U professor of Russian studies dies at age 89

Pearl L. Neimi-Bullock didn’t know a word of Russian when she was selected to take over a University position as a Russian instructor.
In less than one year, she mastered not only the language, but the literature as well, writing an article on Leo Tolstoy’s “Crime and Punishment” that has been hailed as the definitive work on the book.
A long-term member of the University’s romance language department, Neimi-Bullock died of natural causes last Friday in Crystal at the age of 89.
Her husband of 35 years, Bruce Bullock, said he hopes she will be remembered as a “smashing scholar.”
Bullock met his future wife when he was a student in one of her Russian classes at the University. He said that because academics were dominated by men in the 1940s and 1950s, Neimi-Bullock had to compete harder to attain success. She was one of the first females at the University to receive a full professorship.
The position was a “scarce entity,” Bullock said. “The macho boys had control of everything. She really had to fight to prove she was intellectually superior to all of them.”
Neimi-Bullock received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in romance languages from the University; she earned her doctorate in that subject years later. She taught briefly at Grinnell College in Iowa, then returned to the University to work in the modern language department.
Bullock said his wife was widely known for her literary talents. “People flocked to her classes,” he said. “She helped lots of writers develop their craft.”
After she retired from the University in 1963, Neimi-Bullock moved to Albuquerque, N.M., where she and her husband produced operas.
“We were very, very close friends as husband and wife,” Bullock said. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
Neimi-Bullock is survived by her husband, Bruce.

— Nichol Nelson