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  • Publishing the Southwest – A Dedication
  • Joseph C. Wilder

We dedicate this issue to the late Don Bahr, longtime editorial board member of Journal of the Southwest and publishing mentor, as well as professor emeritus of anthropology at Arizona State University. Don died October 30, 2016. This issue includes a eulogy given by Dilli Bahr, Don's widow, on December 30, 2016, at his memorial service in Santa Rosa, Arizona, on the Tohono O'odham reservation.

I loved Don as a man and as a scholar, together. He was gentle, kind, humorous, and absolutely dedicated to his work. He was a scholar in the sense that that was his bios, his way of life, utterly inseparable from Don the husband and father and colleague. Don's enthusiasm for his work—for songs and poetry—was beautiful and infectious. I miss the phone calls I would get from Don, rhapsodizing about a problem or a poetic device, or a special narrative he understood in the O'odham and wanted to explain to me and to the world. He loved publishing and he loved publishers, which endeared him to me. He was always so interested in JSW (and we in him) and in what the Southwest Center was up to.

I miss Don very much and will never know anyone again quite like him. This may be apocryphal, but it sure sounds like him: I remember Bunny Fontana telling me about the first time he ever saw Don: It was sometime in the early sixties and he remembered seeing Don walking barefooted in a village—maybe it was Santa Rosa—in the O'odham Nation, playing a flute. That would be Don, totally absorbed, careless about anything extraneous, fluent in O'odham and dedicated to understanding and interpreting O'odham mythology, poetry, song, and culture. He was utterly at home in his adopted homeland, and seemed at times to know more than anyone I have ever met.

I want Dilli and his children to know one other thing about Don, as I knew him. He was extraordinarily proud of his wife and children: He loved your accomplishments, was proud of what you could do in the world, and always seemed a bit amazed and wondrous that you, in some way, belonged to him. This was a very affecting and engaging part of Don, and evident to all who knew him. In existential ways, he was careless of himself; all his energy was directed at others, at the world that fascinated him and the hard thinking that entailed. His freedom to be such a unique person was rooted in the strong, loving family that cared for Don and nurtured his extraordinary goodness and enduring worth. [End Page 485]



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