Dr. Jane Hurst passed away on June 2 at 72 years of age. She was a well-respected and popular professor of philosophy and religion from 1981 to 2010, and a tireless champion for emerging religious groups and marginalized populations. She also served many diverse communities through her ministry, research, music, and volunteer work.

Jane D. Hurst grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and completed her Ph.D. in Religion at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1981. The same year, she joined the Gallaudet Department of Philosophy and Religion. She served as department chair from 2000 to 2010, when she retired.

Dr. Hurst is remembered as a student-centered teacher who prioritized the well being of her students as much as their intellectual development. Former student Nathan Gomme, ‘05, reflects, “I have always had this thirst to learn, so it was such a unique treat to have a teacher and mentor with such an unmatched desire to both quench my thirst and at the same time touch the soul of her students the way Jane did … Jane, thank you for being ever present in our lives.” Joshua Miller, ’10, another former student and current Gallaudet employee, wrote, “Dr. Hurst made us feel good about ourselves and made it okay for everyone to have disagreements and co-exist in the classroom. Her merry spirit was absolutely contagious.”

Dr. Hurst was fond of ending courses with the standing invitation, “If there is an afterlife, we’ll continue class discussion there!”

Dr. Hurst had a deep love for music, knitting, weaving, beadwork, and other arts and crafts. She wrote and performed her own music, and was a choir member with the U.S. Slave Song Project. She also led the musical program in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Dr. Hurst is survived by her husband, Dr. Joseph Murphy; their daughters, Mary Murphy and Anna Murphy; son-in-law Kiel Johnson, and her sister, Melissa Hurst.

Due to the pandemic, there was no funeral. The family will hold a memorial service at a later date, when those who cherished her can come together in person. Says Dr. Stock, “Jane would want there to be much hugging.”


Dr. Lottie Riekehof, a retired dean, administrator, and faculty member, passed away on August 6, one week short of her 100th birthday. Dr. Riekehof was Gallaudet’s Dean of Women in the early 1970s, a unit administrator, and a faculty member and department chair until her retirement in 1990. One of the first interpreters in the United States, she was involved with the Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf from its inception, and drafted that organization’s first code of ethics. She was also the author of the best-selling sign language book of its time.

Lottie Louise Riekehof was born in Lage, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on August 13, 2020. She, her parents, and a younger sister emigrated to northern New Jersey in 1923; two brothers were born in the U.S. She learned sign language from deaf parishioners in her church and from Dr. Elizabeth Peet at Gallaudet, then became an interpreter and interpreter educator. Dr. Riekehof earned her bachelor’s degree at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, and her master’s and doctoral degrees at New York University. She served as dean of women at Central Bible College for 21 years before assuming the same role at Gallaudet in 1970.

Dr. Riekehof later led the interpreter education program in the Office of Sign Language Programs, and subsequently became that office’s director. She served as the first chair of the Department of Sign Communication. She was also the author of The Joy of Signing: A Dictionary of American Signs. First published under a different title in 1961 and still available today, this book has sold well over two million copies.

Dr. Riekehof was a long-time resident of Arlington, Virginia. Information about survivors, services, and memorial contributions is pending.

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