ForeverMissed
Shirley "Tuck" Loui (born Shirley Mescher) passed away peacefully on February 7th, 2021 in St. Louis from complications of COVID-19. 

Cherished mother of Anne (Andrew), Jen, Michael, Amy, Suzanne (Rob), and Kip (JJ), she joins her treasured husband of 68 years, Wayne Loui, who passed away nine days prior. His memorial page can be viewed here. She was the loving grandmother to eight grandchildren: Aaron, Benjamin (Katie), Tyler, Nicholas, Gwyneth, Marina, Meredith, and Max. Her first great-grandchild is due in May.

Born in Carroll, Iowa, Tuck attended Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, where she met her husband, Wayne, who was a student at the nearby men's college, St. Ambrose. Majoring in English, she began her career as a reporter for the Quad-City Times. Wayne and Tuck married in 1952 and had five children in Iowa before moving to St. Louis, Missouri in 1962, where their final child was born. 

A happily supportive mother to her six children and a constant ally to her artistic husband Wayne, Tuck returned to school at age 46. She received her PhD in comparative literature at Washington University in St. Louis in 1987, writing her dissertation on Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji and Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. She taught at Washington University for several years before joining the American Studies department at Saint Louis University, where she eventually served as department chair. A brilliant, warm, and insightful teacher, she inspired countless students during her time there. Her book, Murasaki’s Genji and Proust’s Recherche:  A Comparative Study was published by Edwin Mellen Press in 1991.

Tuck was a devout Roman Catholic and attended mass weekly at St. Francis Xavier College Church. She volunteered extensively there with the College Church Outreach Program. Those wishing to make a contribution in her honor are invited to give to their program, which helps people with limited resources in St. Louis to obtain Missouri State IDs and birth certificates. To learn about how to give, visit this site.

The Loui family will hold a memorial for Tuck in late spring/early summer. If you would like to be notified of the date, please sign up at this link and we will contact you when we've finalized plans. Our hearts are with the global community who has been so deeply affected by this unimaginable illness.

Those wishing to send cards can address them to:
      Amy Loui
      31 Tyler Pl
      Webster Groves, MO 63119

Posted by Susan Hurst on February 16, 2021
I meet both Shirley and Wayne when I attended Webster in the 60’s. They lovingly invited me as a freshman to their home for a get acquaintance theater party. It is then that they both informed me how much I reminded them of Vera, who was my older sister of 15 years.  I was puzzled. Shirley, shared the stories. First, Shirley was from my hometown of Carroll, Iowa. Wow! Small world. Second, both she and my sister attended St. Angela’s Academy together. And finally, here’s the kicker, Shirley and Vera were college roommates at Marycrest College. I knew I could love these folks!!! .......and I also believed I could wiz thru the next four year of college on a dime. HA!
Posted by Gwyneth Henke on February 15, 2021
From Britta Piel, writing from her home in Berlin:

I got to know Tuck as my professor and Wayne as her husband - but both of them meant way more to me than this might indicate. When I decided, during an exchange year at UMSL, to apply to SLU’s Graduate Program in American Studies in 1999, I had missed any possible deadline, no funding to support me, and more or less no chance to realize the program at that point. And yet, Tuck, who then was Chair, saw potential, remembered me, and, when a scholarship became available during the summer, urged Larry Barmann (who had by then become Chair) to admit me and offer me the scholarship. Within three weeks of leaving the US for what I thought, for good, I was back in St. Louis, in the program I had dreamed about, and called myself graduate assistant to Tuck. It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that Tuck changed my course of life forever.

What is even more true, though , is that we became good friends during my time at SLU, and that we managed to stay in touch in the 20 years that have passed since my graduation. I have a subfolder named “Tuck” in my inbox, which is full of messages going back and forth, discussing family affairs, career changes, or the state of the world (in 2001, we still thought George W. Bush would be the worst to happen to US politics, and many of Tuck’s messages contained a long “grrrrrrrrrrrr”).

