Roger T. Grange Jr.October 6, 1927 ~ August 26, 2017 (age 89)
Roger Tibbetts Grange, Jr, 89, of New Smyrna Beach, died Saturday, August 26, 2017, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Roger was born October 6, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Roger Tibbetts Grange, Sr. and Norma Francis Brown. After graduating from Chicago Christian High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago where he first began his life’s work in archaeology and anthropology. He received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Arizona, with a dissertation on Pawnee Indian pottery.
He was married to Jane Randolph Whitner on October 16, 1953 and they were together for 59 years until her death in 2012. He is survived by his three children, Dorothy Katherine Grange, MD, clinical geneticist, (Paul Olivo) of St. Louis, MO, Roger T. Grange, III, cinematographer, (Vera Aronow) of Nyack, NY and Thomas Randolph Grange, architect, (Leslie Lamarre) of Burlingame CA; seven grandchildren, Nelson Olivo, Peter Olivo, David Olivo, Alexandra Grange, Benjamin Grange, Sydney Grange and Whitner Grange; and 2 great-grandchildren, Gavin and Ainsleigh Olivo.
Roger conducted archaeological excavations every summer, including prehistoric sites in South Dakota, Nebraska and South Carolina, and at historic sites at Fort Michilimackinac and Fort Mackinaw in Michigan, Castle Hill in Newfoundland, and Fort Lennox in Quebec. He began his career as a museum curator, first in western Nebraska at Fort Robinson and later in Lincoln as the curator of anthropology at the Nebraska State Historical Society. He moved his family to Tampa in 1964, where he was the founder of the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida. He taught there for 30 years until his retirement in 1994 and trained many future archaeologists through the graduate programs he established. After he and Jane moved to New Smyrna Beach, Roger continued his archaeological work on the 18th century Smyrnea Settlement for the next 20 years, along with Dorothy Moore, making many important discoveries about local history. He played an instrumental role at the New Smyrna Beach Museum of History through his volunteer work there. Roger rekindled his interest in painting over the last few years of his life, and produced a large body of work, while interacting with artists at The Hub and the Artists Workshop. Jane and Roger were avid travelers and visited all seven continents and about 100 countries on numerous cruises and driving tours; they especially loved Australia where he worked as a visiting professor. Roger was a fencer as a young man, and he enjoyed surfing at New Smyrna Beach for many years until his late 80’s.
Over the past year, despite his declining health, he diligently wrote and published a 400 page autobiography, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Dig: An Archaeologist’s Autobiography”, a compilation of his life experiences, which all of his family and friends will treasure and remember him by. Roger was a wonderful son, husband, father, grandfather, scholar, mentor, teacher and friend to many. We will truly miss his warmth and affection, as well as his keen intelligence and quirky sense of humor.
Calling hours will be 11:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m. on Friday, September 1, 2017 at Settle-Wilder’s New Smyrna Beach Chapel. Graveside service will be 2:00 p.m. on Friday, where he will be buried next to his wife and her parents in Evergreen Municipal Cemetery, 1975 West 25th Street, Sanford, Florida 32773.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Artists Workshop of New Smyrna Beach, 100 Barracuda Blvd, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169 or the New Smyrna Beach Museum of History, 120 Sams Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168.