Raymond Hall, a wonderful student, colleague, and friend, died peacefully at home on April 7, 2018, in Ellensburg, Washington, at the age of 69. Raymond, a native son of Indianapolis, served in Vietnam and lived in Mexico before making his way to IU, where he initially became a Master Diver and an Underwater Archeologist, later turning to graduate studies in Folklore. Raymond secured the Ph.D. in 1999 with a thesis titled "The Afromestizo on Mexico’s Atlantic Coast: Ethnicity through Food, Festival, and Dance, based on fieldwork on the Veracruz coast of Mexico." He transformed this thesis into a book, An Ethnographic Study of Afro- Mexicans in Mexico's Gulf Coast: Fishing, Festivals, and Foodways, published by Mellen Press in 2008. This work offers a vivid and insightful portrait of this Afro-descendent population through the lens of their traditional expressive culture.
Raymond, accompanied by his wife Diane, left IU to take on a series of academic appointments, beginning at DePauw University and culminating at Central Washington University where he became an associate professor, retiring in 2018. In all of his academic settings, Raymond devoted time and energy to the cause of inclusivity. By all accounts, he was a much-appreciated teacher and colleague, and he continued to pursue intellectual interests focused on African-origin and Indigenous populations in the New World.
Allow me one personal anecdote. In the summer of 2000 Raymond (Ramón) and I travelled to Cuba to attend an academic conference, but we strayed from the group and found ourselves in the good company of Henry and Carlos, who introduced us to their families and shared their lives with us in old Havana. Raymond, personable and affable as ever, formed a lasting friendship with these good fellows, just as he did with so many people, of such varied backgrounds, over the course his life.
Raymond, we miss you.
-John H. McDowell, Professor of Folklore, Indiana University