I came back to St. Louis a few times, last in 2010 for a conference, when I spent two wonderful days with your parents. And in 2005, during a trip to New England, we met in Maine. Tuck visited me in Aachen during one of her Maastricht trips, and from now on I will toast her every time I use the crystal glasses she brought as a gift (luckily, I use them a lot). As you know, I had planned to come to St. Louis in May 2020 for another conference and would have loved to visit your parents. It is heartbreaking to know that this door is now closed forever.

What I will remember most about your mother is her imperturbable humanity, which inspires me until today and which could be seen in anything she did. As Chair, she did not stick to bureaucratic regulations, but saw the person behind the story; as a teacher, she would carefully consider any opinion and weigh it against hers - undeniably much larger - knowledge and experience; her fervor in political things sprang from trying to make this world a better place. My world was certainly made better by knowing her and calling her a friend.

And what I will remember most about your father - whom I really know way less - are his hugs. And I really believe this says a lot about the person he was: he barely knew me, but a goodbye-hug gave me the feeling that he wished me all the protection and luck in the world, and that nothing could ever harm me again.

And this memory must come in here as well: had I ever married, I would have wanted a relationship like your parents. The respect and love they showed for each other, the keen curiosity in each other after all of these years, always impressed me, and would be an inspiration.

Your parents will be missed by many, and I wish you all the strength and love and faith you need to get through this hard time. I hope it gives you a little bit of consolation to know they were loved and will be missed by many all around the world.
Posted by Harry Kendall on February 15, 2021
Who remembers, with striking clarity, their high school girlfriend's mother, literally from almost a lifetime ago? Well, I do. This was before her emergence as a scholar, yet there was no mistaking her fierce intelligence. Tied to that, though, was her welcoming, loving, incandescent presence. What a combination, rarely encountered.
Posted by Ying Ye on February 12, 2021
I got to know Tuck Loui in the Spring of 1999. One day while I was at home in Chengdu, China. I got a phone call from the United States, asking me if I would like to speak to the chair of the American Studies Department, Saint Louis University. I said “yes”. And then a very soft and pleasant female voice came in—that was Dr. Tuck Loui. She told me that my application to the PhD program was approved and that the department had decided to give me a fellowship. She asked me if I would like to accept it. I could not believe my ears!!! But of course I would very much like to accept it!!! After the call, for quite some time, I still felt that I was in a dream. Anyway, my dream came true. That was how I became a graduate student at SLU. Later in that year when I quit school and came back to China because of some personal reasons, Dr. Loui kept in touch with me and encouraged me to go back to the department. I did go back. Though she was retired and no longer taught at the department, she played a very supportive role during my graduate education at SLU—she was always there whenever I needed her. We talked about my life, my study at SLU, exchanged ideas on things and people we met and the papers I wrote, and I remember, on one of the papers she wrote as well. In 2007, I graduated from SLU. Dr. Loui and Sr. Kolmer all attended my graduation ceremony. I could see that both of them were very delighted— they were like two loving moms, delighted at seeing their child finally grown up. In 2014, I found a chance to revisit Saint Louis (Thanks to Dr. Matt Mancini for giving me that chance!). Upon arrival, I called Dr. Loui. Her voice was filled with joy at the other end of the phone. She and her husband Wayne decided to take me to visit Sr. Kolmer, who was then living at a convent in Illinois. Wayne drove the car, me and Dr. Loui chatted in high spirit all the way there. When we got there, Wayne and Tuck asked me to hide behind them and to jump out suddenly when we met Sr. Kolmer so as to give the latter a great surprise. Sr. Kolmer was really surprised and pleased! She could not believe her eyes. We four spent a wonderful afternoon together. Dr. Loui, Sr. Kolmer, and I chatted, Wayne was busy taking pictures of us—unfortunately I don’t have those pictures, they were in Wayne’s camera. Wayne told me that my appearance gave Dr. Loui and Sr. Kolmer a great joy. Though I don’t have those pictures, but I have that afternoon vividly in my mind. Dr. Loui preferred me calling her Tuck, but out of respect (maybe a Chinese way of respect), I always called her Dr. Loui. Now, let me call her Tuck according to her preference. Dear Tuck, my great professor, friend, and supporter, I love you! I’ll remember you forever.
Posted by Alice Bergmann on February 11, 2021
I was beyond lucky to meet Tuck on a trip with Wayne (always Mr. Loui to me) and our SLU cast to perform in Copper Mountain, Colorado in the summer of 1980, if memory serves.  She was so kind to me. Her smile was constant. To me, she personified the concept of grace.

