Franklin Countys First News

Charlotte Stern (1929-2008)

OQUOSSOC - Charlotte Stern, who spent her summers at Mooselookmeguntic Lake with her family for 50 years, died Sunday, Aug. 24, at a Hospice facility in Auburn. She was 78 and had been suffering from advanced-stage abdominal cancer.

Stern was a professor of Spanish for nearly three decades at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Va. She was an authority on medieval Spanish theater and the author of numerous articles on the subject in professional journals. Her book, “The Medieval Theater in Castile,” was published in 1996, and she was a major contributor to “A Companion to the Medieval Theatre,” an encyclopedic volume published in 1989.

She was a longtime member of the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg.

Charlotte Carolyn Daniels was born Dec. 22, 1929, in Philadelphia, the daughter of Charles and Julia (Bridenbach) Daniels. She attended public schools in the Olney section of Philadelphia and graduated first in her class at Temple University in 1951. She went on to earn her master's and doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.

She married Carl Stern, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon, in 1952, and the couple celebrated their 55th anniversary last October. The Sterns had met as graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Stern first taught at Randolph-Macon in 1961 and received a permanent faculty appointment in 1968. She also taught at Lynchburg College from 1954-68. In 1980, she was named the Charles A. Dana professor of romance languages at Randolph-Macon, where she gained a reputation for generously giving her time and encouragement to students and colleagues.

In 1990 she received the college's Katherine Graves Davidson Award, given annually to an outstanding faculty member. She and her husband retired from Randolph-Macon in 1992.

Stern's prolific scholarship included dozens of journal articles, book reviews and papers presented to the Modern Language Association and other professional organizations and conferences. She was the book review editor for the Bulletin of the Comediantes and served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Hispanic Philology and Ulula: Graduate Studies in Romance Languages.

She was a member of the Modern Language Association of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the Medieval Academy of America, the Comediantes, the Cervantes Society of America, the American Society for Theatre Research, the Society of the Cantigueiros de Santa Maria and the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater.

In 1982, she was elected an alumna member of Phi Beta Kappa at Temple University.
Stern was a lifelong advocate of human rights. She was a supporter of civil rights from the time she arrived in the South in the 1950s, and she actively opposed a 2006 referendum that amended the Virginia constitution to ban gay marriage.

After her retirement, Stern became especially active in the local Unitarian congregation, helping to establish a church library that opened in 2003. The collection, which now includes more than 1,500 volumes, emphasizes religious and social issues. A substantial number of the books were donated by Stern herself.

She also was active in the church's Social Justice Committee, which among many other activities erected a peace pole in front of the church's fellowship hall. She wrote the scripts for several plays that were staged as Sunday services at the church, including one that focused on women in the early history of the Unitarian Church.

Stern was an accomplished knitter, chef, seamstress and painter and a devoted fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Duke University basketball team.

She is survived by her husband, Carl; their son, Chris, of Orange, Calif.; and their daughter, Jenny, son-in-law, Fred Daley, and grandson, Isaac Daley, all of Granville, N.Y.

A memorial service is planned for later this year, at a time and place to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Stern's memory may be made to the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg, Va., or to the charitable organization of one's choice.

Arrangements are under the care of Funeral Alternatives Group, 25 Tampa St. Lewiston, ME 04240

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