Published: Jan 29, 2012 12:07 AM
Modified: Jan 29, 2012 12:07 AM
Dr. John Gulick, Professor of Anthropology at UNC at Chapel Hill from 1955 until 1986, died peacefully at age 87 on January 16, 2012, at the Oaks at Mayview in Raleigh, following a long period of declining health.
John Gulick was born in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1924, the son of Millard Burr and Alida Carey Gulick. John grew up in Boston and Edgartown, Massachusetts. He graduated from Fountain Valley School in Colorado in 1942. Like most young men at the time, John postponed further education to serve in World War II. John served first with the American Field Service in North Africa and in the Near East and later with the United States Army in Europe. While in the Near East, John acquired a lifelong interest in Middle Eastern cultures, languages and history.
Honorably discharged in 1946, John entered Harvard University, where he subsequently earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Also in 1946, John married Margaret Griffith Eaton of Fresno, California, with whom he had three children, Stephen, James and Anne. After receiving his PhD in Anthropology, John joined the faculty of Adelphi University on Long Island in New York. In 1955, John accepted a position in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. John was a professor at UNC from 1955 until his retirement in 1986. During the late 1950s, John published several scholarly works on the Cherokee in western North Carolina. In 1960-61 John took Marga and the children to Lebanon, where he resumed his Middle Eastern studies.
In the mid-1960s John became the first chairman of the newly established Department of Anthropology at UNC. Having a strong interest in urban anthropology and population studies, John developed and maintained a connection with the Carolina Population Center, a relationship that lasted beyond his official retirement from UNC. John and Marga were on year-long sabbatical in Isfahan, Iran in 1978 when the Shah was overthrown. Leaving mid-year, they travelled to London, where Marga was diagnosed with the final recurrence of breast cancer that led to her death in 1979.
In 1982, John married Betty E. Cogswell of Chapel Hill. Betty and John enjoyed travelling to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston and to Pine Knoll Shores, where John purchased a condominium shortly before his retirement. In 2009, due various physical issues, particularly a complete inability to stand, John moved to the Oaks at Mayview in Raleigh. He remained there until his death, visited regularly by Betty and on a daily basis by his son Jim. Although John's health was fragile, he greatly enjoyed watching The History Channel and listening to classical music, in particular his favorites, Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler.
John was predeceased by his parents, all three of his siblings and his first wife, Margaret. He is survived by his second wife Betty of Chapel Hill; his son Steve (wife Glenavie) of Philadelphia, PA; son Jim (wife Rae) of Raleigh and daughter Anne (husband Bill) of Philadelphia, PA; by granddaughters Katherine, Maggie, Melinda, and Leela; and by stepdaughters Elizabeth and Amanda.
The family thanks the staff of the Oaks at Mayview and Dr. James Parsons for their skillful, dedicated and compassionate care of John during his final years. They made this time safe and comfortable for him. Likewise, the family is grateful to the staff of Hospice of Wake County for their care of John in his final days. A memorial service for John will be held at the Friends Meetinghouse, 531 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 2:00 PM. John’s ashes will be interred on a later date at the Gulick family plot in the cemetery of West Tisbury, MA. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in John’s name be made to the SPCA or to Hospice of Wake County.
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