Dr. Dieter Sevin, former chairman of the department of Gemanic and Slavic Languages at Vanderbilt University, died of pancreatic cancer on July 29, 2012, at his home in Brentwood, Tennessee. He was 73. A specialist in language pedagogy and the literature of the former East Germany, Dr. Sevin published extensively and taught German language and literature for over 44 years. Born on November 5, 1938, near Wittenberg, Germany, Dr. Sevin decided to follow his dream when emigrating by boat from Bremerhaven to New York. With little money to his name, his enterprising spirit and work ethic enabled him to finance his undergraduate studies at San Jose State College. After getting married in 1963, he and his wife moved to Seattle to pursue graduate studies at the University of Washington. He received his Ph.D. in German and History in 1968 and then accepted a position at Vanderbilt University. In 1969, Dr. Sevin was instrumental in launching the Vanderbilt-in-Germany program with Regensburg University. In subsequent years, he served as the program’s director and helped establish a summer exchange program with the Free University of Berlin. Convinced that travel, studies, and/or work in different countries widens perspectives and enriches lives, he saw himself as somewhat of a cultural mediator between the United States and Germany and worked enthusiastically to enable others to participate in intercultural exchange. He also was active in Nashville’s Sister City partnership with Magdeburg, Germany, and the German-American Chamber of Commerce. To those who knew him, he was a unique human being, always positive and willing to help. Quick with a laugh and sound advice, he was always ready to listen, mentor, and inspire. He loved his work, his colleagues and students, enjoyed traveling, reading, music and the arts, but most of all, he cherished spending time with family and friends. He was a devoted husband to his wife of 49 years, Ingrid Sevin; a dedicated father to his daughters, Sonja Sevin and Karen Bryan, as well as his son-in-law, Charlie Bryan; and a loving grandfather to Caroline and Anna Bryan. He will also be very much missed by his brother Dr. Bernd-Uwe Sevin and his family, as well as the family of his sister Uta DeBoer. A memorial service will be held at 1:30 PM on Sunday, August 5, at the First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, 4815 Franklin Pike, with a private burial to follow at Harpeth Hills Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be held the evening before from 4-6 PM in the Cheek House at First Presbyterian Church. The family would like to thank Dr. Ralf Habermann and the entire staff of Odyssey Hospice for their compassionate care and support. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the “Dieter and Ingrid Sevin Undergraduate Research Fund, Vanderbilt University, Gift Processing Office, PMB 407727, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37240-7727”. Contributions will enable students to pursue various kinds of international study, an experience close to Dr. Sevin’s heart.
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CRAWFORD MORTUARY & CREMATORY, 615-254-8200