Dr. Rebecca R. Fiske of Richmond died Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City after a long illness. At the time of her death, she was surrounded by family and her children.
Rebecca was born Feb. 1, 1956, in Rutland, Vermont, the daughter of Robert and Louise Fiske. She graduated from Bennington College in 1978 with a degree in English. After graduation, she worked for a time at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, but soon transitioned to Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington where she served in human resources, as dean of students and, finally, as a professor. Simon’s Rock became her primary professional focus as well as a bastion of friends and devoted students.
Rebecca earned a master’s degree from Smith College and a doctorate in English from SUNY-Albany. In time, she became a full professor of English and critical theory at Simon’s Rock. She had many academic interests, but her main teaching focus was the critical interpretation of the Old Testament and the works of Walter Benjamin. She has published in a number of journals and was working on a book in the months before her death. She was a mentor to a great number of students, many of whom continued correspondence with her long after graduation. Rebecca loved her students and they loved her in turn.
Rebecca had many interests outside of her work. She had a desire to help underserved children and adults with reading and writing skills and was active in that regard as a volunteer. She loved to travel, had visited many European cities, preferring Rome, and had backpacked for six weeks through Greece. She loved Jethro Tull and Neil Young, and loved taking walks with her dachshund on the trails above Olivia’s Outlook. She was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed.
Rebecca is survived by her husband, Dr. Deane Zarvis; her children Jim, Alex, Nick and Rachael Zarvis; her grandchildren Kostis and Lucas Zarvis; her sisters Dr. Roberta Rusciano of New Jersey and Melissa Brackett of California; and her brother Peter Fiske of Vermont.
The funeral service for Dr. Rebecca R. Fiske will be held Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, at 3 p.m. at the Roche Funeral Home, 120 Main St., Lenox, MA 01240. Calling hours will be from 1 p.m. until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, donations in Rebecca’s memory may be made in care of Win Commons at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington.