Professor Emeritus Sigmund Eisner
Professor Emeritus Sigmund Eisner 92, died at his home on December 18, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Nancy Fereva Eisner; six children, Kirpal Singh Khalsa (Kirpal Kaur), Chip Eisner, Nick Eisner (Jennifer Detoy), Tori Bacal (Rick), Halley Freitas (Bob), Cassie Habeck (Buddy), and 12 grandchildren, Sat Nam (Joseph Sears), Simrit, Michael, Patrick, Nathan, Matthew, Libby, Nancy, Jacob, Samuel, Declan, and Hadley. He is preceded in death by his brother, Vic; sister, Jean Trabant; son, Patrick Johnston, and granddaughter, Hargobind. Dr. Eisner was a Chaucerian scholar of global recognition and was a professor at the University of Arizona for over 40 years. Prior to Arizona, he taught at Oregon State University and Dominican College of San Rafael, California. His many publications include The Tristan Legend: A Study in Sources (1969), The Variorum Edition of Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe (2002), and numerous academic articles. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1947, and received his PhD from Columbia University in 1955. He was the first Fulbright Scholar to Ireland, at The Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin. Sig was born in Red Bank, New Jersey on December 9, 1920, and was raised with his brother in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1939, he enrolled as a freshman at the University of Arizona where he wrote for the Daily Wildcat. He served in the Army during World War II. Sig was a Tucson resident for over 46 years. For 28 of those years his family lived in Indian Ridge Estates. A lifelong traveler, he and Nan visited the far reaches of the globe, and spent several years living in both Ireland and England on sabbatical. Sig and Nan, often with children, visited the major and minor sites on five continents. Post retirement activities included his neighborhood committee and book club. As a lifelong Democrat, he proudly voted in every election. Sig loved a good book, a good pipe, a glass of Irish whisky, and above all, a good joke with family and friends. He will be deeply missed by all who enjoyed the privilege of knowing him. A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at the University of Arizona Modern Languages Auditorium at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Casa de la Luz Hospice. Arrangements by UOFA WILLED BODY PROGRAM.

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Published by Arizona Daily Star from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23, 2012.
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20 Entries
It's good to think back on a kind and generous colleague, and to be reminded of a time when kindness and generosity were public virtues.
Roger Dahood
December 16, 2020
So sad to hear of the death of such a great Chaucerian scholar. I remember our occasional meetings with great pleasure, and send my sincere condolences to Nan.
Ron Waldron
January 24, 2013
My sympathy to the family. Deanna Evans
January 23, 2013
Roger Dahood
January 23, 2013
Sig was my favorite person to see at medieval conferences, always eager to learn and to impart good cheer. I've very much missed him these last few years, and, now that's he's gone, I'll miss him all the more. A great friend.
Andy Kelly
January 23, 2013
Sig Eisner was not only a fine scholar but a man of understanding, a gentle, affable human being. As general editor of the Variorum Chaucer, I have much to thank him for.
Daniel Ransom
January 16, 2013
I met Sig when I was in high school, as a friend of his adopted son Patrick Johnston. I remember being amazed by the bookshelves everywhere. I remember Patrick and I helping to pour spaghetti sauce at a huge party he gave.

What I remember most and best about Sig was his encouragement of me when he learned of my interest in medieval languages. When I published a new edition of Mayhew and Skeat's "A Concise Dictionary of Middle English" (Evertype 2009) I dedicated the book to him. What I said then is still so true:

For Sigmund Eisner, scholar, mentor, builder of astrolabes,
and friend, who encouraged a 16-year-old to pursue a love of languages, and whose expectations of excellence remain an inspiration 30 years on.

Ich habbe boþe luue and þonc
Þat ich her com and hider swonk.

Farewell, dear Sig. I am proud to have known you, and shall be grateful to you always.
Michael Everson
January 16, 2013
It was a privilege to know Sig, to read his work and hear his perceptive exchanges at conferences, and most of all, to sit back with a glass of something, um, inspiring, and listen to his wonderful stories. He will be greatly missed by all Chaucerians. My deepest condolences to his family, his colleagues, and his legion of friends and admirers.
Jo Koster
January 16, 2013
Rick Bacal
January 12, 2013
Such a kind man and great conversationalist (along with wife, Nan). Glad I moved into the neighborhood in time to come to know him and enjoy his company. Will miss him.
Carolyn Redmore
January 10, 2013
My deepest and sincere condolences to Nan and his family. Sig was one of the first people that I met when I first moved to the Oracle Foothills Estate Neighborhood and he made me feel so welcome. His warm and gentle way was backed with such depth and wisdom....He was such an inspiration and I so enjoyed his humor. What a wonderful contribution he made in his life and he will be sorely missed in the neighborhood!
Barbara Schuessler
January 5, 2013
He made the world, and people, better.
Cecilia Haugen
January 3, 2013
Dr. Eisner was the best teacher I ever had, and a wonderful friend. I was absolutely blessed to have known him and learned from him. I will never forget him.
Cecilia Haugen
January 3, 2013
Sorry for your loss. Sig was a part of so many lives. He will be missed dearly.

Wendy Estes
January 3, 2013
Our warmest thoughts and most sincere condolences to Sig's beloved wife Nancy and their children and families. Philip, Sylvia and Jenna Mead treasure our memories of visiting Sig and Nan, meeting family and sharing in the life of an esteemed scholar and the people for whom he refined his scholarly craft and thinking. We will keep 19 Jan as a special day here in Australia. I'll take a reading with my astrolabe and, once again, read from Sig's definitive edition of Chaucer's Treatise.
Jenna Mead
December 28, 2012
Dear Nan and family: Sig was known and loved by us all especially at Indian Ridge Swim Meets - he praised and rooted for every child. We shall deeply miss you, Sig, dear friend.
Win, Winnie, and Jonathan Porcelli.
December 28, 2012
My deepest sympathy to Dr. Eisner's family. With prayer and love to you all.
Kim and Sam Carson
December 27, 2012
Sending condolences to Dr. Eisner's family. I enjoyed every class I took with him; what a wonderful professor he was.
Jill Cemper Shepard
December 23, 2012
My condolences to the family. I greatly admired and enjoyed him as a colleague and professor at the U of A.
Gloria Morton
December 23, 2012
Rick Bacal
December 22, 2012