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Robert Holzapfel


1931 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Robert Holzapfel Obituary
Holzapfel, Robert



Robert E. Holzapfel, long time UNM German professor, was born in Baxter, Iowa, July 2, 1931. He graduated from Baxter High School in a class of seven, the smallest class on record due to the Depression. His college career at the University of Iowa started in 1949. Majoring in Humanities Studies stimulated his life-long interest in the ancient civilizations and a love of travel. In 1953, Robert graduated with a commission in the United States Air Force. For three and a half years, he served as a radar control officer on the Iron Curtain Corridor, covering the stretch from Amsterdam to Vienna. He opted for an overseas discharge to pursue graduate studies at the Free University of Berlin. After completing three semesters there, he returned to the University of Iowa to complete MA and PhD degrees in German (1958-1965). In 1960 he married Tamara Osikowska, a fellow graduate student in Romance Languages. Both were appointed to positions in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at the University of New Mexico. The marriage ended in divorce 12 years later.

During his tenure Professor Holzapfel was awarded a Fulbright Grant to Germany and served as Associate Chairman of the Language Department. He also served as Chairman of the Building Committee for the new Ortega Hall which took four years and resulted in the creation of a new language laboratory. He taught Honors Courses in literature and acted in administrative and teaching capacities at the German Summer School in Taos for eight summers. As senior member of the German section, he was instrumental in growing it from a minor program to one with the capacity to grant BA and MA degrees. He retired from UNM in 1988 and lived in Santa Fe pursuing his interest in actively collecting Mayan and Andean textiles. He has donated his textile collection to the ethnology collection at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at UNM as well as contributing financially to the Robert Holzapfel Ethnology Fund.

He died from complications of prostate cancer on February 11. He is survived by friends and colleagues.
Published in Albuquerque Journal from Feb. 20 to Feb. 21, 2016
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