The American Name Society is sad to announce the passing of longtime ANS member Professor Allan Metcalf. Professor Metcalf was innovator of the American Dialect Society’s Name of the Year selection, which served as the inspiration for the ANS Name of the Year. The celebrated dialectologist served many decades as the Executive Secretary of the American Dialect Society, the sister society of the ANS. He authored numerous popular books of US American English. Two of his most recent publications are OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word and The Life of Guy: Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot, and the Unlikely History of an Indispensable Word. The ANS expresses is sincere condolences to the Metcalf family. For more on Professor Metcalf’s impressive career, see his personal website: http://www.allanmetcalf.net
In Memoriam: Edwin D. Lawson (1923-2021)
Long time ANS member and Past President Edwin D. Lawson of Fredonia, died peacefully July 3, 2021, at the age of 97.
Ed was born in Chicago, Ill., on Dec. 23, 1923, to Anna and Abraham Levin. When Ed was seven the family moved to Boston where he was raised.
After graduating from high school in 1942, Ed matriculated to the University of Illinois, but after one semester he was called up for active duty in the U.S. Army Air Force to fight in World War II. As a tail gunner on a B-29 bomber he completed 38 missions in the Pacific and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart.
After the war, Ed returned to the University of Illinois, where he earned a bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. in psychology. He taught at several universities, and in 1967, he joined the faculty of the State University of New York, Fredonia, where he served until his retirement in 1989.
Ed married Irene Kentner in 1949. They were united in marriage for 69 years and raised three sons together.
In addition to teaching and research, Ed published over 160 books and articles over the course of his career. He had a sabbatical year in Jerusalem, Israel in 1973-74, and was awarded a Fulbright lectureship to Yarmouk University in Jordan in 1981. In addition to his professional activities, Ed was active in the American Name Society and the 500th Bomb Group Memorial Association.
Read his full obituary in The Dunkirk Observer, and share condolences on the Larson-Timko Funeral Home page.
In Memoriam: Ronald Butters (1940-2021)
Long-time ANS member Ronald Richard Butters 81, passed away in his home on April 6, 2021 after a long battle with cancer. Ron was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in February of 1940. After achieving his PhD at the University of Iowa, he moved to Durham, NC to begin his 40 year career at Duke University. He was a professor of English and Linguistics as well as a founder of the linguistics program at Duke University and held a joint appointment in the Cultural Anthropology Department at Duke. Following his retirement from Duke University in 2007, he developed a consulting firm called Trademark Linguistics and continued working in the field with many distinguished law firms.
Ron loved to travel and experience other cultures and he especially enjoyed the time he spent teaching in Bamburg, Germany and Marrakesh, Morocco, as well as the many lectures and seminars he gave in countries around the world. He was honored to touch the lives of so many students, as well as others, throughout his life.
Ron wrote extensively on naming and trademarks. A detailed list of his work can be found on his website, and you can read his obituary online here.
In Memoriam: Lynn Westney (1947-2021)
Long-time ANS member Lynn Westney passed away Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, at Hamilton Communities in New Carlisle, Indiana. Born Dec. 24, 1947, in Chicago, Ill., to Joseph and Alma (Stankovitch) Tvrdik (both now deceased), Lynn lived a rich life filled with curiosity, exuberance and passion. In June 1980, she married William Homer Hattendorf, II, who preceded her in death in 1995. In August 1997, she married Robert J. Westney, who preceded her in death in 2014.
Lynn earned the BA in Sociology from Loyola and the MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Champaign. Lynn enjoyed a 25-year career at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she was a reference librarian and Associate Professor and Coordinator of Reference Collection Development. She was a member of the American Library Association, Illinois Library Association, and the Canadian Society for the Study of Names. Lynn was Editor of the Educational Rankings Annual for years 1991-2006, and wrote numerous scholarly papers, many of which she presented as a guest speaker in a variety of international locations, including Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United States. She also served as the editor of a regular column on e-journals, “E-Journals-Inside and Out”, in JAHC: Journal of the Association for History and Computing.
Her 2007 paper, “From Courtesans to Queens: Recipes Named for Women”, can be found online in the archives of NAMES.
Lynn loved reading about and writing about food, and enjoyed fine dining and ethnic cuisines. She was an avid rock and fossil collector, especially the Petoskey stones found along the Michigan shoreline of Lake Michigan. She was also a passionate advocate for the protection and humane treatment of all animals, domesticated and wild.
