Richard T. Antoun Ph.D.
Richard T. Antoun, Ph.D.
of Vestal
Richard (Dick) Antoun, beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather, teacher, mentor and friend, passed away tragically on December 4, 2009. Dick is survived by his wife, Roz Antoun (Vestal, NY); his son, Nicholas Antoun (Princeton, NJ), his daughter-in-law, Nicole; Nicholas' mother, Elize Botha-Antoun; and his sisters, Jane Antoun Cartelli and Linda Miller; Roz's children, Dusty (Debbie) and Chuck (Lisa) Blechman; his grandchildren, William Antoun and Ellie, Max and Jay Blechman; and many other family members, friends, colleagues and students. Dick was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on March 31, 1932, the first child of Dr. Taft and Nelly Antoun. The family moved to nearby Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and Dick spent his early years enjoying adventure radio programs (e.g., Jack Armstrong and Captain Midnight), playing baseball in the neighborhood field, and following the Boston Braves and Red Sox, the latter of which became a lifelong passion. Dick graduated from Shrewsbury High School in 1949 where he was an enthusiastic member of the debate team. Dick attended Williams College, where his interests in politics, leadership and conflict resolution were nurtured and began to blossom. Following his graduation from Williams in 1953, he completed a Masters' degree from Johns Hopkins University in International Relations. While at Johns Hopkins, an interest in the Middle East, fed in part by the origins of his family in Lebanon, came into focus. He pursued that interest by entering a Ph.D. program at Harvard University in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, which he completed in 1963. His doctoral research was based on fieldwork in the village of Kufr al-Ma, Jordan, which he would return to throughout his professional life. In 1963, Indiana University gave Dick his first professional post, and he taught there as a professor of anthropology until 1970, at which time he joined the SUNY Binghamton faculty. Through his years at SUNY, Dick devoted himself to teaching students, both graduate and undergraduate, tirelessly marking papers and meeting with students for individual dialogue. He directed the completion of at least eight doctoral theses and served on the dissertation committees of numerous other students. He served as President of the Middle East Studies Association and was a visiting professor/scholar at Manchester University, the American University of Beirut, the University of Chicago and Cairo University. Throughout his professional life, he pursued his intellectual interests in politics, religion and conflict resolution. He sought to examine how Middle Eastern societies resolved conflicts on a local level through tribal customs and to engender understanding of controversial topics, such as fundamentalism, through cross-cultural analysis. He published 6 books, including "Muslim Preacher in the Modern World" (Princeton 1989), and over 30 articles. On the day before he passed, he completed revisions on an article regarding the lifecycle of athletes, which combined his passions for social anthropology and sports. While pursuing a full academic career, Dick also had a rich family life. He was a devoted father to Nicholas, calling encouragement at his Little League games, taking him to Fenway Park and discussing politics, sports and history throughout their life together. He was also a wonderful husband and supportive and encouraging best friend to Roz. At home, Dick mastered the art of cooking, lovingly preparing rice, beans and lamb and baba ganooge for Roz to enjoy. He loved their walks through the hills of Vestal, treasuring those quiet times to talk and be together. He enjoyed art films, going to a show, socializing with friends and picking out a delectable piece of pumpkin pie from the bakery for dessert. He particularly relished his summertime visits to the family home on Cape Cod, where he would spend time chatting with sisters, nephews and cousins on the beach and taking long swims in the ocean. In the last decade of his life, Dick reduced somewhat his commitment to academics and increased his activities in the local community. He was an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church on Riverside Drive in Binghamton and participated in many inter-faith discussions. Continuing his deep belief in the non-violent resolution of conflict, he was an active participant in the Peace Action group. He also continued to share his knowledge of the Middle East as a lecturer at the Lyceum. In his last days, Grandpa Dick was able to spend Thanksgiving playing with his grandchildren, which was his greatest joy.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, December 11th, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton, 183 Riverside Drive, Binghamton, NY 13905. Visiting hours will be from 11:30-12:30 and the service will begin at 12:30. Expressions of sympathy in memory of Dick may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton (UUBC) to support interfaith programming or the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW).

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Published by Press & Sun-Bulletin from Dec. 7 to Dec. 8, 2009.
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40 Entries
Dear Roz and all of your family.
I am saddened to hear and read of your husband's death. We share connection of moments and times past. and I share my wishes for your healing and peace. Fondly,
Kathi and Stan Popielarski
Sarasota, Florida
December 28, 2009
Dear Mrs. Antoun and Family,
I was very sad to hear about Dr. Antoun. You and your family are in our prayers. My name is Ahmad Bani Yassin and your husband spent alot of time in my village, Kufr al-Ma. Dr. Antoun stayed in my family's home. We loved and respected him and feel we have lost a good friend. I believe he is in heaven because of his loving and generous ways. We are thankful for his caring about us and writing to share with others our Arabic culture.
Ahmad Bani Yassin
December 26, 2009
Dear Roz and Family,
We are so saddened to hear of Dick's tragic death.
Know that we are thinking of you.
Maxine and Arnie Cohen
December 14, 2009
Roz and family,
We were so sorry to hear of your loss.
We did not know your husband, but he sounded like an extraordinary man. You are in our thoughts and prayers
Gary and Donna Newlon
December 11, 2009
To the Antoun Family,

