Obituaries

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Aubrey W. Williams Jr.Anthropology Professor

Aubrey Willis Williams Jr., 83, founding director of the University of Maryland anthropology department and a scholar on American Indians as well as other indigenous people worldwide, died of pneumonia Feb. 23 at Washington Adventist Hospital.

Dr. Williams came to U-Md. in 1962 to teach anthropology classes in the sociology department. His university biography says he initiated the undergraduate degree program in anthropology in 1967, which remained part of the sociology department until becoming separate in 1971.

In the 1970s, he received research grants from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation that led to his involvement on projects identifying early domestication of corn in the Mexican state of Puebla and beans in Mexico's Oaxaca Valley. Later grants allowed him to study village life in Oaxaca, particularly marriage practices.

His research on Navajo political life, Zapotec and Mixtec dietary and exchange practices as well as canal systems of central Mexico was published in journals and book collections.

Dr. Williams was born in Madison, Wis., and raised in the Washington area while his father became a New Deal official and served as head of the National Youth Administration.

After graduation from Arlington County's Washington-Lee High School, Dr. Williams served in the Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II and was a flight engineer and B-17 gunner.

Afterward, he followed his father as a social and economic activist for black and white people. He became circulation manager for his father's Montgomery, Ala.,-based newspaper, the Southern Farmer. In the mid-1950s, he was a field camp director for the American Friends Service Committee in Puebla.

He was a 1955 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also received a master's degree in anthropology in 1957.

He received a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1964, where he conducted field research among the Mohave and Chemehuevi Indians along the lower Colorado River. His books included "Navajo Political Process" (1970).

At U-Md., he organized protests against the Vietnam War and in favor of student rights, fair housing and civil liberties.

In addition to his anthropology work, Dr. Williams won Fulbright scholarships to teach in the Soviet Union in 1981 and Finland in 1990. He was Silver Spring resident.

His marriages to Rebecca Otter and Graceanne Adamo ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Jonathan Williams of Prairie Farm, Wis., and Nancy Otter of New Britain, Conn.; a son from his second marriage, Aubrey Philip Williams of Santa Barbara, Calif.; two brothers; and five grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein

Edwin Frederick Hoeltzel Sr.Auto Dealer

Edwin Frederick Hoeltzel Sr., 84, who operated new- and used-car dealerships in Loudoun County for many years, died Feb. 22 of pneumonia at Inova Loudoun Hospital. He lived in Paeonian Springs.

Mr. Hoeltzel was born in Pittsburgh and served in the Army during World War II. He was an auto repairman in Mount Airy and an auto service manager before opening Leesburg Motors, a Ford franchise, in 1958. In 1968, he expanded the business, making it one of the country's first combined Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealerships.

He sold his franchise in 1981 and opened H&H Used Cars in Purcellville. He remained active in the business, now operated by his sons and a grandson, until about six years ago.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Grace M. Hoeltzel of Paeonian Springs; three children, Edwin F. "Sonny" Hoeltzel Jr. and Claudia Ann Bolen-Sullivan, both of Hamilton, and Harold L. Hoeltzel of Purcellville; a sister, Jean H. Shepherd of Salisbury, Md.; seven grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

-- Matt Schudel


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