In Memoriam

Shirley Arora

Shirley Arora was born June 3, 1930 in Youngstown, Ohio. She received her BA and MA from Stanford University in 1950 and 1951, respectively, and the PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1962. She became assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese the same year and was promoted to professor in 1976. In 1981, she became the chair of the department, a post she held for ten years, and expanded the department with ten new hires, including a Chicano literature specialist. She retired from UCLA in 2000. 

She was elected to the Fellows of the American Folklore Society in 1992.

Haya Bar-Itzhak

Haya Bar-Itzhak was born in Berlin, Germany, on August 17, 1946. After emigration to Israel, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Haifa and finished her Ph.D. in 1987 at Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a dissertation on “The ‘Saints’ Legend’ as a Genre in Jewish Folk Literature” under the supervision of Professor Dov Noy. She returned to the University of Haifa as a professor and in 1992, became chair of the Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature and in 1994, head of folklore studies and the Israel Folktale Archives. In addition, she was a fellow of the Simon Dubnow Institute in Leipzig. Her authored books in English include Jewish Poland–Legends of Origin (Wayne State University Press, 2001), Israeli Folk Narratives: Settlement, Immigration, Ethnicity (Wayne State University, 2005), and with Aliza Shenhar, Jewish Moroccan Folk Narratives from Israel (Wayne State University Press, 1993). Her edited books include Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore and Traditions, 2 vols. (M.E. Sharpe, 2013), Pioneers of Jewish Ethnography and Folkloristics in Eastern Europe (Scientific Research Center of the Academy of Science and Arts, 2010), and with Idit Pintel-Ginsberg, The Power of A Tale (Wayne State University Press, 2019). She served on the editorial boards of the Jewish Cultural Studies book series (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization), Cultural Analysis, Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Folklore, and the Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review. Among her honors is selection as an International Fellow of the American Folklore Society, Lerner Foundation for Yiddish Culture Award, and National Jewish Book Award (for Jewish Poland–Legends of Origin).

Mehmet İlhan Başgöz

Mehmet İlhan Başgöz was born in Gemerek, an Anatolian town in Sivas, Central-Eastern Turkey. He received his Ph.D. in folklore in 1949 under the supervision of Necmettin Halil Onan. Başgöz completed his dissertation titled Biografik Türk Halk Hikâyeleri: Kahramanları, Teşekkülleri, Saz Sairlerinin Eserleri İle Münasebeti in 1949. He was a major scholar in Turkish Folklore and culture, and he received many distinguished awards from the Guggenheim, the Turkish Ministry of Culture, and in 2019 an IU Bicentennial Medal.

Frank de Caro

Frank de Caro earned a BA from St. Francis College and an MA from Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. After teaching in India on a Fulbright scholarship, de Caro attended Indiana University’s doctoral program in folklore, where he met fellow student Rosan Jordan. The two married, completed their doctorates, and began work at LSU in 1970, kicking off their long involvement in Louisiana folklore. Among de Caro’s many publications was the 1998 Louisiana Sojourns: Travelers’ Tales and Literary Journeys, published by LSU Press. This collection of travel writing about Louisiana, co-edited with Jordan, was honored as the LEH Book of the Year in 1999. 

Raymond J. DeMallie

Raymond J. DeMallie, Class of 1967 Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology emeritus and a long-serving affiliate faculty member in the Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, passed away on the evening of April 26, 2021 at Bloomington Hospital. In addition to his work in anthropology and as the founding director of the American Indian Studies Research Institute, Ray advised numerous folklore students-turned-colleagues across multiple generations.

Roger L. Janelli

Roger L. Janelli, an anthropologist and folklorist, passed away in the early morning of January 19, 2021 in Seoul. Janelli was among the first generation of Korean folklore and anthropology scholars in the United States, and his work as an educator, researcher, and writer was critical to the foundation of Korean Studies. He was Professor Emeritus of Folklore in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University (IU), where he had taught for 32 years (1975-2007).

Janet L. Langlois

Janet Louise Langlois, retired professor of English and Folklore Studies, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at her home in Detroit. Loving wife of Andrea di Tommaso. Beloved mother of Mia (Adam) and stepmother of Matteo (Jennifer), Dante (Shelley), and Ivana (Scott). Dear grandmother of Gemma, Joseph, Sofia, Elizabeth, and Roger. Cherished sister of Linda (Joe), Denis (Suzie), Steve, Phillip (Lynette), and Edward (Karen). She is also survived by many nieces and nephew and dear friends.

Leonard Norman Primiano
1957 – 2021

Dr. Primiano was a professor of religious studies at Cabrini University where he taught courses in the history of Christianity, vernacular religion, religious folklife, sectarian religion and contemporary American religion. At the time of his passing he was co-convener of the Folk Belief and Religious Folklife Section of the American Folklore Society. Primiano held a dual doctorate in religious studies and folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, and his research focused on American vernacular, folk, and popular religion; religious material culture; and religion and the media, including Catholicism and television.

Enedina Casarez Vasquez
1945 – 2021

Enedina Casarez Vasquez entered into rest on August 16, 2021. A native of San Antonio born on December 20, 1945, Vasquez was beloved by the community as a teacher and artist. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, together with her late husband, Arturo Vasquez, the couple created a widely popular array of Folk Art. Under the name of ENE-ART, the couple produced artwork sold and exhibited nationwide. They were featured on ABC television and contributed to various national touring exhibitions of folk art. Vasquez was a graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University, receiving a degree in Fine Arts. She went on to become an art teacher at St. Peter Prince of the Apostles and Holy Cross High School. After the passing of her husband in 2004, Vasquez persued a life-long goal of becoming a Lutheran pastor. She was ordained by the Lutheran Church in 2019 after co-founding a women’s prayer ministry known as Platicas de Santa Sofia. Vasquez is survived by a son, Arturo Vasquez II, and devoted daughter in law, Jackie Galvan-Vasquez, as well as a brother, Polo Casarez, and a beloved sister, Josephine, as well as by numerous nieces and nephews.

Vivian Yenika-Agbaw
1959 – 2021

In addition to being a professor of language and literacies in Penn State’s College of Education, she also worked as a professor of African studies in the College of the Liberal Arts, taught courses in children’s and adolescent literature, and taught online via Penn State World Campus. With an international reputation as a first-rate scholar and expert in the area of children’s literature, her research was informed by theories of critical multiculturalism, postcolonialism and reader response. Much of her work has become foundational in her fields. Vivian was also the first black board member (2017-2019) elected by the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) since its inception in 1969. In this role, and throughout her career, Vivian was a vehement proponent of the need for better representation from historically marginalized groups in literature for children and youth.