My deepest sympathies on the your loss of this wonderful man. The late Timothy Jones and I were students of his. I remember Tim and I talking fondly of his classes as well as his abiding commitment to peace and endearing sense of humor. I remember Tim talking to him about gardening. May the memories comfort you, as I comforted by the thought that those two are in a better place (and probably talking about gardening). Love, peace and blessings to your family.
Cynthia Began
December 10, 2009
Dear Linda and Jane,
I am so sorry to hear about the tragedy that occured regarding your brother, Richard. I have many fond memories of spending time at your home on Rte 9. in Shrewsbury. Your mother and my mother, Josephine Davis Ghiz, were great friends. My sister, Connie remembers spending time with you and your family when we were young. Your mother was just a wonderful person and I have fond memories of her and her friendship with my mother. Again, I am so sorry about the passing of your brother. He was such an impressive, kind person, it is too bad that this terrible event had to occur. Please accept my sincere sympathy.
Nancy Ghiz Walton
Nancy Walton
December 10, 2009
Dr. Antoun inspired my interest in anthropology and generously supported my career goals in the field.

In the over thirty years since he mentored me, I have never forgotten his open hearted and welcoming way.

His commitment to the pursuit of truth, concern for social justice, and fellowship with all persons set the highest standard as a scholar and human being.

My deepest condolences to the Antoun family.

Edwin A. Hession
Los Angeles, CA
Edwin A. Hession
December 10, 2009
Dear Roz, Nick, and the rest of the family of Dr. Richard Antoun, Roz, my tears, love, and great respect and admiration for this wonderful man, scholar, humanist, pacifist, and mentor are with you. It is a great comfort to me when I think of his happiness with you for all of these years--he lived a wonderful, full of contributions and happiness--I am grateful to you.

Love, thoughts, hugs, Mary Elaine Hegland, his 1986 Ph.D.
December 10, 2009
We are deeply sorry for your most tragic loss. Our congregation is praying for your family. God be with you!

Union Presbyterian Church
Kimberly Gregor
December 10, 2009
"Roz ,Nick and Antoun family , i would like to send my deep simpamthy for the loss of a very close individual who guided me through study and life. As one of the phd student in the Anthropology department, Dick was more than a teacher to me. We all will miss him"
Essa Alsadi , Kuwait
Essa Alsadi
December 10, 2009
Dear Mrs. Antoun: I was devastated on hearing the tragic news. I was a student in one of Dick's graduate classes a quarter of a century ago and he was one of the kindest people I have ever met--and one of the most gentle. After my return to Binghamton, 9 years ago, I occasionally had lunch with him and was always struck by his good humor
Ravi Palat
December 9, 2009
Nick,

I am so sorry for your loss. I will always remember your father fondly. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. My hope is that you find some solace during this difficult time.
Cory Bryant
December 9, 2009
Dear Mrs. Antoun and family,

Please accept my deepest sympathies. Professor Antoun was very kind and supportive during my time as a graduate student in the Anthropology Department at Binghamton. I am very sad for his loss.
Gillian Flynn
December 9, 2009
I didn't know Richard, but i'm so sorry this happened. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Marge Vollmer
December 9, 2009
Linda and David,

I have no adequate words to address the sorrow you must be feeling at this time. It is so difficult to comprehend how such a caring and good soul should suffer such fate. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and the rest of the Antoun family. May every memory of Dick become a lasting treasure.
Ann Soucy
December 9, 2009
Linda, Dave and family
I am so sorry to hear of your loss, you are in my thoughts.
Lisa Huntington
December 9, 2009
Dear Roz,

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. I remember all our talks while you did my hair about your walks and the good times you had together. I hope all of your wonderful memories will help you get through the days to come. I hope you can remember me by the Willow Tree Angle I gave you when I left Vestal. I will be thinking of you and your Family with Love.
Marlene Ross
December 8, 2009
Dear Nick,

I can't even begin to express how sorry I am to hear about your dad. He was good man who clearly touched the lives of many, and someone I'll always remember fondly. You and your family are in our prayers, and I wish you all strength and solace.
Stephen Cohen
December 8, 2009
Nick,

Your old friends from the neighborhood are thinking of you and wish you and your family our best. You are in our prayers.
Michael Fiato
December 8, 2009
December 08,2009
Dear Roz and Family,
The community and family has lost a very respected and gentle man. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We know what it is like to lose a loved one tragically. Enjoy the wonderful memories that you shared.
Marilyn and Al Weiner
marilyn Weiner
December 8, 2009
Dear Mrs. Antoun,

