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Dr. Donald R. Laing, Jr.

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“Karen and Dr Diller, We are so sorry for your loss. Please know that you are in our thoughts at this time. Our deepest sympathies go out to you and...Read More »
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DONALD R. LAING, JR., age 77, was born in Richeyville, Pennsylvania, on October 5, 1931. He received his A.B. at Washington and Jefferson College, 1953, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Master’s Degree in 1960 and Ph.D. in 1965, both in Classics.

Dr. Laing was heavily involved in the field of Classical Studies. In 1957 he was a member of the Summer Session of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) and his relationship with the School would continue the rest of his life; he was a Research Fellow there in 1967-1968, holding the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) Olivia James Fellowship, he was Summer Session leader in 1987, and from 1969 until his death he was a representative of the School's Managing Committee. He joined Case Western Reserve University’s (CWRU) Department of Classics in 1962, where he would serve for over forty years. Among the positions he held at CWRU were chair of the Department of Classics and Assistant Dean for Study Abroad in the Office of Collegiate Affairs.

His area of specialty was Greek history and epigraphy (writing on stone), especially Athenian naval inscriptions, to which study he contributed much. In the 1970s he was able to lure Henry Robinson, who had been the director of the ASCSA, out of retirement to come to CWRU and the two of them struck up a close collaboration on the Temple Hill excavations at ancient Corinth conducted by Robinson in that decade. His love for ancient Corinth would be a mainstay of his life, and in June of 2007 he travelled there one last time to conduct research on some Greek and Latin inscriptions found during those Temple Hill excavations of the 1970s. He was also a long-time member of the Cleveland Archaeological Society and served both on its board and as its president; an annual lecture of the Society was endowed and named in his honor, and he was to be awarded Lifetime Achievement at their May meeting. He retired from CWRU's Department of Classics in 2003 (although he returned to teach one semester in the Fall of 2007). After retirement he continued to serve as the secretary of the CWRU chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa; he also served on the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Association of Phi Beta Kappa. Last year, the donation of his collection was dedicated in his name at Ohio State University.

On the extracurricular side, at CWRU he was a member of the faculty-staff softball team ("Mary's Grind-ups”), a participant in and producer of faculty-staff talent shows in the 1980s and 1990s, and part of the entertaining vocal group CWRUTones.

Outside the university, in the Cleveland area he sang in church choirs and community choral groups, in particular the West Shore Chorale. He was an active member of Parma-South Presbyterian Church. He served as Elder, taught adult religious education classes, served on pastor search committee and others, sang in the choir and participated in the men’s golf league, bowling and bridge clubs. Longtime west side resident, when he moved to the east side he became a member of Fairmount Presbyterian Church, where he also was a member of the church choir. His love of singing serious music led him to the West Shore Chorale for the past decade. He combined his love of singing and travel when he visited China with the West Shore Chorale in 2005.

He was a supporter of the Cleveland Arts with subscriptions to the symphony, theater and opera. He was an avid golfer and lifelong Cleveland Indians fan, using his CWRU spring break to follow the Indians during their spring training when in Winterhaven.

Don touched the lives of many people throughout his life with his many activities and interests. He was a lover of baseball and sports, a fan of the culinary arts, an avid golfer, and a constant singer both at home and as part of the church choirs and chorale. His dedication, enthusiasm, energy, generosity, good humor, and booming bass voice will be much missed.

Don was a devoted husband of the late Daryl L. (nee Wachs) and the late Lois Marie (nee Show); beloved father of Karen Diller (Jon), David (Pam), James (Joyce), Ried Zulager, Dana Zulager (Cody Cramer), Kae Zulager (Ron Carpenter), and Cindi Kimble (Darren); dear grandfather of Andrew, Emily, Joseph, Jay, Joseph, Samantha, Madeline, Thomas, Wyatt, Lydia and Clayton; great-grandfather of Hannah and Jackson; brother of the late Kay Westerberg and the late Janet Mellinger; and loving son of the late Donald R. Laing, Sr. and the late Leila (nee Sisler). Dr. Laing was a Professor of Classics at Case Western Reserve University.

Passed away on Thursday, April 2, 2009. Memorials may be forwarded to a charity of choice, Don supported many charitable causes. Funeral service at funeral home 10 AM Monday, April 6, 2009. Inurnment at Woodvale Cemetery. Cremation by Busch Crematory. Friends may call at the BUSCH FUNERAL HOME, 7501 RIDGE ROAD, PARMA, from 2-4 and 6-8 PM, SUNDAY.

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