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Otto Reinert

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Otto Reinert Obituary
Otto Reinert

University of Washington

Professor Emeritus

Otto Reinert

On October 19, 2013, after a long illness Otto Reinert died peacefully at home with hospice care, surrounded by his family. He was a University of Washington Professor in the Department of English from 1956 to 1996. An 18-century specialist and interpreter of "the Age of Reason," his lively if wry inquiries often focused on "reason's" current results as displayed in the dramas of Ibsen, Strindberg, and Brecht. He edited a series of popular drama anthologies (Little Brown) ranging from Sophocles to Becket. After he retired from the university he was an enthusiastic supporter of adult education at the Seattle Lifetime Learning Center, where he taught from 2005 to 2010.

Born in Moss, Norway in 1923, he was the son of Ebba Munthe-Kaas and Odd Reinert and the youngest of three siblings. They moved to Oslo in 1932. He was a gymnasium (high school) student in 1940, the year of the WW II German invasion of Norway. He began at the University of Oslo in 1942, but the Nazis closed the university fairly quickly because of "student rebellions." He was arrested twice during the war. As a gymnasium student he was caught secretly collecting funds for the Teachers Union in Oslo. Its teachers had resigned to protest Quizling's attempt to re-group them as a Nazi union. Quizling's project failed; Reinert was released after ten days. But towards the end of the war as a Norwegian Resistance member he was arrested again and remained at Norway's notorious Grini Concentration Camp until the war ended.

For his resistance work he was rewarded by the Norwegian and American governments with a Marshall Funds full scholarship to Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 1945. There he graduated summa cum laude with a BA in 1947 and began graduate school at Yale, where he received his PhD in 1952. He was an Assistant Professor at Wheaton College in Norton Massachusetts from 1952-56 and came to the University of Washington as an English Assistant Professor with his wife Dorothy Ann Grandy and their five sons in 1956. As a Professor he later also taught as Visiting Professor at the universities of Oslo and Bergen.

He is survived by his wife Patricia Hurshell; four sons, Chris and daughter-in-law Terryanne, Larry and daughter-in-law Hilary, Erik and daughter-in-law Ruthie, and Ralph Reinert and divorced daughter-in-law Diane Glenn; a step-daughter, Jennifer Hurshell and husband Tom Hobson; step-son Michael Hurshell and wife Lieselotte Theil; five grandchildren (Ian, Matthew, Thea, Kate, & Lucas Reinert) and a step-granddaughter (Josephine Hurshell Hobson); Chris and his wife live in Hokksund, Norway; Michael and his in Dresden, Germany; son Arne died in a mountain climbing accident in 1996; Arne's remarried wife Debora Reinert & Charles Walbridge live on Bainbridge Island. The others live and work in or near Seattle. A sister, Wenche Eide, 93, her children, Ellen and Lars Eide, and grand-and great-grandchildren, live in Oslo.

A private family and two shivah memorials took place in Seattle in October and early November. May his memory be for a blessing.

Remembrances may be made in Otto's name to the Seattle Group Health Hospice, U.W. English Department, Seattle Lifetime Learning Center, and Congregation Beth Shalom Education Fund.

You are invited to sign Otto's on line Guest Book: www.Legacy.com.
Published in The Seattle Times on Nov. 10, 2013
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