Robbins Burling, professor emeritus of anthropology and linguistics, died peacefully Jan. 2 at the age of 94 after a full, rich life.
Rob was born in Minneapolis, the oldest of three children born to Dr. F. Temple and Katherine White Burling. He grew up in Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island, but considered himself a Midwesterner at heart.
After graduating high school in 1944, he entered the Navy and served two years as a radar technician. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1950 on the G.I. Bill, then spent a year working and traveling around the world, an experience he treasured for the rest of his life.
After returning to the U.S. in 1951, Rob married his college sweetheart, Sibyl Straub, and began work on his Ph.D., which he received from Harvard University in 1958. In 1954, he received a Ford Foundation Scholarship that took him and his young family to northeast India for two years to study and work with the Garo of Rengsanggri, leading to many lifelong friendships and the beginning of his prolific writing career.