‘Creative and innovative’: UC Berkeley English instructor Eva Fuchs dies at 73

obituary eva vivian fuchs berkeley
Judy Wells/Courtesy

UC Berkeley Fall Program for Freshmen, or FPF, English instructor Eva Fuchs died May 7 in her home.

Born in 1947, Fuchs received both her bachelor’s degree and her doctorate from UC Berkeley, according to Judy Wells, a friend and colleague of Fuchs’. Wells added that Fuchs specialized in 19th century British literature and taught English and writing at several universities before returning to UC Berkeley as an English instructor.

“I never failed to be impressed not only with her warmth and concern for her students — her aware of their individual needs — but how constantly creative and innovative she was in her practice,” said Dorothy Gilbert, Fuchs’ friend and an FPF English instructor, in an email.

According to Gilbert, Fuchs was passionate and would often work to the point of exhaustion. Gilbert added that Fuchs would dedicate time to tutoring students while teaching two courses on campus and another two courses at Cal State East Bay, even in the summer.

“I loved my chats with Eva and really valued the care she showed toward her students and colleagues,” said FPF Director Tara Young in an email. “What a true loss, for the program and for all of us.”

Gilbert added that Fuchs was a self-proclaimed “news junkie,” and often read websites such as that of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that documents locations of extremist groups and instances of hate crimes in the United States.

Fuchs taught literature of displacement and women’s literature, and her childhood contributed to her passion for discussing and teaching social issues, according to Gilbert.

“Her formative years were at a period after the war when anti-Semitism was truly rank in this country,” Gilbert said in the email. “As a Jew she felt that deeply, applying her experience to a regard for other peoples’ suffering.”

Many of her friends remember her as an advocate for women and the compassion she had for the issues that underrepresented communities often face.

Outside of classes, Fuchs would also tend to a garden nearby her home, according to Gilbert.

“She was a devoted and expert gardener,” Gilbert said in the email. “She made of a tiny plot beside her house a magical little garden, bursting with flowers of all kinds.”

Fuchs persevered in the face of adversity, Gilbert said, adding that Fuchs’ passion for teaching helped her overcome whatever challenges she encountered.

“She did it out of passion and commitment, out of concern and love for others,” Gilbert said in the email.

Fuchs is survived by her son, Tefari Ezequiel Abel Casas.

Contact Kelly Nguyen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KellyNguyen_DC.