Walter Fuchs

Walter Fuchs

Walt Fuchs, who taught philosophy at Towson University for more than four decades, died of cancer Feb. 11 in a hospital in Gottingen, Germany. The Towson resident was 71.

Born Wolfgang Walter Fuchs in Berlin and raised in Pittsburgh, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Duquesne University and a doctorate at Pennsylvania State University. He was a specialist in phenomenology and existential philosophy.

He joined the faculty at Towson University in 1969 and taught until 2013.

"He was a devoted teacher," said a former student, Alexander E. Hooke, a Remington resident who teaches philosophy at Stevenson University. "He encouraged his students to stay active in philosophy but also things outside the field, such as law or the arts. He knew they could not always get a job in philosophy."

Dr. Fuchs was the co-editor of "Encounters with Alphonso Lingis," a 2003 collection of essays about the retired Penn State professor who also taught philosophy.

"He was the best teacher I ever had. He inspired me to get into philosophy," said Randolph Wheeler, a Towson University lecturer and former student. "He introduced ideas to people and made them seem relevant today. He helped you grasp the thoughts of the great thinkers. He had a sense of humor and a sense of fairness and humanity."

Dr. Fuchs enjoyed martial arts and was a black belt in tae kwon do. He played poker. He liked films, including those of Ingmar Bergman, Quentin Tarantino and Akira Kurosawa, and occasionally taught a course on films and philosophy. In recent years, he watched all of the "Sopranos" episodes.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Towson University's Liberal Arts Building, Room 4110.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Dorothea Thieleke-Fuchs of Towson; a son, Dorion R. Fuchs of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and a granddaughter.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com