I knew your husband in the 1970s, when I was in grad school studying Middle Eastern history and Arabic. I was shocked to read about his passing, and the manner of it, in the Times yesterday. Dr. Antoun was not only deeply learned and a fine teacher, he was uniformly kind and generous, a truly decent human being. My memories are 30 years old, but they all seem to include images of his open smile and ready laugh. I know I speak for dozens, if not hundreds, of his students who are grieving with you and your family.
Karen Sotherland
December 8, 2009
Roz and Family:

Our deep sadness over the tragic loss of your beloved husband, father and grandfather is eased only by the certainty that Dick was loved and respected beyond measure. And he gave what he got. Please know that we hold you all very close to our hearts and that you are loved.

Candace, Barb, Dena and Cindy

First Call For Help
First Call For Help
December 8, 2009
Roz and family,

I am so sorry for your loss. May these difficult days be filled with loving memories of Dick and may you be surrounded by friends and family to help you through the dark days.

Love and hugs,
Judy Shannon
Judy Shannon
December 8, 2009
We did not know this gentleman personally, but from what I hear from people in Binghamton, this is a senseless and tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are sent to the family.
Ben and Kay DeMott
December 8, 2009
Roz,
We would like to express our sincere sympathy to you and your family on the untimely death of Dick. May your fond memories with him allow you to get through this difficult time. Thinking of you,
Ken & Barbara Lenish
December 8, 2009
Dear Roz,
Don & I wish to express our deepest sympathy to you and your family.
Marilyn Livsky
December 8, 2009
Although I don't know you, I want to express my sincere sadness. I sit here and just ask "why?"
December 8, 2009
Dear Roz;
I just learned of this horrific deed and wish to offer my deepest condolences. I do understand the total loss and the devastation you must feel at this point. I wish there
was something I could say to make things more bearable. I will write soon.
All my love
Micki Potchinsky Braslow
Micki Potchinsky
December 7, 2009
Roz, I am still in a state of shock as the whole community is. I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Jane Maas
December 7, 2009
Dear Roz,
I was shocked and saddened to hear of your husband's death. When I heard the news my first thought was "blessed are the peacemakers..." I knew your husband only through our brief conversations and his work in Peace Action. He truly was a child of God and will be greatly missed in our community, in our world.
My deepest sympathy to you and your children.
Bonnie Baker-Duff
December 7, 2009
Roz,
I was shocked and saddened to see the news of your husband's death. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Rochelle (Cohen) Nappi
December 7, 2009
Roz, I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your husband. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I remember all the conversations we had as you did my hair. He was a wonderful person, just from what you shared.
Love to you always
Jane Weeks
Jane Weeks
December 7, 2009
Dear Roz,
My heart goes out to you and your family at this most horrific time in your life. My thoughts are with you and I pray that your inner strength and loving memories, along with the love and devotion of your family and many friends can help you through this devastating and incomprehensible loss.
You and Dick were so blessed to find each other. I've watched you blossom through the years in the glow of his love and I know that glow will remain in your heart forever....Maddi Ward
Maddi Ward
December 7, 2009
Dear Roz, so sorry to hear about Dick. Please accept my condolences.
Moira Shirvan
December 7, 2009
Dear Roz

I was so sorry to hear about Dick's tragic death. Made even more tragic by his commitment to peace. I know you have great strengh and it will carry you through this difficult time. My good thoughts are with you
Pat Fell
December 7, 2009
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Linda Frisbie
December 7, 2009
To the Antoun family,

I am so very sorry for the loss of your husband, father, and grandfather. I did not know Richard but I have only heard how wonderful he was. I hope that you can find some peace at this difficult time. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Laura M. (Employee of BU)
Laura Murphy
December 7, 2009
Dear Roz,
It's hard to understand why people are taken away from us, but find comfort in knowing Dick was such a special part of a well-lived life. We feel honored that we knew Dick and have such great memories of him.
Love to all of you.
Tom & Lucy Verbit Mehl
Loren & Lisa Werner
Johnathan & Andy Mehl
Lucy Mehl
December 7, 2009
Roz-
Words cannot express how deeply sorry we were to hear about Dick's death. We both remember him as a expremely kind person who was very pleasant to us when we were at your home. It has been a while since we last saw you both, but we still cherish the memories. Our deepest sympathies are extended to you. Linda and Dave Kotrch also our daughter Celeste.
Linda Kotrch
December 7, 2009
I was so very sorry to hear of Dick's death. I'm one of the chaplains for United Methodist Homes, and he came to Hilltop and spoke about China. We all enjoyed it so- he will be deeply missed.
Janet Abel
Janet Abel
December 7, 2009
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