In Memoriam: Albertina (Tineke) Nugteren
The news that Albertina Nugteren (Tineke for her friends and close colleagues) has passed away on 17 September 2022 has filled me with great sadness. Tineke has been the Treasurer of the EASR for two terms, between 2014 and 2019, which coincided with my two terms as General Secretary. We worked together closely during that period and I appreciated our collaboration immensely. She was an associate professor at the University of Tilburg for many years, specializing in Indian religions and Buddhism.
I met Tineke in the summer of 1997 at a conference on new religious movements at the Free University of Amsterdam. She was presenting a paper on the influence of Tantra on Western esotericism. Since I was quite interested in the subject I went to listen to her. At the end of the panel I introduced myself and we talked about our common research interests. We promised to keep in touch and we saw each other again the next year in Turin at another conference. This time we were even presenting our papers in the same panel. After that, we occasionally wrote and sent each other some of our drafts and publications.
In 2013 her name came to my mind when new officers had to be found for some of the positions in the Executive Committee of the EASR. I was then coming to the end of my second term as Treasurer of the Association and it was important that a trustworthy, capable person would be found to take up such a delicate job. If it could be someone living in the Netherlands, where the bank account of the EASR was registered, even better. It occurred to me that Tineke might be an ideal candidate. I contacted her, she accepted graciously to be nominated for the position, and she was eventually elected. It was nice to renew our acquaintance and start a new collaboration. Tineke had already served the Dutch Association for the Study of Religions (NGG) as General Secretary a few years before, and knew therefore quite well how scholarly organizations function. She was very thorough in keeping track of our financial transactions, while being always kind and friendly. Both I and the then President Einar Thomassen knew that we were in safe hands with her.
Sadly, in June 2016 Tineke was diagnosed with cancer. A melanoma she had been treated for successfully many years before had come back. This was dramatic, unexpected news. She had to cancel her participation in the EASR conference in Helsinki that was only a month away and start a new series of treatments as soon as possible. For a while she continued to attend to EASR matters, but at some point it was clear that she needed to focus on her personal situation. Luckily, our Deputy Treasurer Franz Winter was ready to step in and replace Tineke while she was away. Although the prospects the doctors were presenting to her were grim, Tineke never lost courage and confidence. After some months of treatments, which included the removal of a tumor in her brain, she felt well again and was able to get back to work. We were incredibly happy and impressed to see her again with us at the 2017 conference in Leuven. Her resilience and courage were an example for all the members of the Executive Committee and the EASR at large. From that moment on, she was able to take on her duties again until the end of her second term in 2019. She had been given only six months of life when she was diagnosed in 2016. It is a testimony of her energy and passion for life that those months became six years instead.
Apart from her service in the EASR and the NGG, Tineke was a prolific scholar and an excellent teacher. She will be missed by her students and colleagues. The EASR is immensely grateful to her for all the work she has done, even in the presence of such extraordinary, cruel challenges.
Former General Secretary of the EASR (2014-2019)