Professor dies over weekend

Abbey Brown

History professor Richard Salisbury’s almost 40-year passion for Latin America was clearly evident in his teaching and research during his time on the Hill. He was described as an energetic and dynamic teacher by his colleagues.

These same colleagues were shocked and saddened when they heard that Salisbury died in his home on Saturday.

While at Western, Salisbury taught Latin American history courses and upper level courses in the history of Mexico and colonial Latin America. He won the Potter College Faculty Excellence Award in 1985 and the University Research Award in 1989 and was a distinguished professor. He was also a Fulbright scholar.

History Department Head Richard Weigel said it was hard for him to put in words how he felt when he found out about Salisbury’s death.

“Frightened, shocked and upset,” Weigel said. “It’s a major blow. We have lost a great teacher and scholar.”

Salisbury’s family said yesterday they were too upset to talk about his death.

Deputy Coroner Dwayne Lawrence confirmed that Salisbury took his own life and said he was pronounced dead at 8:20 p.m. but would release no more details.

David Lee, dean of Potter College, has known Salisbury since he began teaching at Western in 1976.

“He was one of the finest classroom teachers I’ve ever seen,” Lee said.

Salisbury, originally from Oswego, N.Y., received his doctorate in Latin American History from the University of Kansas in 1969.

His interest in Latin America developed after his service in the Peace Corps from 1964 to 1966 in Venezuela, Lee said.

Salisbury is survived by his wife of 37 years, Michele Salisbury of Bowling Green; daughter Jennifer Salisbury of Dallas, Texas; sons John Salisbury of New York City and Michael Salisbury of Washington, D.C.; and two brothers.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow at J.C. Kirby & Son Funeral Chapel on Broadway Avenue. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Christ Episcopal Church on State Street.