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AFS Review: In Memoriam

Roger E. Mitchell (1925-2011)

Saturday, July 23, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jesse A. Fivecoate

By Ronald L. Baker (Indiana State University) — 

Cancer took the life of Roger E. Mitchell on July 23, 2011, in Portland, Maine. He was born on September 14, 1925, in Merrill, Maine, the third of 14 children to Don and Pearl Tozier Mitchell. As a teenager, Roger served with the Marines in the Pacific during WW II before graduating from Merrill High School in 1947. In 1950, he was recalled to active duty during the Korean Emergency, after which he received a BA in English from Ricker College in 1953. In 1954, he earned an MA in English from the University of Maine, where he took a folklore course from Sandy Ives, who was one influence on Roger’s decision to become a folklorist. Roger taught seven years in Maine high schools and four years at the University of Guam before enrolling in the folklore program at Indiana University. After receiving the Ph.D. in 1967, he joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he taught folklore and anthropology courses for 27 years and served a stint as department chairperson. Noteworthy among Roger’s publications are his collection of Micronesian folktales and his monographs on legends of George Knox, personal experience tales of Don Mitchell, history and traditions of a Wisconsin farm family, and erotic tales of Micronesia. In 1970-71, he was Scholar in Residence at the University of Guam, and in 1975, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the study of Micronesian folktale types and motifs. Roger was a master storyteller as well as an exceptional folklorist, and those who knew him will miss hearing his tales of Fat Frankie Bates and other old-time Maine loggers.

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