Pitt Professor Shared His Love of Literature

Article excerpt

For 49 years, Richard "Tob" Tobias spent his days sharing a passion for literature with his students at the University of Pittsburgh.

"I could not imagine Dad doing anything else," said his son, Alan Tobias, of Richmond, Va. "Retirement simply was not an option."

Richard C. Tobias, of Squirrel Hill, died Tuesday at Family Hospice Center of liver failure after a short battle with colon cancer. He was 81.

Mr. Tobias was born Oct. 10, 1925, in Beaver Creek, Ohio, to Raymond and Katherine Tobias. He graduated from Beaver Creek High School in 1942 and enlisted in the Army two years later. He served as an infantryman in Germany during World War II.

After returning from the war, he enrolled at Ohio State University, where he received bachelor's and master's degrees and a doctorate in English.

Before coming to Pittsburgh, Mr. Tobias worked as an assistant instructor at Ohio State and as an instructor at the University of Colorado. He joined Pitt as an instructor in 1957 and was promoted to a full professor in 1969. He was the longest-serving professor the English Department has ever had, said David Bartholomae, who chairs the department.

"He will be missed enormously," Bartholomae said. "It was so impressive to see someone so full of life act as such an important mentor for many generations of faculty and students."

In his years at Pitt, Mr. …