Michael D. Cherniss, of Lawrence, Kansas, passed away on April 1, 2013, at the Baldwin Health Care and Rehabilitation Center.
Mike was born April 7, 1940, in Los Angeles, CA, the eldest child of Edward H. and Blanche B. Cohen Cherniss.
His sister, Terri Ann, predeceased him. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Jane Garrett, his brother, Roger (Diane), two nephews, Matthew and Alexander, and three grand nephews, Joshua, Zachary, and Finn, all of Los Angeles; one niece, Katie Olive, of Neodesha, KS; as well as cousins, friends and colleagues. He died from complications of a stroke suffered in 2012.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mike graduated from North Hollywood High and then attended U.C. Berkeley where he earned a B.A., M.A. and PhD. in English. Mike joined the staff of the University of Kansas where he taught for 44 years. He published numerous articles and books in his specialty, Old and Middle English. He retired as a full professor in 2010. Former student, Antha Cotton-Spreckelmeyer, wrote of Mike in the 2010 KU English Department Update: “My own students assure me that Mike is still captivating young minds with his unique approach to literature. Even in the digital age—or perhaps especially in the digital age—reading poetry aloud still has its charm. As one student commented just last year, ‘I love the way he reads Middle English to us. It has helped me see that if you don’t get all the words, you can still feel the passion.’ Could there ever be a more apt legacy for an educator, or one more well-deserved?”
Mike will be remembered for his keen intelligence and sharp sense of humor. He made many loyal, lifelong friends. He will be remembered and missed by all who loved him.
The family will host a private service at a later date.Donations in his memory may be made to the U.C. Berkeley Library Fund and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
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