In Memoriam

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Claude Alain Vaucher, Faculty

A picture of Claude Vaucher

Claude Alain Vaucher, professor emeritus of anthropology, January 17, 2008, following a long illness. Vaucher was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and enrolled at Seattle Pacific College (University), from which he received a BS in bacteriology and public health, with a minor in religion, in 1952. At Seattle Pacific, he met Diane; they married in 1951. From 1952 to 1958, the couple lived in Yeotmal, Maharashtra, India, where Vaucher was an instructor in biblical archaeology and biblical studies at Union Biblical Seminary. He earned a second year certificate at the Marathi Language School in Poona, India, in 1955. During his time in India, he developed his lifelong love for ancient cultures and history and determined to pursue a career in archaeology. He began advanced coursework at the University of Washington, where he was an instructor in the anthropology department, and from which he earned an MA in 1960 in prehistoric anthropology and a PhD in 1969 in anthropology. Vaucher joined the Reed faculty in 1963, and was an expert in a great range of subjects, including the ethnologies of South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. During his tenure at the college, he conducted several field archaeological studies in the Indus Valley of India, the Mideast, North Africa, Chad, Western Europe, and the West (Eastern Washington and Calgary, Alberta). Following Vaucher’s retirement from Reed in 1994, he and his wife moved to Salem to be closer to family. Lois Hobbs [1983–], administrative assistant to the faculty, relates that Vaucher interviewed her when she applied for employment at Reed. “Part of the process was that he dictate a letter of recommendation on behalf of an alum; shorthand was a requirement. I consider it an honor to have worked as his secretary and to have been entrusted with his notorious signature stamp. One of my favorite statements of his occurred when he vehemently refused to use a computer, saying, 'I never want to be my own secretary.' I mourn his passing, but I am slightly soothed by knowing the positive impact he had on his students; with his dedication to intellectual challenge, they carry his wisdom with them daily. Professor Vaucher's death brings to conclusion a richly eventful life marked with a warm heart full of vitality. He was a man of strong character, who was an intelligent gentleman with an always-happy spirit. I am thankful for the time we were able to share and forever grateful for his warm friendship.” Survivors include his wife, his daughter and two sons, five grandchildren, and his twin brother.

Appeared in Reed magazine: May 2008

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