Dr. Ion Agheana, professor emeritus of romance languages, died on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, at his home. He was 80.
He taught at Hope from 1979 until retiring in 2014, primarily Spanish but also French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian. He joined the faculty as an associate professor and was promoted to professor in 1986, and chaired the Department of Modern and Classical Languages from 1984 to 1987.
The graduating senior class named him the recipient of the “Hope Outstanding Professor Educator” (H.O.P.E.) Award in 1983, the first year of his eligibility. In 2009, he was invited by the college’s chapter of the Mortar Board honorary society to speak through the chapter’s “Last Lecture Series” featuring members of the faculty.
Agheana was the author of numerous scholarly articles and books, including the books “Existentialism and the Dynamics of Surprise,” “The Meaning of Experience in the Prose of J.L. Borges” and “A Reasoned Thematic Dictionary of the Prose of Jorges Luis Borges.” He was internationally respected as an authority on both Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges and Romanian philosopher and essayist Emil Cioran, and was one of only seven Borges scholars featured in the 1995 book “Conversaciones sobre Borges” (“Conversations about Borges”) and one of only six Cioran scholars featured in the 2007 book “Cioran. El pesimista seductor” (“Cioran. The Seductive Pessimist”).
He was born in Romania on Dec. 25, 1937, and graduated from the University of Bucharest in 1961. He came to the U.S. in the latter 1960s, and completed his master’s and doctorate in Spanish in 1967 and 1970 respectively at Harvard University. Prior to joining the Hope faculty, he taught at Dartmouth College for nine years.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Gay MacPherson Agheana; his parents, Tudor and Ioana Agheana; and sister, Georgia. Survivors include his wife of 35 years, Pat Agheana; daughter, Deborah Agheana; and grandson, Ian (Heather) Pierce.
Arrangements have been by Dykstra Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 1 p.m. at Pillar Church, located at 57 E. 10th St., with the Rev. Jon Brown officiating. Brown was a student in several of his classes and became his friend.
No visitation is scheduled. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Hospice of Holland.