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Norman Dismukes Apter

WILLIAMSBURG - Norman Dismukes Apter, 40, of Williamsburg, VA departed this life Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Rose Monahan Hospice Home in Worcester, MA following a two-and-a-half-year battle with melanoma. He is survived by his wife of 10 years, Eurydice Hsin-Yi Huang; mother, Joan Apter; sister, Robin Gemerek and her husband, Joshua; and three nephews, Beckhem (9), Henry (7) and Theodore Gemerek (1). Norman was born in New York City on August 1, 1973 to parents Joan and Jerome Apter. He spent his childhood in Lakeville, CT and Bainbridge Island, WA until his family moved to Williamsburg, VA in 1990. Norman graduated from Lafayette High School in 1991. He got his BA degree from the College of William and Mary, his MA in East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia, and his PhD from University of California Los Angeles. While on one of his many trips to China and Taiwan, Norman met his wife Eurydice while studying Chinese and working in Taipei in 1999. They were married in Williamsburg, VA on December 28, 2003, with a formal Taiwanese wedding on July 25, 2004 in Taiwan. Norman continued his Chinese advanced study in Taipei from 2003 to 2005. In fall 2005 to the summer of 2006, he went to Nanking and Shanghai, and brought back more documents related to his main research topic, orphans and children's welfare in modern China. They moved back to Los Angeles together in August 2006 while Norm attended the UCLA PhD program. He was a visiting instructor of Chinese history at Pepperdine University in the year of 2008-09 and began teaching at Clark University (Worcester, MA) in the fall of 2011. His doctoral dissertation, Saving the Young: A History of the Child Relief Movement in Modern China, completed in the summer of 2013, is an empirically rich and elegantly written study. Despite the very sobering diagnosis Professor Apter received just after arriving at Clark in the fall of 2011, he kept the standards high for his students and for himself; he was the very definition of integrity, seasoned always with a sweetness of spirit and a graciousness of manner. He had a profound impact on all who knew him. His courage, grace and candor in facing death are well captured in an article about him in the Clark Alumni Magazine (http://issuu.com/clarkuniversity/docs/clark-university-alumni-magazine-spring-2013). Even through 15 surgeries, radiation treatments and debilitating experimental drug trials, Norman was brave during his period of illness, fighting the cancer with tremendous strength, and he never succumbed to self-pity or despair. He loved teaching, music, nature, movies, conversation, exercise, friends and family; in short, he loved life. A memorial service will be held at Clark University on April 11th in Worcester, MA. An intimate service will also take place in Williamsburg, VA in August.

Published in Virginia Gazette on Mar. 1, 2014
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