Dr. A. Richard Diebold, Jr. passed away March 1st, 2014 in his longtime home in Tucson, Arizona at age 80. Dr. Diebold joins his son, Albert Richard Diebold III; parents, Albert Richard Diebold and Dorothy Orizondo Roosen Diebold; and sister, Diane Diebold Terni. A beloved father and cherished grandfather, Richard is survived by his daughter, Deborah Diebold de Naveja, and her husband, Juan María Naveja de Anda; grandson, Juan María (JM) Naveja Diebold, and his wife Belinda Kamm; brother, Dudley George Diebold, and his wife, Honoria Hine Diebold; and nephews and nieces.
Dr. Diebold led a brilliant academic career as a linguistic anthropologist specializing in comparative and historical Indo-European Studies, theoretical linguistics, psycholinguistics and transcultural psychiatry. His work with Mesoamerican ethnic groups, in particular with the Huave people, proved crucial to the communities’ cultural survival. His impressive track as a scholar began at the Buckley School in New York and continued in Connecticut through prep school at Hotchkiss and college and doctoral studies at Yale University. He flourished as a researcher and a Professor at Harvard, Berkeley and Stanford and culminated his career as Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.
As illustrious an academic as he was, he found a calling as a philanthropist, founding and directing the Salus Mundi Foundation, which focused on funding Indo-European studies but supported many local causes that were dear to his heart.
In his personal life he became a devoted father to Deborah and a doting grandfather to JM. A man of a thousand stories, he enjoyed none more than Tolkien’s journeys to Middle Earth. He is an example to those who seek to live life true to themselves.
The truest gentleman at every turn of his life, his kindness will be missed by those who knew him, his everlasting search for truth and hope by those who did not, and his brilliance and wit by those closest to him.
A memorial service will be held April 12 at the Arizona State Museum at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America are greatly appreciated.