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Ilse Cirtautas

Ilse Cirtautas Obituary
Professor Emerita Ilse Laude - Cirtautas

Professor Emerita Ilse Laude - Cirtautas passed away unexpectedly on July 18, 2019 at Northwest Hospital, Seattle from complications after a routine medical procedure.

She taught Turkic Languages and Literature at the University of Washington for over 40 years before retiring at the age of 88 in 2014. Teaching was her passion and she would rarely miss a day of work, marching up the hill to her office in Denny Hall with, as one colleague fondly remembers, "the adroitness of somebody 25 years younger." As her many students and colleagues will attest, Ilse was a pillar of the UW academic community and was devoted to the University becoming a UW Benefactor (having donated over $100,000 to the University); a tradition that her estate will continue.

She was recently honored at the 2017 Central Eurasian Studies Society conference held in Seattle with a Roundtable dedicated to her work. In addition to her teaching and research, one of her proudest achievements was helping to found the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association with the support of then Mayor Wes Uhlman. Consequently, she will be missed not just at the UW but also in the wider world of Seattle, Tashkent, and Central Asia as a whole. The words of Dr. Marianne Kemp, Associate Professor of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University, will speak for many: "I deeply admired Dr. Cirtautas's energy, drive, and determination: with her decades of work to create connections between Uzbekistan, Seattle, and UW, she was a model to me for thinking big, imagining that some big challenge can be undertaken, and then making it happen. She was instrumental in fostering the careers and academic trajectories of many, many scholars; she leaves a deep and lasting legacy both on Central Asian studies, and in the Central Asian region."

Ilse is survived by her daughter, Arista Maria Cirtautas; her son-in-law, Korre Benson; and two furry "grand-doggies," Wally and Lola that she loved very much.

A Commemoration will be held Tuesday, November 12th at 6:00pm

University of Washington

Denny Hall 313

In lieu of condolences, please consider donating to the

Central Asian Research Fund established in her name


or to the ASPCA.

She will be laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery overlooking her beloved campus.

Hoffner Fisher & Harvey

Guestbook at harveyfuneral.com
Published in The Seattle Times on Nov. 3, 2019
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