Dell Hathaway Hymes, 82, a linguist, an anthropologist, and a folklorist who was dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania for 12 years, died of complications of Alzheimer's disease Nov. 13 at the Cedars Nursing Home in Charlottesville, Va.
Dr. Hymes joined Penn as a professor of anthropology in 1965. He was appointed dean in 1975. He left in 1987 to became a professor of anthropology and English at the University of Virginia.
At Penn, Dr. Hymes launched the educational linguistics program in the graduate school. He taught courses in linguistic anthropology and in American Indian mythology and poetry, and wrote several books, including Language in Culture and Society.
His love for his native Pacific Northwest was a deep theme in his work and his life, his family said, and while working in Philadelphia and Charlottesville he spent summers doing field work in Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon.
While at Penn, he lived in University City, where he was a member of St. Mary's Episcopal Church. He was a man of strong political views, his family said, and he joined with other Penn professors to protest the Vietnam War.
Dr. Hymes grew up in Portland. While attending Reed College there, he conducted his first field research at Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon and began a lifelong relationship with the Wasco and other tribes.
He interrupted his education to serve in the Army after World War II and was stationed in Korea.
After graduating from Reed in 1950, he earned a doctorate in linguistics from Indiana University, where he met his future wife, Virginia Dosch. His dissertation was on the language of the Kathlamet Chinook.
Dr. Hymes taught at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, before joining Penn.
He enjoyed writing poetry, studying theology, and playing piano.
In addition to his wife of 55 years, Dr. Hymes is survived by sons Robert and Kenneth, daughters Vicky Unruh and Alison, a brother, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Peace Lutheran Church, Charlottesville. On Dec. 5, during its annual meeting in Philadelphia, the American Anthropological Association will hold a memorial gathering from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the ballroom of the Courtyard Marriott, 21 N. Juniper St. Dr. Hymes was president of the association in 1982.