Russell Dennis Shilts
Born December 4, 1946, linguist and translator, formerly of Aurora, died June 11, 2010 in Wroclaw, Poland. Dennis graduated West Aurora High School in 1964. A wandering soul, he left Europe in 1965. He studied at Alliance Francais in Paris and at Darmstadt Technical Institute, Darmstadt, Germany. He studied French, Russian, German and eventually Polish. As a hobby, he studied mathematics and grew rare earth element crystals. He lived many years in Darmstadt, Germany and worked at its Technical Institute.
As the Berlin Wall fell and Eastern Europe opened, Denny was ready for a new adventure and migrated to Wroclaw, Poland where he studied the Polish language. Speaking Russian, German and English, he was uniquely situated to deal with Poland's old and new trading partners. He found himself worked as a teacher of English and translator of Polish, German, French and Russian. He was especially proud of his translations of Edgar Allen Poe's short stories into Polish. He worked extensively in Polish advertising, introducing American idioms and techniques into modern Polish. He also worked to help Poland re-establish contact with the American Polish community especially with the Polish population in Chicago.
Denny will be remembered by all of us as a free and unconventional spirit, who lived his life on his terms.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Russell and Norma Shilts; and his brothers, Randy and Ronald.
He is survived by his daughter, Illona "Lonka" Shilts; and two grandchildren, Lino and Ida of Darmstadt, Germany, as well as his brothers, Gary (Judy) Shilts, Reed (Dawn) Shilts and David Shilts; as well as nieces, Elizabeth, Victoria and Sarah; as well as his special friend, Maja in Wroclaw, Poland.
Published in Beacon News on June 16, 2010