Date Created: 12/06/2014
Last Updated: 12/12/2014

In loving memory of Bill Lachicotte, Jr.
4/29/1948 - 12/3/2014

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Visits: 43,003

This memorial was created in honor of William "Bill" Shannon Lachicotte, Jr. of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Bill was born on April 29, 1948 in Charlotte, NC and passed on December 3, 2014. He was also warmly known as "Wild Bill from Chapel Hill." Bill would be happy for us to smile. Besides being a Chapel Hill/Carrboro person that many recognized on sight, we knew him as a brother, a colleague, a companion of many years, a co-author, a friend, a housemate, a mentor/advisor, a professor, an uncle....

Please use the "Life Story," "Media Gallery," and "Memories (put tributes in Memories." (I don't know what "Candles" are. Use them if you want.) IF YOU DON'T WANT TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT, SEND THE MESSAGE TO ME AT AND I WILL POST IT.

The celebration of Bill's life will happen on Saturday night, Dec. 13th from 6 to 9 pm at 451 Lakeshore Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Thank you for helping to build this Memory book for Bill's life.


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Current Memories

From: steven klein Thursday, March 9, 2023
I've been thinking of a seminar taught by Terry Evens in which Bill and I participated, circa mid 1980s, and thought I would finally post to Bill's memory. Bill was as smart and deep and well-read as anyone I have ever met, I would say something of a genius but in fact he was a genius, he just parceled it out in bits and pieces to friends and students without trying to impress anyone, so it was hard to see his genius whole. To be honest, when I first started taking anthro courses I didn't know what Bill did, I knew he had been in the department for years, I knew he had been a student of Terry Evens years earlier, I saw him at every department event and reading group and in Alumni Hall, but that was it. He could speak with insight and depth about anything: philosophical or sociological theory, ethnography, basketball strategy, game-theory, weather patterns, all at a level equal or beyond those of the experts. In one seminar we all read Derrida for the first time and while I had not a clue what to make of it, Bill grasped it immediately and got right to the heart of it. Bill was like a character out of a novel, the genius polymath who spends years on his dissertation while he explores every other subject imaginable in great depth, studies every related discipline and game and sport, and sees the forms behind the shadows in Plato's cave. If only there were more like him.

From: Suzanna Dupee Friday, February 3, 2017
I just stumbled upon the sad news of Dr. L's passing after recently singing his praises to a friend interested in disability studies. I am heartbroken and wish I'd known sooner, but am grateful for this forum to keep his memory alive. I was an undergraduate student of Dr. L's (I believe I ended up taking 4 or 5 of his Med Anth courses in my last two years of college - and I was not even an anthropology major!) His courses were expertly crafted and I still regularly refer to the discussions we had, the readings he assigned, and the topics we discussed in both my personal and professional life. But beyond his academic and intellectual aptitude, Dr. L was a kind and thoughtful soul. I will never forget how he insisted on grading each paper by hand (a rare feat in the age of technology!), scribbling full paragraphs in the margins that were so astute and well-written that his little red words jumped off the page and felt like an invigorating conversation, complete with his famous wry sense of humor! Of course, because of this, he often returned papers very late, and would show up to class on the day of his self-prescribed and unmet deadline with a bashful apology to the room full of procrastinating and excuse-filled undergrads (a hilarious juxtaposition which I am sure he well knew!) I'd like to share an email he wrote to me when my beloved grandmother passed away unexpectedly during the middle of a semester: "My condolences to you and your family, Suzanna. What makes it so hard is the feeling that people die "away from us," leaving absences that extend beyond themselves to all those relationships we value (in part) through them. The Ifaluk Islanders (in the Caroline island group in the Pacific) actually use this term. On Ifaluk, no one just dies; everyone is affected by a loss that colors the entire network of one's relationships. I've experienced this kind of loss with both my mom and dad--and so I sympathize. Take care of yourself and those you love." Rest in peace, dear Dr. L.

