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George L. Carver, a professor emeritus of classical languages at ASU who led the university’s Classics Department for many years, died Oct. 29 at the age of 90.
Carver was a Navy veteran. He earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a baccalaureate in sacred theology degree from St. Mary’s Seminary, and a doctoral degree from St. Louis University.
He joined ASU in the 1960s, when the Classics Department comprised just two faculty members. Carver taught Greek classes and advanced Latin literature, while his colleague, Lidia Haberman, taught other Latin courses. Haberman, a professor emeritus of classics, said Carver was “harmonious and warm” in professional contexts and was passionate about a variety of art forms outside of work.
“George was a very serious person, but he loved ballroom dancing, for instance,” said Haberman, who also attended Phoenix Chamber Music Society concerts with him. "His taste for French gourmet cooking led him to expensive restaurants. He even took lessons in French cooking.”
Colleague Lee B. Croft, a professor emeritus of Russian, had an office adjacent to Carver’s for many years. They worked together on university committees, and Croft praised Carver’s approach to advising and encouraging the students who passed through his classroom.
“He was a well-respected and conscientious teacher who knew that he was there to advance his students, to potentiate them even in advance of himself if he could,” Croft said. Carver was “a doorman philosophically and not a gatekeeper.”
Professor Emeritus of French Deborah Losse said Carver’s generous spirit extended to his colleagues in the university, as well.
“George Carver was so encouraging to those of us who came to teach and do research at ASU after him,” Losse said. “He welcomed our questions and was helpful in giving useful advice about the tenure process. I will remember him as thoughtful, kind and understanding.”When Carver retired, he traveled to Rome to study sacred scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, known as the Biblicum. After completing his licentiate degree there, he moved to Oklahoma to be near family members, including his mother, whom he cared for until her death.
Carver leaves behind a decades-long legacy of encouraging language learning at ASU and helping develop the university’s classics program. His colleagues at ASU have continued his work, and the School of International Letters and Cultures now has five full-time faculty members in classics.
He will be dearly missed by the students, faculty and staff who had the pleasure of knowing him.
“Requiescat in pace,” Haberman said — Latin for “Rest in peace.”