February 20, 2019
Jan Bender, professor emeritus of German, died December 3, 2018, in the California desert, where he was spending the winter with his wife, Anne. He was 78.
Bender taught a wide variety of courses in German language and literature as well as German culture and civilization, translation and interpretation, linguistics, and Latin. He was a master teacher, famous among German students for his clear and demanding teaching style. Bender’s 17-year-long German colleague, Professor Emerita Dinah Dodds, says Bender was “a teacher of language par excellence.” She adds, “He was a generous, well-organized colleague whose creative ideas—for example, incorporating film into German language instruction—enriched the classroom and provided welcome variety.”
In his 17-year career, Bender served on numerous college-wide committees and was respected for his dependable and organized stewardship of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (now World Languages and Literatures) during his several terms as chair.
Outside the college, Bender served in leadership positions with the Confederation of Oregon Foreign Language Teachers, the Pacific Northwest Council of Foreign Languages, and the Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik (German Summer School of the Pacific), run by Portland State University. He was also an active member of the Oregon International Council and the American Association of Teachers of German. Bender gave presentations at numerous regional and national conferences on German language, teaching pedagogy, and linguistics.
Survivors include his wife, Anne; their four children, Dominic, Luann, Martin Bender BA ’93, and Sandi; six grandchildren; and one great-grandson.