Parvis Emad, 87, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2023, surrounded by the loving presence of his family. He is survived by his wife Gertrude, brothers Pirooz and Bruce Emad, sister Mahi Shahi, daughters Mitra Emad and Mona Polanek, son, Eric Emad, sons-in-law David Syring and Stephen Polanek, as well as his grandchildren, Selene and Mike Tennant, Roshan Emad-Syring, Maxwell and Lukas Polanek; Ella, Hannah, and Miles Emad; and great-grandchildren, Sicily, River, and Kane Tennant. He was predeceased by his parents, Tahereh and Mostafa.
Parvis was born in 1935 in Tehran, Iran, where he climbed mountains and studied medicine in his youth, forging life-long friendships. With the encouragement of his mother, he traveled to Vienna, Austria to study philosophy, where he met Gertrude Schindler. They married in 1962. He received his doctoral degree in continental philosophy from the University of Vienna in 1966. He immigrated to the United States with his wife, Gertrude, and first child, Mitra, after being recruited by DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked as a beloved professor, achieving the rank of full professor in 1978. At DePaul, he was a much sought-after teacher and advisor to graduate students who forged their own scholarly directions with his wise counsel and guidance. He retired from DePaul in 1995, becoming professor emeritus.
Parvis Emad was a world-renowned scholar in continental philosophy and phenomenology, specifically as an educator, interpreter and translator of Martin Heidegger’s writing. In the work of translation, Parvis always found what he called “the task of thinking” in its most vibrant form. Parvis was a paradigmatic scholar in exploring Heidegger’s thinking, showing in theory and practice the importance of going back “to the texts themselves.” A generous and profoundly creative collaborator, Parvis co-translated five significant volumes from Heidegger’s complete works, including two of Heidegger’s most groundbreaking works, Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning) (1999) and Mindfulness (2006). In his four sole-authored books and many articles and essays, he shared what he gleaned from the path of translation and interpretation. In 1985, he founded the journal, Heidegger Studies, where he served as editor-in-chief until 2015. Through Heidegger Studies, Parvis created a robust international forum that continues to thrive, now regularly publishing in four languages - allowing the form of the journal to foster the core engagement of thinking in and through language.
Parvis always understood that knowledge, light, and guidance - in life and in the philosophical enterprise - comes from the path itself, not only the destination. His wife, Gertrude joined him in this endeavor and often worked closely with him in support of his life’s work.
Even in retirement, Parvis actively continued writing, editing, and co-editing, engaging the relationship between “poetizing” and thinking by writing his own poetry. Always deeply engaged in the cycle of the seasons and returning to the natural world every day through a well-honed practice of “spazieren gehen,” Parvis enjoyed sharing his love of trees, open skies, and walking/hiking paths with his wife, children, and grandchildren. In his later years, as some memory loss held sway, Parvis always recalled each of his family members, including the beloved nicknames he was famous for creating. His playfulness, humor, and equanimity touched all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who enjoyed tickle fights, prank wars, hours of reading and playing chess together, card games, and listening to classical music. Impeccably dressed, a mischievous, bright smile, and a ready invitation to try a new food or footpath or book, we will all remember him as he continues to light our way.
A Celebration of Life will occur on March 4, 2023 at 2:00pm at Hoff Funeral Home, Winona, Minnesota. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Heidegger Circle in support of young scholars. https://www.paypal.com/donate/