Remembering Nancy Clasby

T‌he University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences and the English Department are mourning the loss of one of their beloved faculty members, Nancy Tenfelde Clasby, 78, who passed away in her sleep Friday, November 4, 2016.

Clasby attended Marquette University and earned her Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Wisconsin, which is where she met and married Eugene Clasby, English professor at UM.  

As an Assistant Professor at UM during the 1960s, Clasby developed, advocated, and promoted the first Black Studies Program and taught the first Black Literature courses ever offered at UM.

“Nancy was a much-beloved member of the English Department. She tirelessly inspired thousands of students during her decades at UM,” said Dr. Pamela Hammons, professor and Chair of the English Department. “Across the years, Nancy’s students have always given her the highest of praise for her vast knowledge, her infectious love of her subject matter, and especially her unfailing kindness, helpfulness, and understanding.”

During her 54-year teaching career, Clasby authored two books on myth, literature, and scripture, countless academic publications, and was awarded numerous teaching and professional acknowledgments and recognitions.

Later in life, Clasby earned her M.A. in Scripture Studies and developed and taught a pioneering Bible as Literature course in addition to receiving an Arsht Grant to research the civil rights movement in Miami during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Clasby – a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother – leaves behind her husband, Eugene, daughters Alison and Sarah, brothers Tom and Dan, and grandchildren Jacob, Erik, Ryan, Matthew, Jamie, and Jessica.

There will be a visitation gathering for friends and family today, November 7, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Van Orsdel, 4600 SW 8th St., Coral Gables, FL. The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, 10 a.m., at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 1400 Miller Road, Coral Gables, FL. The burial service will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery, 11411 NW 25th St., Doral, FL.

At the request of her family, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the UM College of Arts and Sciences,


November 07, 2016