From: Courtney Lewis Thursday, February 25, 2016
I've had this in my queue for quite a while now (clearly), but just couldn't get the words right. In the end, I hope it is enough to convey the enormous impression that Bill made on my life during my work as a graduate student. His encouragement, concern for his students, keen insight, and jokes inspire me to be a better professor, mentor, and person. He passing leaves a hole, but I will always be grateful to have known him.

From: Sandra Morgen Monday, January 12, 2015
I met Bill “back in the day,” in the 1970s when we were both graduate students, during one of the most transformative periods of my life. One of the great joys of graduate school – the greatest joy actually – was being with the amazing graduate student colleagues at UNC in those days, and Bill was one of the dearest. He was always up for deep, lengthy, sometimes rambling (ah the fun of it!) discussion, political and intellectual ,and the amazing combination of political and scholarly our particular cohort at that heady time was privileged to experience. Oh his mind – everyone who knew him knew his brilliance. And his great laugh and smile. His profound humanity…and humility. I did not know he was sick and for not being there at least momentarily for him, I am deeply saddened. As someone living with cancer myself I know how important it is to reach out (to be reached out to as well) and I wish I had known and had done so. I would have told him that despite the years since we had seen each other that he was vivid in my memory, held precious because the WE of that time, whether WE were discussing or debating or dancing or playing volleyball or trying to figure out next steps or relationships that WE helped shape who I have become in very important ways and that WE was a community that has buoyed me with memories and still existing friendships for so long. As fellow medical anthropologists (though he really was one and I strayed far) it would have been interesting to compare notes about just how embodied cancer (and other illnesses) are and how much more difficult and profound they are to inhabit than to study. We would have had a great discussion – and we didn’t have it and that is my loss. I know, however, that Bill’s passing is the greatest loss to those who knew and saw and spent time with him over decades -- my beloved friends and colleagues in Alumni Hall. I send each of you my love since the only way to send it to him is to send it to the still living and to be one more who contributes to the community that meant so much to him and that he helped sustain. Old friend – you were, as we say in Yiddish – a mensch. May your memory be a blessing.

From: Vic Young Friday, January 9, 2015
From a very early age I knew Bill and his 2 sisters Polly and Lucia, but I never truly knew him. In the past 20 years I have come to know him better as we visited him and Dottie back and forth between Pawleys Island and Chapel Hill. I can't help but feel now that I cheated myself by not trying harder to know such an amazing individual as Bill better. Bill was passionate about his work - social and medical anthropology - and all our family is so grateful for the heartfelt expressions of love from his friends, co-workers and students. The beautiful celebration of life has shown us a side of Bill that we knew very little about. Bill was an encyclopedia of sports statistics; we didn't need Google when he was with us. He loved basketball, especially Carolina; he watched games like a coach with focused attention on the x's and o's. We'll all miss you, Bill; you'll forever be in our hearts. We look forward to being with you again when we're done with this life. Vic and Family

From: arlene davis Sunday, January 4, 2015
I can hear his laugh of course. And his greeting ("my dear")as he entered our little shared office in the Social Medicine suite back in the 1990s. Many coffee breaks together, at work and at Bob & Aviva's, and gifts of calendars of medieval tapestries. I still have those calendars. I just learned of Bill's passing yesterday. A good person is gone from this earth.

From: Amanda Parsons Sunday, December 28, 2014
My life has followed several paths since my days at Carolina, but once and anthropologist always an anthropologist. And the department and those who populated it still hold most special places in my heart. My first memory of Bill (because aren't we as anthropologists always trying to make sense of those visual memories?) is watching him walk across campus toward the Anthropology Department with the comfort of coming to a home. Odd how strong an image I have of him then, of being introduced to him by Marion Oettinger, whom I had also just met. Ah life and lives. It seems that at that time he lived on McDonald burgers, a phase that only a young person,as he was at that time, could have survived. I see the young Bill in the photo above--the welcoming face and eyes. The intelligence and curiosity. But I miss the smile and laugh that seemed also to define him. A bit of an all knowing twitch. How sad I am to hear of his passing. A sad year for grad students of that time since George Stuart left us also. I send my love to all who might remember me ever so long ago, to Dottie a special hug, and to the memory of Bill a warm embrace, a salute to a life fully lived.

