June Pachuta Farris, 70

June Pachuta Farris
June Pachuta Farris of Chicago, passed away July 27, 2018. Loving wife of David A.M. Farris for 35 years; Beloved mother of Margaret Helen Farris; Devoted sister of Craig (Kathy) Pachuta; Preceded in death by her parents George and Helen Pachuta. Her colleagues worldwide will miss her sorely.

Pachuta Farris earned a bachelor’s degree in Russian and French from Case Western Reserve University. The Ohio State University awarded her a master’s degree in Slavic Studies. Her professional education in Librarianship was at the University of Denver, where she received a second master’s degree. She began her distinguished career as a Slavic librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For 25 years she continued her career at the University of Chicago, where she was Bibliographer for Slavic and East European Studies and General Linguistics. She was an active member of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. She produced important scholarly bibliographies on women in the Slavic world and for the International Dostoevsky Society. She spoke fluent French, Russian, Czech and conversant with most Slavic languages including Greek.

Pachuta Farris began her service to the library in 1993. She was a dedicated librarian who built a superb collection of Slavic, East European and Eurasian resources at the Library, many of them found nowhere else in the world. She was always willing to share her expertise and was unassuming in her commitment to help scholars and students and to serve as a generous mentor to her Slavic librarian colleagues. Pachuta Farris was known in her field for her quarterly and annual Current Bibliography on Women and Gender in Russia and Eastern Europe, produced since 1999. Collaborating with Irina Liveazanu, Christine Worobec and Mary Zirin, she also produced an invaluable two-volume publication, Women and Gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia: A Comprehensive Bibliography (2007)

Pachuta Farris was valued and recognized by scholars and librarians throughout the world for her expertise as a bibliographer in Slavic and East European Studies and for the generosity she demonstrated throughout her decades of service to the profession.

She served the University of Chicago for more than three decades, most recently holding the title of Bibliographer for Slavic and East European Studies and General Linguistics.

“We are deeply saddened by June’s passing,” said Brenda Johnson, library director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago. “June was a dedicated librarian who built one of the finest Slavic and East European Studies collections in the world. She was a wonderful colleague, both to us at Chicago and to the Slavic librarian community.”

In 2012, the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS), an affiliate of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), recognized Pachuta Farris with its Outstanding Achievement Award. “The entire profession has been enriched by June’s unassuming yet dedicated commitment to helping scholars wherever they work—whether formally, through her many published bibliographies on subjects as diverse as Dostoevsky and Czech and Slovak émigrés, or informally through her willingness to respond to countless queries from individuals,” said the Association in a written statement. She was widely known for her quarterly and annual “Current Bibliography on Women and Gender in Russia and Eastern Europe,” which began appearing in the AWSS newsletter in 1999. She also collaborated with Irina Livezeanu, Christine Worobec, and Mary Zirin, on a two-volume publication, Women and Gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia: A Comprehensive Bibliography (2007), considered an invaluable resource in the field.

Earlier this year, Pachuta Farris learned that she is to be further recognized by the ASEEES at its December meeting as the 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from its Committee on Libraries and Information Resources.

“I feel a deep sense of loss at June’s sudden passing,” Jon Giullian, chair of the committee, wrote. “She welcomed me into ASEEES with open arms and was always happy to share her expertise, her kindness, and lively sense of humor.”

Pachuta Farris spoke French, Russian and Czech fluently and was conversant with most Slavic languages and Greek. She also had a great love of musical theater and memorized all the lyrics to a large number of shows both old and new.

Associate Slavic librarian Sandra Levy, worked closely with Pachuta Farris for the 28 years at the U. of C. Although they began working together in 1989, Levy first met Pachuta Farris in the 1970s, when Levy was a graduate student visiting the University of Illinois where Pachuta Farris was beginning her library career. During that time, Farris began answering reference questions and mentoring Levy.

“It’s who she was,” Levy said. “It wasn’t just that she was a mentor to me – she was a mentor to everyone.”

Levy received an outpouring of tributes from Slavic librarians who shared this experience: “June would tackle each and every reference question as if it were the most important question in the world.”

A Memorial Service was held for Pachuta Farris on July 30. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to St. Paul the Redeemer Church Food Pantry, 4945 S. Dorchester Ave., would be greatly appreciated. For information call 773-545-3800.