Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Thursday,
Jul 24th

Ida Uchill, 1918-2014

E-mail Print PDF

There was an unmistakable edge to longtime Denverite Ida Uchill, who passed away late last week in Maryland.

A respected historian, she was never willing to tolerate shoddy research and seldom hesitated to call those who practiced it — particularly historians — to task.

Likewise, as a veteran teacher of English among other subjects, Uchill never brooked poor spelling, grammar, syntax or sentence structure. Members of the IJN staff who chose to spell certain words certain ways often heard from her, speaking in the tone of a demanding teacher, red pen in hand.

Despite these manifestations of exactitude, and an ironic sense of humor that could sometimes be cutting, Uchill was one of the best friends one could hope to have.

Read the complete IJN obituary for Ida Uchill

She was a comprehensive historian, capable not only of seeking out elusive information but of intelligently analyzing it. She was also a brilliant conversationalist, and someone who carefully measured what she said and wrote.

While her landmark Colorado Jewish history, Pioneers Peddlers and Tsadikim (published in 1957, republished in 2000) was far from a feel-good, everything-is-rosy account of Colorado Jewry, Uchill was judicious with what went into the book and what didn’t.

She wasn’t afraid of scandal or shanda — the book records any number of stories that could be considered either or both — but Uchill was distrustful of rumor, legend and gossip, the bugaboos of all historians. If she couldn’t reliably confirm something — no matter how fascinating or titillating it might be — it was relegated to her legendary historical files, not released to the public.

As a newspaper that often delves into historical matters, the IJN considered Uchill an invaluable ally, knowing that we could count on the exacting nature of her scholarship. She assisted us in any number of historical features and never was the information she provided challenged, let alone discredited.

Her book remains the gold standard of regional Jewish history, nearly 60 years after its original publication. That and the overall body of research she gathered constitutes a rich and unique resource for future historians and writers.

The amazing photographs she took and filed away — many of long-gone synagogues and other seminal sites from Denver’s West Side Jewish community — are likewise important parts of our collective history.

We hope that all these materials will find a fitting home somewhere where the public can access and use them. They are the legacy of a dedicated and careful historian who made it her mission to record the history of her community at a time when very few others thought of doing so.

We’ll miss Ida Uchill, not only because of her significant work, but for her personality and loyal friendship, and wish her family well in these trying times.

Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 March 2014 01:57 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

150 Palestinians arrested during raids on southern Gaza

Marcy Oster Israeli troops in southern Gaza arrested 150 Palestinians, dozens of whom surrendered voluntarily to the soldiers. ... [Link]

Pro-Palestinian student demonstrators arrested in Australia for flag burning

Marcy Oster A group of student demonstrators was arrested in Melbourne after burning an Australian and an Israeli flag in protest at Israel’s invasion of Gaza. ... [Link]

Rockets intercepted over central Israel hours after FAA lifts ban

Marcy Oster The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five rockets over central Israel hours after the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority lifted its ban on American carriers flying to Israel. ... [Link]

Israel calls for rejection of U.N. Human Rights Council inquiry

Ron Kampeas Israel’s government called for the rejection of a U.N. Human Rights Council inquiry into the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. ... [Link]

FAA, reviewing Israeli measures, lifts flight ban

Ron Kampeas The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on flights to Israel after reviewing Israeli measures to keep flights safe from rockets. ... [Link]

Obama administration presses for $225M addition to Iron Dome funding

Ron Kampeas The Obama administration asked Congress to fast-track Israel’s request for an additional $225 million for the Iron Dome anti-missile system. ... [Link]

Former Auschwitz guard dies before extradition to Germany

Marcy Oster Johann Breyer, the 89-year-old Philadelphia man who served as a guard at Auschwitz and was scheduled to be extradited to Germany, has died. ... [Link]

Police: Murdered Florida State prof Dan Markel was target

Marcy Oster Dan Markel, the Florida State University law professor who was murdered in his home, was shot in the head by someone who wanted him dead, police said. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com