FEATURED NEWS STORY
Influential UO Anthropology Professor Dies
Harry Fletcher Wolcott was born 28 February, 1929 to LeRoy Orton Wolcott and Alice Fletcher Wolcott, the first of two sons. He died on October 31, 2012 of complications of Parkinson’s Disease. Harry attended public schools in Oakland and proceeded to Cal-Berkeley where he took a bachelor’s degree in science. After serving in the military, he achieved the rank of sergeant-first-class, he earned a teaching credential at San Francisco State College and went on for a master’s degree in educational administration. Subsequently he taught in the schools of Richmond and Carmel. A student of George Spindler at Stanford University, Harry graduated with his Ph.D. in 1964 and immediately began his professorial career in the College of Education at the University of Oregon, where he remained until he retired in 1999 as Professor Emeritus of Anthropology. A prolific ethnographer of education, he was active in publishing until 2010, when his Ethnography Lessons: A Primer was released by Left Coast Press, and he continued to appear in public presentations until 2011.
Harry was in on the “ground floor” of the emerging field of educational anthropology, serving as the Council on Anthropology and Education’s fourth president (1972-73), and, with Elizabeth Eddy, sharing the inaugural George and Louise Spindler Award (1989). Harry launched his editorship of Anthropology and Education Quarterly (1983-85) with his own lead article, the first in the “Sneaky Kid” trilogy. Through his writings, mentorship, and personal encounters he was one of the most influential scholars in the field of educational anthropology.
Harry’s students remember him as “a demanding but extremely helpful dissertation advisor,” a “wonderful colleague and friend, highly intelligent and very funny,” a “generous dinner host,” a “life-time doktorvater who read and critiqued his former students’ book manuscripts and journal article drafts many years after they completed their work with him,” a “true mentor and friend” who drew students from around the world, and “a wonderful scholar, teacher, doctoral supervisor, and friend.”
Harry will be honored at a session of this year’s AAA Meeting scheduled for 4-5:45 pm Wednesday, November 14 (Hilton Franciscan D). The session will engage the corpus of Harry’s work and, in lieu of his planned discussant commentary, will provide an opportunity for those in attendance to remember him and to reflect on his many contributions to the field. In addition, plans are under way to establish a new CAE award in Harry’s name for exemplary contributions to “Genuine Ethnography in Education” (as defined by Harry).
Harry will be greatly missed in the field of anthropology and education. He leaves an unforgettable legacy in his scholarship, his students, and all those whose lives he touched and changed for the better. Harry is survived by his long-time partner, Norman Delue, his nephews Rodney and Rick and his niece Peggy and their families, and a legion of former students and colleagues.
If you knew Harry, or admired Dr. Wolcott’s work, please feel free to sign the guest book at www.registerguard.com/legacy, which remain online until December 4th, 2012. Cards may be sent to his home address: 85711 S. Willamette St., Eugene, OR 97405.
Portions of this text were authored by Ray Barnhardt, Heewon Chang, and Teresa L. McCarty, and/or published in the Eugene Register Guard on Sunday, November 4, 2012.