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Died peacefully in his sleep on December 15, 2012, in Clewiston, Florida. Born to Earl Reade Obern and Ellen George Obern in Battle Creek, Michigan, on November 15, 1921, he grew up in Los Angeles, CA. He attended the Desert Sun School shortly after its founding and spent many endless days in Idyllwild, California. He attended the Principia College for two years on a varsity football scholarship before serving as a Captain in the US Navy on the Destroyer Escort, the SS Johnnie Hutchins during WWII. After the war, he returned to Principia, where he met Clara Louise Merrill, they married in 1948. After completing his graduate work at American University in Washington, DC, he taught in Porto Alegre, Brazil from 1959 – 1963, after which he moved to Bradfordwoods, PA, and took a position at the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor of public and international affairs, eventually founding and growing the Center for Applied Intercultural Research and Training at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. In 1969, he moved his family to Malaysia and worked on a new public administration project co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the University of Malaysia until 1973. Until his retirement in 1984, he travelled extensively throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa, visiting teaching/learning sites and students studying there. His greatest source of satisfaction came from the students whom he mentored and challenged to find their own voice in public administration. His legacy is his students, and he will be so remembered. In retirement, he and Clara moved to Naples, Florida, to be closer to their grandchildren. They were avid genealogists and worked closely with other volunteers in the local public library. He is survived by his children, Catheryn Obern (Rich Robinson), David Obern (Brenda), Charles Obern (Roxanna), and Sara Obern; as well as his grandchildren, Rebecca Luna Robinson, Joshua Michael Robinson, Charles Alfred Obern, Michael Allen Obern, Cerisa Clare Obern, and Calli Caroline Obern; and four great- grandchildren. Please direct any inquiries to Catheryn Obern, 102 Forest Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Jan. 19, 2013
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