Bill Devall
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Bill Devall

December 2, 1938 - June 26, 2009

Bill Devall, age 70, died at his home in Trinidad on June 26, after a long illness.

Bill was a well known resident of Humboldt County, as a long time professor at Humboldt State University, a leader and participant in many efforts to preserve the natural beauty of the area, an ardent hiker and camper with many of his friends, and a founding member and long-time participant in the Arcata Zen Group.

Bill was born in Kansas City, and received his B.A. degree in 1960 at the University of Kansas, an M.A. degree at the University of Hawaii, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1970. He taught at the University of Alberta , the College of Idaho and Simon Fraser University, before joining the faculty of Humboldt State University. At the time of his death, he was Professor Emeritus of Sociology at HSU, having taught for many years at the school in the fields not only of sociology but also environmental studies, including wilderness and forest issues and the effects of radioactive wastes. He conducted research on the psychology of humans in nature, greening of lifestyles, and politics of ancient forests protection. He was a guest lecturer and featured speaker at universities and conferences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

In addition to being the author of numerous articles, Bill wrote several books focusing on the environment. His first book, Deep Ecology, co-authored by George Sessions and published in 1985, introduced the philosophy and practice of deep ecology to the North American audience. This philosophy was described by Bill as “Earth wisdom - the dance of unity of plants, animals, humans and the earth.” His subsequent books, Simple in Means and Rich in Ends (1988) and Living Richly in an Age of Limits (1993), laid out how to put the idea into practice. He also edited Clear Cut: The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry (1995), and was on the advisory board for the eleven volume Selected Works of Arne Naess, and in 2008 published his last book, The Ecology of Wisdom.

Bill was a founding member of the North Coast Environmental Center in Arcata, a leader in the Foundation of Deep Ecology, and an active participant in many other environmental groups, including the Ecostery Foundation in Victoria, British Columbia and the Environmental Protection and Information Center in Garberville.

Bill is survived by his brother, Jim Devall, of Washington, D.C.

A memorial service will be held for Bill on Saturday, October 10, at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 24 Fellowship Way, Bayside, CA.

Donations in the memory of Bill may be made to: Arcata Zen Group, PO Box 1023, Arcata, CA 95518.

Please sign guestbook at on obituaries.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Times-Standard on Jul. 3, 2009.
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2 entries
July 5, 2009
In loving memory of our cousin Bill. He will be missed.
Ken and Joanne Cox
July 4, 2009
In memory of brother buddhist, Bill, and dharma sister, Maylie- a big Gassho
Dot Kostriken
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