Spanish Professor Dr. William Deaver Passes Away

Madison Watkins, Editor-in-Chief

On Monday afternoon, Gamble Hall was mournfully quiet as students and faculty members walked to the center of the main hallway to observe the memorial put up in honor of Dr. William ‘Bill’ Deaver, who passed away suddenly on April 28.

He was 58 years-old.

He had a Ph.D. from Florida State University, a M.A. from University of Virginia and a B.A. from University of Virginia.

His teaching interests included Spanish, Spanish American Literature and Culture, U. S. Hispanic Film and Literature.

The Foreign language department put up the memorial on Monday morning so students could pay their respects to his wife Dr. Ana Torres and their family.

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The memorial for Dr. Deaver in Gamble Hall. Photo by Madison Watkins.

Students of Deaver enjoyed hearing funny stories about his childhood in Virginia and his experiences studying abroad.

“I went to study abroad with him Costa Rica. I enjoyed seeing him every single day. He looked out for us. We started calling ourselves Deaver’s kids because he was like a dad. We looked out for him like he was our dad,” said Spanish major Briana Benton.

“I really enjoyed the stories about him growing up, he seemed like a crazy kid. You could tell everything that he’d been through, he put it into his work. He knew humor was a way to get to us,” said marine biology major with a minor in Spanish AngelNoelle Chrisentary.

Writing major and english minor Emily Dietrich said, “he took on a lot of fake aliases [when studying abroad].”

“He used to pretend that he couldn’t speak English so they would buy him dinners. He backpacked all through Europe, literally with no money. He just hitchhiked the entire way. He lived with an old lady for like 6 months.”

“I can’t think of anything in particular, I just loved the class in general. He was just a jolly guy. I think he was the best at sympathizing with students who weren’t good at it, like really encouraging,” said history major Bruce Crosby.

“One time he pretended to be a country rock star.”

Crosby hopes to declare a Spanish minor partly because of Dr. Deaver.

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Students writing their thoughts on the memorial for Deaver’s family. Photo by Madison Watkins.

“He had the best/worst dad jokes,” added Benton. “He was super country; he had a very strong twang. When he spoke Spanish, his southern twang went away.”

Most of the students found out about Deaver’s passing by coming into Gamble and seeing the memorial.

“We just found out by walking in the building and seeing this poster. No one told us anything,” said biochemistry major Chimaobi Ndubuisi.

“He was my Spanish 2002 professor this semester. I was supposed to be in class with him at 2:30. I found out when I came into the classroom for class today. I was waiting by his office for the oral exam,” said Crosby.

“I just wish the communication was better. I wish they would’ve first of all, sent out an email schoolwide letting them know of his passing. And then if you had his class, to say come during that class time where we will offer grief counseling. We have several that would’ve been more than happy to be in his class right now. There has to be something. Armstrong’s not like Georgia Southern. I knew where he lived, I knew his life story,” said Dietrich.

As of now, Georgia Southern has not formulated clear protocols regarding campus notifications of deaths.

Stephanie Molina, the coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, would like to say to Dr. Torres, “I would want to give her my deepest condolences. I would like to wish her peace in these hard times for her and her son. Dr. Deaver’s work and his drive will always be something that will push our own drive in working our students so he will never be forgotten.”

“My condolences. I honestly wish I had the words to take her pain away,” said Benton.

“He was my Spanish 2002 professor this semester. We were supposed to have his class at 2:30 p.m… I had him twice. I took him a second time because I liked him so much. In my 1001 class, I had taken a semester off and I wasn’t gonna come back to school and he told me I could do anything. He said that I was smart and that I was capable,” said Dietrich of one of her favorite memories of Deaver.

According to the Georgia Southern website, a memorial service for family will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 1 for family at Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors’ Hodgson Chapel. There is an online guestbook at foxandweeks.com.

Students can pay their respects at the memorial in the main hallway of Gamble Hall.

 

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