Passings: Ruth Schattner

A field of flowers at sunset

Former York University professor Ruth Schattner died on Aug. 10. She was a longtime faculty member in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies’ Department of French and Department of Humanities.

Ruth Schattner
Ruth Schattner

Schattner, born in Vienna, Austria in 1930, emigrated to New York City with her family in 1948. She attended Hunter College, and earned a bachelor’s degree in French in 1951. She moved to Canada shortly thereafter to study French at the PhD level at the University of Toronto, where she earned a scholarship. She was awarded her PhD in 1963 and accepted a role at York University in 1964 – first at Glendon Campus and then at the Keele Campus.

She was hired on to teach French language and literature, but was later cross-appointed to the Humanities Division. She was known for making her classes exciting by including music, art and theatre.

With a strong belief in the value of liberal education for all, Schattner accepted a part-time position at York University’s Atkinson College where she taught evening classes in addition to her regular faculty appointment. She continued in this role at Atkinson even after her retirement from full-time teaching.

Off campus, Schattner spent her time supporting and enjoying the arts – plays, concert and performances, as well as art and live music. For several years she served as docent at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

She is survived by daughters Evelyn Straka (Blake Landor), and Michèle Straka (Christopher Klugman), and son Alexander Schattner.