Ronald W. Casson, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, died at his home on July 24 after a long illness.
Joining the Oberlin faculty in 1976, Ron taught an array of courses in linguistics and sociolinguistics, ethnographic methods, and the Middle East. His courses were always enriched by research findings from his own field experiences in Turkey. Under Ron’s supervision, linguistics at the College found its center in the anthropology department, where Ron’s outstanding mentorship inspired numbers of students to pursue linguistics or sociolinguistics in graduate school. Ron’s classroom success owed something to his fine sense of humor and his wise dictum that a teacher should always take the work but not himself seriously. Beyond Oberlin, Ron contributed importantly to his profession with seminal articles on language and culture and, in the latter part of his career, cognitive anthropology. For several years Ron was an associate editor of the American Ethnologist.
Ron was an avid reader who ventured far beyond his own professional concerns. Like all attentive and critical readers, Ron was interested in writing style and quality, clearly realized in his own publications. Whether it was a novel or the latest sports profile in the New Yorker, Ron relished the opportunity to discuss his latest reading pleasure. Baseball was perhaps his greatest passion, and he sometimes observed that more than any other sport, baseball could inspire poetry.
Many college and community friends and former students will fondly recall the hours of conversation around the Casson dinner table and the warmth and hospitality always present in the Casson household.
Ron is immediately survived by his wife, Banu, their children Aksel and Ayse, their son-in-law, Mike, and grandchild, Liam.
A tribute to Ron was held at the Casson home on August 21.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer's Association Cleveland Area Chapter, 23215 Commerce Park Drive, Suite 300, Beachwood, OH 44122-5803; Hospice of the Western Reserve, 424 Middle Ave, Elyria, OH 44035-5732; Oberlin College Danenberg-in-London Program; or the Artist Recital Series of Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH 44074.