I recall vividly a conversation with Tuck on that trip - it was about finding peace in the quiet moments of nature. I needed to hear this, you see...
.
I have never forgotten talking to her about that. It has been 40 years - but I can't quantify how often I have thought of her words on many a nature walk - and I see her graceful smile every time. Thank you for your grace, Tuck.

So much care sent to the Loui family at this time.
Posted by Tom Radigan on February 11, 2021
It has been several days since I heard about Tuck’s passing. I have had her in my thoughts and found myself unwilling to let her go. I write this as if she would read it and almost expect her gentle chiding me for writing about her. Tuck never sought thanks, but always gave thanks. She always boosted her family and friends to be their better selves… and was happy when they took the credit. To have this loss on top of Wayne’s death, both in recent days, is too much for any family to endure. I am truly sorry for all of you.
I have so many memories of Tuck… of her wit, her laugh, her ability to listen closely to those around her, to help those around her, to act as well as to speak to make the world better.
She was the one who gave a good word and facilitated my acceptance into graduate school. She would tease me for grammatical slips and provide counsel when I needed it. Tuck would always have a moment when she was in the Comp Lit office for a coffee downstairs - even when we discussed that The "Tale of Genji" and "Perceval".   She was a keen reader, writer, critic, and teacher who gained recognition through her diligence and brilliance. As a journalist and doctor of literature, she could seize the truth of an argument and then reflect it back to others so that it could be heard. Above all, she was a person of grace and empathy, who anchored her family and many others. I was very fortunate to have known her.
Posted by Bob Perkins on February 11, 2021
Tuck---I really spent time with you on this planet for only a handful of months. But if anybody asked me who in my life I'd most like to spend more time with, you'd be at or near the top of the list. Hmmm....who else have I known with as much selfless interest in the people around her? As ready a laugh and as ready a heart? You always knew more than you let on, which is some part of what grace is. Time spent with Tuck was time spent with Who We Are Meant to Be.
Sweet, sweet lady. I don't know if they'll make you a saint now, but you were always a saint to me.
Posted by Gwyneth Henke on February 10, 2021
From Becky McKenna:

My smile was instantaneous whenever I saw Tuck! I couldn't help it because Tuck showed the same delight when she saw me... and I was a very, very minor character in her life play. I can't imagine the utter joy others, whom Tuck deeply loved, felt in her presence. She always expressed interest and joy at hearing how my family and I were doing. I will miss turning to look to the North Transept to see Tuck during mass at the College Church. The last time we spoke was at the Christmas Fair Trade Market in the Lower Church... although moving slower, she was still glowing with peace and love.

