Beloved mother, grandmother, author and retired professor Dr. Natalia Kamyshnikova-Pervukhina passed away on November 16, 2023 from complications of multiple myeloma. She was with her daughter.
Natasha was born in Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, on October 15, 1943. A graduate of Moscow State University, she started her career as an editor of foreign language textbooks. Natasha achieved her dream of emigrating to America with her family in 1980 -- the happiest year of her life. She had a strong aptitude for history, and her literary sensibility was impeccable. She earned her Ph.D. in Russian Literature from Bryn Mawr in 1985, and became a professor at the University of Illinois and then, for 26 years, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She also taught at the Middlebury College Language School during the summer for two decades.
Natasha taught a multitude of different classes related to Russian language, literature, history, and cinema and made a profound impression on countless students’ lives. She was a beloved colleague and a revered teacher; students responded to her warmth, humor, generosity, bluntness, and deep cultural knowledge. Her scholarship on Chekhov, Vladimir Pecherin, and more recently on the intellectual life of the Third Wave in emigration has inspired many among her peers and will be an invaluable resource for future readers.
Natasha used to say she hoped to keep teaching until the day she dropped dead in front of her horrified class. She came impressively close to achieving this goal, heading directly from a classroom to the hospital following a medical emergency. She ended up taking a medical leave, and a short time later, she retired and moved in with her daughter, Anna Sammons, her daughter’s husband, Dr. Benjamin Sammons, and their four children – Misha, David, Clara, and Lio in Eugene, Oregon.
During her last years in Oregon, she enjoyed reading, writing, keeping up with her countless friends, and spending quality time with her cat. She spent many happy hours with her adoring family and her close friend and former husband, Eric Pervukhin, who joined his family in Eugene shortly after she did.
There are no words to express her family’s grief. She had a rare talent for love—she radiated love for art, for nature, for animals, for her family, and for life in general. She helped keep the world sane. Natasha will be deeply missed; her memory remains a blessing and a treasure.
The funeral will take place Monday, Nov. 20th, 12:30pm at the Ahavas Torah section of the Masonic Cemetery, 25th and University.
Natasha’s daughter, Anna Pervukhin Sammons, will be sitting Shiva Monday afternoon through Sunday morning, Nov. 26 at her home, 3701 Donald St., Eugene. One may visit or call any time during the day and evening.
Instead of flowers, the family asks that you donate charity in Natasha's memory to Chayal el Chaya (chayalelchayal.org), Ahavas Torah (https://www.ahavastorah.info/) or Osher Society. Contact Anna Sammons re: detailed info re these charities and the many other charities Natasha supported.