From: Dottie Holland Friday, December 19, 2014
Bill's Celebration: Thank you for making the celebration for Bill a big loving remembrance true to his spirit. The medical anthropology people threw a retirement party for Bill at Peter and Silvia’s this past summer. Bill was really touched by it. This celebration would have probably overwhelmed him completely and left him without a witty comment. Lucia, Polly and I thank Jane and James for the perfect place, Michele for being the m-c, Michele and Cassie for transforming us via the Russian vodka ritual, Vimala for the food, Allen for helping in numerous ways, Sarah for getting the slide show to work, and the speakers for painting a portrait of all his different sides: Michele, Cassie, Peter, Sue, Bob, Barry, Michele, Jeff, Josh, Vic, Jr, Kim, Allen, and Cece. We also thank Warren Newton, Bill’s physician for 15 years, and all of the rest of you for being there for us and helping see Bill through this part of life. Love to you all. I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone and I don’t have everyone’s email address. Three announcements: 1) If you haven’t written on, please do so. 2) The slide show is now on is now working. Go to Gallery and scroll down for videos. Or, scroll down on Memorials to video. 3) Jane tells me someone left a pair of ladies glasses at her house. Send me email and I will connect you with Jane.

From: Dottie Holland Wednesday, December 17, 2014
To Dottie from Judy Farquhar - Thanks for asking Marisol to bring me news of Bill at the AAA, and I’m also grateful to Barry for letting me know about recent developments over a week ago. Barry called me last night to tell me Bill had gone. I can only imagine how you must be feeling, and what you have been through, are going through, with a death like this of someone so dear. I wish I could come to Chapel Hill, find a Buddhist temple, and burn some incense to ease Bill’s road away from us, and to give some meaning to the loss of him in our world. And I’d love to see you, talk about life. Impossible to be sensible about death, my feelings are more than sadness at a loss or worry for you and Bill’s other friends and lovers. Something about the definitive irreversible end of a specifically beautiful life is just so absolutely hard to accept. It’s a physical assault, even more than the terminal disease and the ICU horrors. I hope you’re coping, I’ll be thinking of you. And so are Jim, Lili, Susan Shaw, Ann Kakaliouras, and Dianne Levy — the last three and I toasted Bill (and you) and talked about his research and teaching last night over a dinner that felt like being at home. Much love, Judy

From: Sarah Kowitt Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I’ve only known Mr. Bill for a relatively short amount of time (2 years), but he certainly meant a lot more to me than the years might indicate. I used to go to Trivia on Tuesday nights at Steel String and I joked that Mr. Bill would be the best trivia partner. He knew everything about anything. One time I was telling him about my cousin who played for an Israeli basketball team. On the spot, Mr. Bill was able to spit out obscure facts about their best players, their international rankings, and the history of their Olympic pursuits. To the say the least, I was impressed. Yet, his knowledge was only one of Mr. Bill’s impressive characteristics. I was never fortunate enough to take a class with Mr. Bill, but I can only assume that he was an excellent teacher, mentor, and advisor. One time, I was sitting in the anthropology building waiting for a class to begin. An undergrad next to me told me that she was also waiting for a class—a medical anthropology course. She told me she was disappointed because the usual professor (Prof. Lachicotte) was taking a leave of absence. Her friends had told her that he was a wonderful teacher. Nothing less would surprise me. I’ll really Mr. Bill’s presence and I’m certainly not the only one. As much as Mr. Bill meant to me, it was nothing compared to the bond he shared with Simon. I’ve tried for months to get Simon to set on my lap like he does for Mr. Bill—with no avail. I’ve never met a cat so reserved with his affection but so loving with Mr. Bill. They had a special bond—evident all the more so by Simon’s distress over the past few weeks. I’ll remember Mr. Bill for his vigorous walking (in steep hills no less!), passionate cursing (especially at the TV during the most recent senate election), and perhaps most of all, his singing. I keep on expecting to hear his voice at the most unusual hours.

