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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 2:34 am | Fair 44º

 
 
 
 

Family, Friends Gather in Memory of UCSB Anthropologist Phil Walker

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History draws a crowd to honor renowned professor, who died earlier this month at age 61.

Among those attending Sunday's memorial service for UCSB anthropology professor Phil Walker were, from left, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang and his wife, Dilling, and John Tooby, an anthropologist colleague of Walker's.
Among those attending Sunday’s memorial service for UCSB anthropology professor Phil Walker were, from left, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang and his wife, Dilling, and John Tooby, an anthropologist colleague of Walker’s. (Robert Bernstein photo)

Family and friends gathered Sunday evening to honor the memory of Phil Walker, a UCSB anthropology professor who died of a heart attack Feb. 6. He was 61.

People from Walker’s wide circle of friends packed the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s Fleischmann Auditorium to share stories and memories of the renowned educator, who researched the lives and development of Viking-Age people in Iceland, and the history of health in Europe from prehistoric times to the present. Walker also used his skills to do forensic research on a homicide case in Mammoth Lakes.

Jim Farr, right, former publisher of the late Goleta Valley Voice newspaper, and Santa Barbara City Councilman Das Williams.
Jim Farr, right, former publisher of the late Goleta Valley Voice newspaper, and Santa Barbara City Councilman Das Williams. (Robert Bernstein photo)
When not conducting research, Walker was also a talented illustrator and maker of mandolins and other stringed instruments. He also had a passion for ancient relics and would travel around the world to examine the ones that intrigued him. He was married to former Goleta Mayor Cynthia Brock.

Walker was born July 22, 1947, in Elkhart, Ind. He graduated from Indiana University in 1970 with a degree in anthropology and a minor in zoology. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1973, and joined the faculty of UCSB in 1974, after teaching briefly at UC Davis.

Click here for a tribute Web site in Walker’s memory.

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