In Memoriam

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John Robert Wallace ’54

Bob came to Reed from Illinois and earned a BA in anthropology, working with Prof. David French ’38 [1947–88] on his thesis on the language of the Warm Springs Indians. Bob worked for the U.S. Department of Labor in California, during which time he discovered a mark used on applications to designate race, which made it possible for the department and potential employers to engage in illegal discrimination. “Bob’s discovery did not endear him to his employers,” says his family. 

He later went to live in Puerto Rico as a single father with two sons. The three learned Spanish and lived on a beach, where Bob wove hats and baskets from palm leaves that they sold to tourists from San Juan. From the beach, the three moved to a shack on a river, where they lived without utilities or other conveniences. Bob was an excellent photographer and a number of his pictures have been shown in exhibitions. For the past 22 years, Bob and Betty Quick have been partners. Betty communicated to Reed that Bob was unable to read and write following a severe stroke in 2008, but was maintaining his fine spirit. In 2014, Betty let us know that she was reading Reed magazine to Bob, that he had fond memories of his years at Reed, and that he hoped to stay connected to classmates and friends. Bob and Betty lived in Las Vegas for 10 years and enjoyed the company of a beloved dog. In addition to Betty, Bob’s survivors include his sons, a stepdaughter, and a brother. “He had a full life.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2015

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