Donez M. Xiques died on Friday March 27, 2020 at Overlook Hospital in Summit, N.J. The causes of death were complications from heart disease. She is survived by her wife and partner of forty-five years, Dr. Judith Chelius Stark of South Orange, N.J.
Dr. Xiques was born on April 30, 1936 in Staten Island, N.Y. She was the first-born child of William A. Xiques, D.D.S. and Donez Xiques (nee Berardini) Xiques. She was predeceased by her parents and two brothers William and Michael. She is also survived by her two sisters: Nadine Yurko (Roger) and Adrienne Caldwell (William) both of Missouri City, TX. She was the much-beloved aunt of ten nieces and nephews as well as twelve great nieces and nephews.
Dr. Xiques was educated at Notre Dame Academy in Staten Island and then joined the religious order of the Congregation of Notre Dame in Montreal. She served in the Congregation as a teacher and then as director of admissions at Notre Dame College. She received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in American literature from Fordham University in the late 1960s. She then left the Congregation in 1972. From 1970 until 2006 Dr. Xiques taught American literature at Brooklyn College of the City of New York where she was a beloved professor and writer. In 2004, Dr. Xiques published a ground-breaking biography of the Canadian author Margaret Laurence. Published by Dundurn Press of Toronto, it is entitled, Margaret Laurence: The Making of a Writer. Dr. Xiques was an accomplished photographer and an avid birder who enjoyed nature in every season in places near and far. At the time of her death, she was working on a monograph focusing on the value and beauty of South Mountain Reservation in Essex County, N.J.
Dr. Xiques and Dr. Stark spent forty summers at their Caboose-by-the-Sea at Malignant Cove, Nova Scotia where they enjoyed kayaking, swimming, and excellent birding. Over the years, they were blessed with many loving family members and dear friends with whom they shared innumerable happy times. Donez’s absence will be felt deeply by the many people who knew and loved her.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Preston Funeral home in South Orange, N.J. (prestonfuneralhome.net.)
Celebrations of Donez’s life will be held at St. George’s Episcopal Church 550 Ridgewood Road in Maplewood, N.J on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 11:00 AM.
Memorial donations may be made to the New Jersey Audubon Society in loving memory of Dr. Xiques and in acknowledgement of her deep love for nature. Donations may also be made to St. George’s Episcopal Church, Maplewood, N.J. in gratitude to the loving church community that supported her during her life and in death or to South Mountain Conservancy.