Ernst S. Dick

Ernst S. Dick, professor emeritus of the University of Kansas, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 16, 2014 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.

He was born April 7, 1929 in East Prussia, Germany, the son of Wihelm and Berta Dick, the eldest of five children. Three of his siblings preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Renate Dick, his brother, Günter Dick, and his children, Ina Dick and Arnolf Dick.

He grew up during difficult times in Germany. In 1961, he received his Ph.D from the University of Münster “summa cum laude.” His major fields of interest were Germanic philology and medieval literature, Germanic mythology and folklore, and more contemporary topics such as the German Novelle and Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Throughout his life, he cultivated a great love of classical music, particularly the cello pieces of Mozart and Beethoven.

He held positions at the Johns Hopkins University, and the Universities of Montana, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For 34 years he was a professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Kansas University. He was a recipient of many scholarships, grants, and honors, culminating in an honorary Symposium in 2009. He was an active member of many professional organizations, including the Medieval Academy of America, the International Arthurian Society and the Modern Language Association.

Scores of students, colleagues, and friends have provided eloquent testimony to the fullness of Ernst Dick’s life, his unique contributions to medieval Germanistik, and to the effect he had on so many lives in more than four decades. His professionalism and integrity, his selflessness and his dedication to his students, his profession, and his family, but, above all, his humility and humanity, earned him the highest respect and admiration of all who were fortunate enough to have known him. He will be sorely missed.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial to student scholarships in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures or Visiting Nurses and may be sent in care of the mortuary.

Rauscht ihm dann des Todes Flügel,
Schläft er ruhig unterm Hügel,
Wo sein Bund den Kranz im flicht,
In den Locken seiner Brüder
Säuselt noch sein Geist hernieder,
Lispelt leis: Vergeβt mich nicht!

“Leid der Freundschaft”
[“To Friendship”]

3 Condolences

  1. Winder and Kathy McConnell on March 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Dear Renate, Ina, and Arno,

    Kathy and I are so deeply saddened by Ernst’s passing. So much of what we have enjoyed throughout our life we owe to him, the inspiration he provided to follow a career in medieval Germanistik, his guidance over the better part of a half century, his kindness, and his generosity with his time and erudition on countless occasions. It was an honor to have known Ernst as a mentor and scholar, and a great privilege to have been able to call him a friend.

    Winder and Kathy

  2. Marilyn Ruggles on March 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm


    My thoughts are with you. I know this is a very sad time for you. Ernst certainly had an impressive career. His students were very fortunate to have such an accomplished teacher. It has been such a long time since I have seen you. It would be wonderful to talk with you. When you have time, please give me a call at 841-7909.


  3. Karen Dixon on March 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Dear Renate and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It is so difficult to lose a spouse and a parent. I know he will be sorely missed. Keep him close in your memories. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love, Karen

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