If there is any way Ken or I could help with the memorial service, please let us know. In the meanwhile... we are sending you our prayers, love, and care as you adjust to this emotional tectonic shift in your lives.
Posted by Matt Mancini on February 10, 2021
Tuck Loui was an exemplary teacher and friend. She preceded me by a year as chair of SLU's American Studies Department. She was a guide for me in many areas, from teaching to departmental and college diplomatic relations. Her emphasis on personal development and social justice left an enduring imprint on the culture of our department, while her unshakable charity was blended with a worldly wisdom derived from a long, rich life outside academia. She and Wayne guided me and my wife Nancy also, when we followed their sage advice and example and rented a place on Mt. Desert Island. I am so sorry she is gone.
Posted by Annie Loui on February 10, 2021
My Mom was of course, the best Mom in the world. She was the listener and advisor for everyone of her 6 children, their numerous friends and partners, and her artistic husband. It was only as an adult, in a bookstore in Harvard Square, that I truly understood that she was actually also a very perceptive scholar. A mystery of unfailing good-humor and generosity to both her family and her colleagues, her wise counsel and faith in us allowed us all to become better people.   
Posted by Jim Poag on February 9, 2021
I got to know Tuck when I first joined the faculty of the Washington University German Department. Comparative Literature was right next door. I I took to Tuck immediately, to her warmth, humor, openness, & honesty & often visited the Comp Lit office just to talk with her.. We discovered, among many other things in common, that we had both been raised Catholic. It was clear she had a very deep faith. As it happens, my wife and I had her and Wayne over for lunch one day with some other friends & it was in the course of that meal that the election of Pope Francis was an announced. I remember her great joy.
He was after all a Jesuit and - along with other progressive qualities - devoted to justice. She knew he was going to be a positive force. We shared other social occasions and there was a lot of laughter and similar moments of insight. I still see her bright and shining face and will miss her greatly.
I love the many picture of her on this website
Posted by Marvin Marcus on February 9, 2021
So saddened to learn of Tuck's passing. We were part of a wonderful cohort of WashU folks centered in the Comparative Literature program, with Bob Hegel and Bill Matheson as my closest colleagues in this area. I specialize in Japanese literature and was of course drawn to Tuck's devotion to the Tale of Genji. But I chiefly recall Tuck as a warm, generous, and gracious spirit. It was such a pleasure to be in her company. May her memory be a blessing to all who knew her and loved her.
Posted by Kari Lokke on February 8, 2021
Like Bruce, I was a graduate student with Tuck in the Comparative Literature program at Washington University. Tuck brought light and love to that challenging and cherished experience. She remains in my heart, in the best sense of Dylan's words, "forever young." 
Posted by Bruce DerKonstante on February 8, 2021
Dear Annie,

I, too, am smitten with the sad news.
Tuck was a blessing to me in the short time I knew her at Washington U and years thereafter. I was not a very industrious graduate student, but she always gave me the feeling that I should hold in there, that I was doing something worthwhile. That was a wonderful gift of hers and a witness to a true piety that I deeply respect. I know I can say that for all the others who, like me, loved Tuck for all she did for us and the Comp Lit department. My sincere condolences, Bruce Mayo.

Posted by Kenneth Stack on February 8, 2021
Never without her intelligent, supportive, caring, understanding... smile. Tuck's smile carried us through each moment, good or bad, celebratory or sad. This is the image we all hold in our hearts.

May they both be in peace. True story.
Posted by Kathy Keeser on February 8, 2021
Tuck was a wonderful kind generous and very caring person. She always saw the best in others and situations. She was also very wise. I loved visiting with her over the years and always felt welcomed. I will miss Tuck and Wayne very much.
Posted by Clarence Walker on February 7, 2021
It was devastating to learn this morning of Tuck's passing so soon after Wayne's. Following is approximately what I said in tribute to Wayne (and Tuck, because her page was not yet complete.) I think my thoughts are emphasized by the fact that Wayne's tributes are so numerous that only those up to January 30 still show - which prevents exactly repeating my previous words.

I am "Clem" to Amy's family, and glad to say I am, and Jeanne was, proud to share a daughter and three marvelous grandsons with Wayne and Tuck. 
I now rather regret losing the opportunity to better know this supremely accomplished couple. Their stories and the images here tell of a wonderful family and lives created in their long and loving marriage - all reflected in the grandchildren I am and they were so proud of.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Susan Hurst on February 16, 2021
I meet both Shirley and Wayne when I attended Webster in the 60’s. They lovingly invited me as a freshman to their home for a get acquaintance theater party. It is then that they both informed me how much I reminded them of Vera, who was my older sister of 15 years.  I was puzzled. Shirley, shared the stories. First, Shirley was from my hometown of Carroll, Iowa. Wow! Small world. Second, both she and my sister attended St. Angela’s Academy together. And finally, here’s the kicker, Shirley and Vera were college roommates at Marycrest College. I knew I could love these folks!!! .......and I also believed I could wiz thru the next four year of college on a dime. HA!
Posted by Gwyneth Henke on February 15, 2021
From Britta Piel, writing from her home in Berlin:

