Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto October 3, 1922 - January 28, 2017
Productive and active until his final days, Lubomír Dolezel passed away on January 28, 2017 at the age of 94 while visiting his beloved Italy. Eldest child of Oskar and Zofie. He is survived by his sister Mája, his children, Lubomír, Marketa and Milena Jr., his grandchildren Alice, Alexandra, Barbora, Jennifer and Andrew, and his great-grandchildren Gabriela and Isabela. He is survived by his wonderful, kind and loving partner Miloslava. He was predeceased by his sisters Dána and Alena.
Born in the Moravian village of Lesnice, Czechoslovakia on October 3, 1922, Lubomír truly lived the 20th century. As a young man of 15 whose home happened to be in the Sudetenland, he witnessed the Nazi annexation of his homeland. Such was his parents' commitment to education that, after the Nazis ordered all Czech higher education closed, Lubomír was sent across a Nazi-controlled border to complete high school. After graduation, he was employed in Sumperk, where, in 1944, he was arrested by the Gestapo for his work with the Czech underground and was imprisoned in Terezin and Zwickau. After the war, he returned to his studies with vigour and received his PhD in 1958 from Charles University in Prague.
Lubomír was a globally renowned linguist, literary theorist, lecturer, author and professor. After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, he immigrated to Toronto where he was Professor at the University of Toronto and served as Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. His self-imposed exile was a crime in Czechoslovakia - he was tried and sentenced in absentia, meaning that he could never return to his homeland while the Communists were in power. He loved Canada deeply - the opportunities, the scenery, the politics.
Among his many achievements, he helped to establish Czech studies at the University of Toronto. He was the author of hundreds of publications and continued to be active in his profession until the very morning of his passing, giving frequent lectures, engaging in his usual vigourous debates with students and scholars alike, writing and publishing. His autobiography was published in Czech to wide acclaim. Lubomír was the recipient of numerous honourary degrees and prizes, including the Czech Foreign Ministry's Gratias Agit Prize for service to the nation and most recently the Wayne C. Booth Lifetime Achievement Award, elected by his scholarly peers.
In recent years, he settled back in Prague and split his time between the Czech Republic and the beautiful Italian town of Malcesine on Lago di Garda. Lubomír loved reading and travel, intellectual debate, history, a fine glass of red wine (or two!), the cottage on Georgian Bay, classical music. He leaves behind a rich legacy.
Lubomír had an incredible will to live and a strong desire to contribute. He lived his life to the fullest. We will miss him deeply. Funeral service will be held in Prague on February 20th. Remembrances may be made to the University of Toronto at www.donate.utoronto.ca/slavic 'in memory of Lubomir Dolezel'
Saturday February 11, 2017
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