Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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Diane Ruth Pretzer (1930-2017)

BGSU professor lived to travel, make friends


Diane Ruth Pretzer, a former Bowling Green State University professor, died Saturday at the Bridge Hospice Care Center in Bowling Green. She was 87.

She died from an auto-immune disease that attacked her kidneys, her husband, Wallace “Wally” Pretzer, said.

“She was a very kind, generous person,” Mr. Pretzer said. “She was always willing to make friends.”




She was born in Chicago to Claracie and Samuel Goodrich on Nov. 5, 1930. She grew up traveling, Mr. Pretzer said, with lengthy teaching experiences in South America shaping her career as a professor.

“We had an immediate common interest in internationalism,” Mr. Pretzer said. “The internationalism kept going in our lives.”

She began teaching Spanish language and Latin American literature and culture courses at BGSU in 1962, one year before Mr. Pretzer began teaching in the English department. They married on July 26, 1966, in Basel, Switzerland, while Ms. Pretzer was running the university’s foreign language abroad program. They got married on a Tuesday, because it was the only day of the week that the courthouse did English wedding ceremonies, Mr. Pretzer said.

They spent their lives traveling together extensively through Europe and China, making friends along the way everywhere they went.

“We had many friends in China,” Mr. Pretzer said. “There have been many calls from former students in China.”

They had no favorite travel destination, he said, except for wherever the last place they visited was. That said, they were regular attendees of the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario.

“We were very fond of Stratford,” he said.

Ralph Wolfe, another retired BGSU professor and friend of the Pretzers, said he enjoyed traveling with the family for the festival.

“She was a very pleasant person, and a great entertainer,” he said.

Ms. Pretzer retired in 1990, after serving as the chair of the romance languages department for eight years. In retirement, her traveling only intensified, including a lengthy trip through Ireland and a recent Scandinavian cruise.

She had no children, but Mr. Pretzer said their travels brought them close to many people.

“We had a lot of honorary children and grandchildren because of our willingness to make friends,” he said.

There are no funeral services scheduled, and her body will be donated for medical research.

“Our philosophy of life is, death is a part of life,” Mr. Pretzer said. “The focus was on helping medical science.”

Mr. Pretzer recommends contributions to the Pretzer International Travel Fund through the BGSU Foundation, which provides a scholarship for foreign language students traveling abroad.

Contact Zack Lemon at zlemon@theblade.com419-724-6282, or on Twitter @zack_lemon.

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