In Memoriam: Helen Pittas Damico, 1931-2020

Helen Damico, professor emerita of medieval language and literature at the University of New Mexico, died from complications of the COVID-19 virus on April 14 at an assisted living facility in Akron, Ohio. She was 89 years old.

A native of Greece, Dr. Damico immigrated to the United States at the age of 6. She was a graduate of the University of Iowa and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Old English and medieval studies at New York University.

Dr. Damico began her teaching career at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York System. She also taught at the University of Minnesota. In 1981, she was appointed to the faculty at the University of New Mexico, where she taught for 31 years. In 1986, Dr. Damico founded the university’s internationally recognized Institute for Medieval Studies. She served as its director until 2002.

Professor Damico was the author or editor of several books including her latest book Beowulf and the Grendel-Kin: Politics and Poetry in Eleventh-Century England (West Virginia University Press, 2014). She retired from teaching in 2011.


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