In Memoriam

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Richard Phillip Gale ’60

A picture of Richard Gale

Richard Philip Gale ’60, September 27, 2013, in Laguna Woods, California, after suffering a major stroke. In his 75 years, Dick enjoyed a rich and varied life. He earned a BA in sociology from Reed, an MA from Washington State University, and a PhD from Michigan State University. He spent his career as a professor at the University of Oregon, where he specialized in environmental sociology and published more than 50 articles and chapters. His efforts as a central sociological figure in advocating disciplinary attention to environmental issues led to creation of the American Sociological Association section on environmental sociology. Dick was instrumental in launching and nurturing the University of Oregon’s interdisciplinary environmental studies degree program. He also devoted many hours to guiding students as a dedicated academic adviser and mentor. For many years he commuted to Eugene from his home in Florence, Oregon, where he was active in community affairs. He served on the Chamber of Commerce board, ran for port commissioner, greeted newcomers as an ambassador, volunteered as an ombudsman at a local nursing home, helped bring about the community’s fall festival, and wrote the crucial grant that sparked the creation of the Events Center. In retirement, he moved to Southern California, where he also participated in community life. He was a staunch supporter of libraries and an inveterate reader, always “chasing ideas” through books, the internet, and the media (he read both the Los Angeles Times and New York Times daily). He loved music, especially chamber and choral works, including opera. He attended hundreds of art exhibitions over the years. He was the household cook, who made lovely dinners every evening and who boasted a cookbook collection of over 300 titles. Dick was also a dedicated traveler who had seen much of the world. In recent years he became truly enamored of New York City because of the inexhaustible wealth of theatre, art, and music available there. He is survived by his wife, Susan Gale, the author of this memorial piece; his sister, Jean Schaefer; and his nieces Julie Smith and Laurie Batten. Donations in his memory may be made to the Siuslaw Public Library in Florence, Oregon.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2014

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