre Dame University in Maryland, where she taught for 39 years. To her students, she was one of the best teachers they had ever had. …Beyond her sense of organization of lessons and presentation in class and her intellectual gifts that flowed from it, I learned that it was the interest and the consideration that she showed to the students that she taught. These qualities set her apart. »
He then recalled her genius way and how it affected his students: “In your mind, you can remember how she walked into the classroom as the fall classes started wearing a cardigan, and how she put her books and her notes on the desk, and then held your attention for an hour or two simply by her love for the subject she was teaching.
“There was only one Miss Trueschler,” said Father Leavitt, former president of St. Mary’s Seminary and University. “…If you got an ‘A’ grade from Miss Trueschler, you deserved it. But what made it even more special was that someone you thought was smart and good thought you were good too. … [She was] a dear soul who loved books and knew how to turn them into keys to unlock secrets waiting to be awakened in the minds and hearts of his students.
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She ran a book club on the school campus in her retirement.
Miss Trueschler has also contributed essays to The Sun’s opinion page.
In 2002, she wrote of a mild winter with little snow: “We didn’t spend the twilight alone in the snowy streets as darkness fell. The only color then is in the red-streaked lower sky to the west and the weathered rooftops snuggling toward black. The stark, lonely look of things on a snowy evening is nothing but beautiful. Everything smells of biting cold, but sometimes there is a whiff of wood smoke in the air. The feeling of peace, stillness and loneliness pervades everything, and we are never so happy to be alone.
“Coming to Notre Dame has made all the difference in my life,” Miss Trueschler wrote in a letter of appreciation to the school’s president after her retirement. “During my first days in first grade, I was amazed at the world the Sisters had created on this campus. Having been just a kind of reluctant motley student for twelve years, I was amazed to see my work taken seriously. No one seemed to notice my ignorance. There were women who loved their job of teaching and studying with students. They were deeply happy in their vocational life and were happy with us. … I went to a very small university, but I found it to be a very big place, in my time from 1945 to 1949 – less than 500 undergraduates.
Her niece, Jeanne Windsor, said: ‘She was witty but she was also an adventurous person. She loved nature and the seaside and just watching the ocean waves. She loved tobogganing, but at age 50 she took up skiing and tennis.
Survivors include his sister, Gertrude T. Davis of Baldwin, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral mass was held on June 10 at the Carmelite monastery where Miss Trueschler attended church services.