Born in Vienna, Elisabeth Jezierski spent her childhood in Austria and Germany before moving with her family to Argentina. She came to the United States in 1947 and graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr with a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics and Russian history. In 1952 she earned a Master’s Degree in Slavic Literatures and Languages at Harvard. She moved to Durham, NC n 1958 and enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Romance Languages at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She was a member of the International Studies Group of the Brookings Institution, a tutor for the Harvard Bureau of Study Counsel, an interpreter for the American Dance Festival, the Sister Cities Program and the North Carolina International Visitors’ Center. She held appointments at the Cambridge School of Weston, Duke University, North Carolina Central and North Carolina State University, teaching French, German, Spanish, Russian, and Russian literature in English translation. She taught English at the Pedagogical Institute of Durham’s Sister City Kostroma in Russia.
She was the recipient of two grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board at Moscow State University, two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities at the Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota, a Fulbright grant at the University of Rome and an award from the Folger Institute at the Library of Congress.
She could be seen tending plants in her yard, strolling through Duke Gardens with friends or family members, or enjoying a local classical music concert. She loved to climb mountains. Active until the end, she enjoyed folk dancing, yoga, and Tai Chi. Pushing past physical limitations, she visited family in Germany and Poland in her final year. No knee surgery, no malady, no one would stop her. In recent years, she formed an unlikely bond with a stray cat. When someone - or something - needed help, she could never refuse.
She is survived by her three children Stefan Jezierski of Berlin, Germany, Philip Jezierski of Durham, and Mariana Weaver of Durham. In lieu of flowers, please give to your favorite local charity in her name.