In Memoriam: Don Orth (1925-2019)
Long-time ANS member and past president of the American Name Society Donald J. Orth died peacefully at his home in Falls Church, Virginia on October 30, 2019 at the age of 94. Donald presented papers at numerous ANS meetings over the years. He served as the executive Secretary of the U. S. Board on Geographic Names, and among his many publications on toponymy was the highly regarded Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Don was a significant contributor to the work of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographic Names.
A native of Wisconsin, Don joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He studied anthropology, cartography, and geography at the University of Wisconsin, knowledge essential for his 39-year career with the U. S. Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado. There he was involved with topographic surveying programs in the Western United States. He was also behind the creation of the automated Geographic Names Information System, the first of its kind in the world. Orth received the U.S. Department of Interior’s Medal and Meritorious Service Award for substantial contributions to cartography through his work in toponymy.
Don taught courses in Geography at George Washington University and Catholic University in Washington D.C. He was a member of the International Congress of Onomastic Sciences. Don engaged in many active hobbies, including mountain-climbing and historic preservation. Don is survived by his wife, Martha B. Orth, five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 17 great-great grandchildren.
In Memoriam: John Algeo (1930-2019)
Long time ANS member, past ANS President (1984), and names scholar John Algeo passed away on Sun., Oct. 13th 2019, at the age of 88, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Over the years he published several important articles in Names. The American Name Society would like to express its sincere condolences to the Algeo family.
He served as president of the American Dialect Society in 1979 and was the editor for American Speech from 1969 to 1982, overseeing the journal’s transition to becoming the official organ of the ADS in 1970. He also served as chair of the society’s New Words Committee, and in that capacity edited “Among the New Words” for American Speech from 1987 to 1997, joined for most of that time by his wife Adele as co-editor. They commemorated the 50th anniversary of the feature in 1991 with the publication of the book 50 Years Among the New Words. He also wrote and edited many other valuable works on American English, including Cambridge History of the English Language: Vol. VI, English in North America (2001), British American Grammatical Differences (2004), The Origins and Development of the English Language (6th ed., 2005), and British or American English? A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns (2006).
His obituary in the Bowling Green Daily News can be found here.
In memoriam: Alan Rayburn (1932-2019)
On the 19th of September 2019, Alan Rayburn, former president of the American Name Society and internationally recognized toponymist passed away at the age of 86. Alan is survived by his wife, Mary Teresa (née Fox); their three sons Kevin, Sean, and Garth; and their grandson Thomas. A funeral mass will be held to celebrate Alan’s life in Ottawa, Canada at St. Martin de Porres RC Church, Bells Corners, on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 10:00 am.
The American Name Society would like to express its sincere condolences to the Rayburn family. Alan will always be remembered for his outstanding contributions to the scientific study of place names, his many decades of service to the American Name Society, and his extraordinary kindness to the ANS family. Friends and colleagues of the Alan Rayburn can share their condolences at www.kellyfh.ca
In Memoriam: Randolph Quirk, linguist and UCL scholar
The ANS is saddened to report the passing of one of the greatest researchers of English linguistics, Professor Randolph Quirk, at the age of 97 on 20 December 2017. The founder of the Survey of English Usage, Professor Quirk’s publications include such legendary works as the Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language which he co-authored with Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartik. Since its initial publication in 1985, this work has been one of the international standards of linguistics references. In honour of his stellar scholarship, Professor Quirk became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was knighted in 1985. A detailed biography of this luminary can be found at the University College London website.
In Memoriam: Sheila Barry, children’s literature publisher
The award-winning publisher of Groundwood Books, Sheila Barry, died on November 15 at Mt. Sinai Hospital due to complications from cancer. An advocate for children’s literature that championed the rights of children and adolescents, the Newfoundland native was the publisher of Canadian children’s literature was a trailblazer in the industry. Among the many critically-acclaimed works she helped to bring to the market over the course of her impressive career was the New York Times’ 2017 pick for Best Illustrated Children’s Book: Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith. Barry’s passion, positivity, and light will be sorely missed but never forgotten.
In Memoriam: Iona Opie, Folklorist and Children’s Literature Expert
On the 23rd of October 2017, Iona Opie, internationally recognized folklorist of children’s literature and childlore passed away at the age of 94. Along with her husband, Peter, her legacy includes such publications as The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951) and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959).
Their first publication was I Saw Esau (1947), a slim precursor of the wide spine of The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book (1955). The Opies applied years of rigor to an oral culture too commonplace to have received attention before: their scholarship, informally communicated, was important to the postwar discovery of the words of ordinary people. “It took 50 generations to make up Mother Goose,” Iona said. “Nursery rhymes are the smallest great poems of the world’s literature.”