Anthropology prof dies

By Michelle Roberts

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Robert Netting, a University of Arizona Regents Professor in anthropology, died on Saturday of a cancer-related illness. He was 60.

Netting had been an anthropology faculty member for 23 years and was named a Regents Professor in 1991. It is a distinction awarded to particularly renowned professors in Arizona.

Netting's research focused on cultural ecology, which is the study of the relationship between cultures and their environments. Netting was interested in small-scale landowners or peasant societies, largely tied to the land.

"I think his biggest contribution was that he taught us by example how to be a successful teacher, researcher and colleague," said John Olsen, acting anthropology department head. "He was a role model. He excelled at all those things a faculty member should excel at."

Mark Nichter, an anthropology professor, said Netting's greatest contribution to the department was that he integrated different subfields in the department and that he was interested in a variety of areas.

"He was widely recognized as being both a competent professional and a very nice person," said John Higgins, an anthropology teaching assistant.

In 1993, Netting was elected to the National Academy of Science. He was one of four UA anthropology faculty members who belong to the institution.

Netting received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1957. He earned his master's degree in 1959 and his doctorate in 1963, both from University of Chicago.

He is survived by his wife Rhoda Gillett-Netting, who is a visiting student scholar at UA in anthropology. He is also survived by his mother Martha Netting; brother William Netting and three children; Robert, Jessa and Laurel Netting.

The funeral services are private, but the anthropology department will host a gathering in Netting's honor on Thursday from 4-7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the department is accepting contributions for a scholarship fund named in honor of Netting. For more information, call the department at 621-2585.

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