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Richard Garvin

$20.00 (raised so far)

About Richard Garvin

Richard Garvin was a much loved Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at the UBC Okanagan campus, who sadly passed away on Jan 6, 2016. He had been a professor at UBCO since 2000, and was well known for his work with the local Coroner’s office and with First Nations communities in the Okanagan and BC’s West Coast.

Richard was born in Vancouver and spent most of his childhood in the District of North Vancouver where he attended Seymour Heights Elementary School and Windsor Secondary. His passion for archaeology began many years ago at Simon Fraser University where he graduated with a BA in 1984. He quickly moved on to complete an MA in Taphonomic Archaeology at the University of Calgary in 1988, followed by a PhD in Environmental Archaeology in 1994. His doctoral research focused on both modern and prehistoric agriculture in the Sierra Mixteca region of Oaxaca, south-central Mexico.

He spent much of his early post-university years working with the Nisga’a in northern BC where he carried out a number of cemetery projects, contributing to the genealogical history of the community. In 1996 he moved to the Okanagan to become an instructor at Okanagan University College.

From 2007-2010 he collaborated with Dr. Jane Kelley, Professor Emerita at the University of Calgary on the Chihuahua Archaeology Project. Richard was very happy to have recently coauthored three published reports on archaeological investigations in west-central Chihuahua. Also in 2007, Richard began his ongoing research with UBC Okanagan colleague, Maury Williams, on the Myra Canyon Historical Archaeology Project, generating considerable public interest. In recent months, he had been working with various community organizations in developing a heritage management certificate program for UBC Okanagan, evidencing his long-term commitment to cultural resource management and First Nations heritage.

In addition to his extensive fieldwork on many archaeological projects thought BC, Alberta and Mexico; Richard was very much engaged with his students. He began teaching 25 years ago, and over the years developed a repertoire of several dozen different courses in archaeology and anthropology. He especially enjoyed his classes on the prehistory and ethnography of the Northwest Coast, and Meso-America, but regularly taught many other courses such as introduction to world archaeology, osteology, and forensic anthropology. He also taught several field schools and some of his students went on to pursue careers in anthropology and archaeology.

Richard has numerous friends and colleagues not only at the university but also in the wider archaeological community. He will be remembered for his love of archaeology, his willingness to always help out no matter the task at hand, his passion for entertaining and cooking Mexican food, his engaging sense of humour, and propensity for great story telling. His quick smile, laughter, keen insight and compassion will be deeply missed by family, friends, colleagues and all who knew him.

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The impact of your support

The Dr. Richard Garvin Memorial Fund has been created at UBC Okanagan in honour of his outstanding career and many contributions to the community and the university.

Your gift will make a fitting tribute to Richard’s life and his commitment to students, by supporting an award for undergraduate students in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences.

Messages of Remembrance

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  • I was so happy when a copy of Richard Garvin's dissertation arrived at the Welte Institute in Oaxaca, as I had met him when he was doing his research and was always interested in his work. Then I was told that he had died, I was so so shocked and sorry. His work is important for Oaxacan studies and will live on at the Instituto Welte.

    Martha W Rees,
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