I got to know Tuck as my professor and Wayne as her husband - but both of them meant way more to me than this might indicate. When I decided, during an exchange year at UMSL, to apply to SLU’s Graduate Program in American Studies in 1999, I had missed any possible deadline, no funding to support me, and more or less no chance to realize the program at that point. And yet, Tuck, who then was Chair, saw potential, remembered me, and, when a scholarship became available during the summer, urged Larry Barmann (who had by then become Chair) to admit me and offer me the scholarship. Within three weeks of leaving the US for what I thought, for good, I was back in St. Louis, in the program I had dreamed about, and called myself graduate assistant to Tuck. It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that Tuck changed my course of life forever.

What is even more true, though , is that we became good friends during my time at SLU, and that we managed to stay in touch in the 20 years that have passed since my graduation. I have a subfolder named “Tuck” in my inbox, which is full of messages going back and forth, discussing family affairs, career changes, or the state of the world (in 2001, we still thought George W. Bush would be the worst to happen to US politics, and many of Tuck’s messages contained a long “grrrrrrrrrrrr”).

I came back to St. Louis a few times, last in 2010 for a conference, when I spent two wonderful days with your parents. And in 2005, during a trip to New England, we met in Maine. Tuck visited me in Aachen during one of her Maastricht trips, and from now on I will toast her every time I use the crystal glasses she brought as a gift (luckily, I use them a lot). As you know, I had planned to come to St. Louis in May 2020 for another conference and would have loved to visit your parents. It is heartbreaking to know that this door is now closed forever.

What I will remember most about your mother is her imperturbable humanity, which inspires me until today and which could be seen in anything she did. As Chair, she did not stick to bureaucratic regulations, but saw the person behind the story; as a teacher, she would carefully consider any opinion and weigh it against hers - undeniably much larger - knowledge and experience; her fervor in political things sprang from trying to make this world a better place. My world was certainly made better by knowing her and calling her a friend.

And what I will remember most about your father - whom I really know way less - are his hugs. And I really believe this says a lot about the person he was: he barely knew me, but a goodbye-hug gave me the feeling that he wished me all the protection and luck in the world, and that nothing could ever harm me again.

And this memory must come in here as well: had I ever married, I would have wanted a relationship like your parents. The respect and love they showed for each other, the keen curiosity in each other after all of these years, always impressed me, and would be an inspiration.

Your parents will be missed by many, and I wish you all the strength and love and faith you need to get through this hard time. I hope it gives you a little bit of consolation to know they were loved and will be missed by many all around the world.
Posted by Harry Kendall on February 15, 2021
Who remembers, with striking clarity, their high school girlfriend's mother, literally from almost a lifetime ago? Well, I do. This was before her emergence as a scholar, yet there was no mistaking her fierce intelligence. Tied to that, though, was her welcoming, loving, incandescent presence. What a combination, rarely encountered.
her Life

High school and college reunions

Tuck was the Valedictorian for the 50th reunion of Kemper High School in Carroll Iowa, and she received an award for outstanding service to her community from Marycrest College for her years of service at Saint Louis University, at the College Church, and in her entire community, where she was beloved by many.

Volunteer Work

After retiring in 2001, Tuck volunteered extensively at the College Church Outreach Program, which was a program she held in great esteem. The program assists in providing birth certificates and state IDs for people with limited resources in St. Louis. She also volunteered at the Hawken House, a historical home in Webster Groves. She continued writing and researching Henri Chatillon, guide and hunter for the American Fur Company of St. Louis in the 1840s.

Time at Saint Louis University

In 1989, Tuck joined the faculty of American Studies at Saint Louis University, eventually becoming department chair. She promoted work in social justice and international studies. She was part of an international coalition establishing an American Studies program in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where she also taught classes during the mid-90s. Wayne went to join her for a month in Utrecht on what was his first and only trip out of the country. 
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