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Lionel Friedman

Professor Emeritus


Lionel J. FRIEDMAN (May 1921-November 2010)

Lionel Friedman passed away peacefully in his home early on the morning of the 28th with family members present. Most of his family had been present over the holiday weekend and he truly enjoyed the time spent with them. He will be greatly missed by his family, the neighborhood, his friends, and the many forms of wildlife that inhabited his back porch. Lionel was born in Cleveland, Ohio but spent much of his youth at the family cottage in Ipperwash, Canada, a place he continued to re-visit until he moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1961 and maintained a deep affection for until his death. He attended Harvard University, majoring in medieval romance languages and literature, graduating magna cum laude in 1943. He then joined the military where he spent most of his time working in a psychiatric unit in Fort Lewis, Washington. There he met his wife of 57 years, H. Patricia Friedman, her "mother brought me home from a bar". In 1946 he returned to Harvard to pursue an advanced degree. The couple was married in June of 1947 and spent the following year in France where he taught for a year at the Sorbonne. He has referred to this as, in some ways, the best year of his life. He returned to Harvard to finish his Ph.D which he received in June of 1950. In 1953, they moved to Bloomington, Indiana where he taught at Indiana University for eight years with a one year sabbatical in France where the last of their four children was born. The family then moved to Seattle, Washington where he continued to teach at the UW until his retirement in 1991. Lionel was, above all else, a scholar, knowledgeable on many subjects, primarily languages, pursuing the study of Russian after his retirement. He was a lover of dogs and had many during his life, continuing to adopt those of others when he felt he was too old to own one. He loved classical music, opera, and ballet, but also brought home indigenous music from many countries. He was a putterer, pursuing many hobbies, home repairs, gadgets, and cooking. He was also a dedicated walker and made many friends along the Burke-Gilman trail. His sense of humor tended to be dark. There was almost no subject on which he was not informed, and no human or animal beneath his helping read the rest of Prof. Friedman's obituary, visit