In Memory

Deborah Griggs

Deborah Griggs 1951-2018

Dr. Deborah Griggs, our colleague and friend, died from cancer on September 4th after months of burdensome treatment in the course of which she showed remarkably unaffected grace, courage and lightness of heart. She was 66 years old.

She began at UMUC in 1981 when she was 30 after completing her B.A and M.A. degrees from San Francisco State. For the next 35 years, besides UMUC assignments all over Europe and Africa, she taught on U.S. Navy ships in Sardinia, returned to the Bay Area for work with the Goethe Institute, wrote and published novels and poems, completed her doctorate at the European Graduate School in Switzerland, wrote on media culture for web sites in Berlin (see her published thesis and novels at ). See also: She also married Eberhard Hoegerle, and had her daughter Erin Hoegerle, currently a producer for Hessische Rundfunk in Frankfurt. 

Deborah was practically born in Haight Ashbury as a child of the sixties and her politics led her to the arts and to a personal style of teaching, preferring the conference style over the lecture. This made her brilliant in the online setting to go with her genius for the technology itself. She was known as a popular and admired teacher, winner of the Drazek award, and to her colleagues a friendly and constructive partner. In fact, she was an early member of the Faculty Advisory Board and one of the original writers of the FAC constitution.

She always found a boyfriend, and her circle of women friends was large.

She lived with a fierce will and a full enjoyment of life. I think she did everything on her list. You can say it was a complete life. 

Bravo, Deborah. 



[contributed by colleague Bill Kerr]

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09/11/18 01:53 PM #1    

Patrick Quinn



I think Bill Kerr has captured the essence of Deborah. I can only empathize her colleagiality and kindness. Back in 1988 members of the Maryland English department decided to put their heads together and write a grammar text for our students. The book eventually came out after a good deal of hard work. I particularly re:mber Deborah’s determination to make this book both helpful and meaningful text for the European division students. 

Working with Deborah was a great experience, and she gained all the member’s admiration for her contributions. From then on, we had a good time when we met at meetings and outings with the Maryland people. Always good fun and generous, I shall remember her with admiration and respect. We shall miss your presence.  Patrick Quinn 


09/11/18 03:42 PM #2    

Ronald Schlundt

Deborah was not only a fine teacher and scholar  but also a  strong supporter of the faculty association as we worked to create a system of shared governance in the European Division.  She will be greatly missed  

Ron Schlundt 

09/11/18 03:50 PM #3    

Deborah Tevis Noelting

I've was fortunate to have known Deborah at UMUC and after. She was everything described here, and more...I think those that knew her will agree that our lives are a little more fractured now that she has moved on with journey we all undertake but know nothing about. Godspeed Deborah!

09/11/18 05:55 PM #4    

Forrest Studebaker

Even as with this fine person whom one did not know personally, one is always struck by what a very fine and rare group are the Overseas Marylander.

09/11/18 10:29 PM #5    

Benjamin Terry Williams



I just received a shock when i realized the new In Memory entry was for Deborah. Human nature is a funny thing. I was hoping the departed person was someone I did not know and care for. Deborah, however, was very likable due to her enthusiasm, warmth, and big smile. I am saddened by her death.  I admired her interest in life and scholarship, and her drive for continual learning, the Holy Grail of we Gypsy Scholars with UMUC. I first met Deborah in the European Division around 1986. We were English faculty colleagues. I last saw her about 6-8 years ago stateside at a UMUC faculty development seminar. To be honest, I always hoped I'd get to know her better. She was charming and the kind of person one would like to spend time with. I am sorry that cancer took her life too soon, but I know she lived her time here on Earth to the fullest. I appreciated Bill's well-written and fitting In Memory snapshot of Deborah. She remains an inspiration to me and a reminder to make the most of my time here. This life will not last forever...





06/29/20 02:55 PM #6    

Joshua Mackles

One of the unfortunate aspects of teaching for the University of Maryland’s European Division was its lack of a campus, a place for faculty members to meet up, make friends, gripe about our assignments, make fun of our administrators, and bemoan our students’ lack of knowledge. However, back in the day, one weekend a year Heidelberg’s PHV became an impromptu campus on the occasion of the annual faculty meeting, providing its itinerant professors, scattered throughout the European continent as we were, our one chance to mingle with faculty members from other disciplines. And it was at such a faculty meeting about 15 years ago that I first met Deb.


I mention this because although I considered Deb one of my best friends, I don’t think we ever met in person more than a handful of times. I still remember the first time we met. It was at one such faculty meeting, after a pause in the meeting’s introductory remarks. I split, as I often did, to get some coffee and wait it out until lunch was served. I went to the Lexington, I think it was called, one of those terrible  PHV food establishments. And that’s where I ran into Deb. 


We bonded almost immediately. She was from San Francisco, where I had lived and taught for about 8 years during the 80’s. We knew all the same Bay Area places and shared a love of SF’s Haight Street and Berkeley’s Telegraph Ave. To my great surprise, it turned out she had graduated from SF State University, where I had begun my teaching career only a few years later.


Through phone calls and Skype, emails and Facebook messenger, we basically continued one long endless rambling 15 year conversation, covering topics from California politics to pop culture (She was a total Dr Who fangirl.) to technology (She loved her Apple products and must have provided unofficial tech support to half the European division.) to her cancer. 


We talked a lot about the various times she’d spent in hospitals. Having myself spent too many months to mention in Belgian and German hospitals (Deb even visited me during one two-week stay at an Aachen hospital.) I felt I had a special insight to what she was going through. And so we shared hospital stories, both funny and sad.


Deb was a brilliant thinker, levels above me, and I will freely admit I found her book on Narrativity impenetrable. But when I think of Deb I will always remember her not as the great intellectual she was, but for the joy she derived from hanging out with the group of male misfits she had collected around her, of which I was proud to be a member. She could go from being a serious thinker to being one of the boys without missing a beat. Joking around with us seemed to mean as much to her as her work on her PhD thesis, while her extremely annoying habit of quoting Bugs Bunny made her even more endearing to us all.


Deb was always clear-eyed about her cancer. I admired that about her most of all. But her determination to finish her life’s work before leaving us struck me at the time as an unnecessary drain on her limited resevoirs of strength. Now I see it differently. Working to the very end to finish editing her old novels while at the same time continuing to write poetry, all from her hospital bed during her last days on planet earth, she left us something substantial to hold on to beyond our fading memories. Her courage at the end was remarkable, her sense of humor invincible to the last breath. I still miss you, Doc! RIP

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