From: Victor Braitberg Monday, December 15, 2014
Shortly after my arrival in Chapel Hill as a new graduate student I met with Judith Farqhuar to introduce myself and discuss my research interests. I had come to Alumni Hall with the intention of doing an ethnopsychology of psychotherapeutic practice. Judy informed me that it had alrady been done and brilliantly so by this guy named Bill Lachicotte who had just begun a post-doc at Harvard. Well, that bit of information momentarily took the wind out of my sails but it made me want to find out all that I could about this Lachicotte guy. I soon found myself reading Bill's dissertation which blew me away. To this day I think it remains an unparallelled account of mental health care that manages to seamlessly weave together institutional structures, therapeutic practices, discourses of expertise, and the lived experiences of patients. I ended up reformulating my project and going in different directions but my fasciination with Bill's take on things never ended. Every time I organized a panel at AAA I would invite him and he always delivered the most striking insights, without fail, and always in the most self-effacing way.To this day, I honestly know of no other anthropologist who has written about subjectivities of expert knowlege and power more insightfully than Bill. I continue to take every chance I have to promote his work.

From: Michael Livesay Monday, December 15, 2014
Thirty years ago I began a series of decisions that gradually led me away from people I considered family and friends into new locations, community, and responsibility. I don’t know that I would have done things otherwise, but I certainly had regrets. It also never really occurred to me that I would not, some day, have the opportunity to reconnect and catch up with those folks. It thus was a completely shocking experience when Mary Boyer passed away, and even more devastating to me to learn than Bill is no longer with us. Everyone who knew Bill knows that he was a brilliant and often unconventional thinker, that he read widely as well as deeply, that he could have incredible sympathy for those he cared about (as well as the proletarian masses he did not personally know), that he could be moody and sad as well as hysterically buoyant and funny, and that he was just a great companion and friend. He and I had so many conversations that shaped my thinking and philosophy of life (as well as led to good work) that I am not going to try to recapture those. It would be like talking about one brain cell at a time. Instead, I am mostly thinking of some of times we spent together. Bill was one of the very few individuals willing to play strategy and simulation games with me and my brother. Not only was he a competitive strategist, he could be enough of a jurist to argue with us about the rules to the games and to put up with the personal quirks that can arise when families play “serious” games. He must have had a good time because pretty soon he was playing those games with me, my brother, and Dottie too! We finally pushed it too far when we tried to convince faculty and students that everyone should participate in regular gaming sessions of KingMaker. For a few years after Bill and I first met I would find myself worrying about him: he was one of at least two individuals in the department who personified the term “absent-minded professor.” I was not alone in feeling that Bill might need a little help dealing with the practical, particularly since he could take unexpected trials so seriously. Once Bill’s roommate unintentionally left a knife in the drying rack with the point up, and Bill accidentally cut himself quite badly. He was pretty shook up about this, but not just because he was hurt. He spent hours analyzing how the situation occurred, what could have been done differently and should be done in the future, and especially how to talk about the accident without making his roommate feel worse than he already did. For several months one year, Bill and I both lived in Carrboro. Often we would walk home together so we could continue our conversations. One day we crossed a side street in front of a car stopped at the sign and looking to pull into traffic. Suddenly the car leaped forward, hitting Bill and knocking him completely up onto the hood. After rolling off and getting back up, Bill simply stood looking intently at the preppy fool behind the wheel of his Audi, as if he were a complete idiot deserving of pity. My response was louder and more violent, but I don’t think it was any more effective. Bill, Jeff Boyer, Marion Oettinger and a few others undertook to organize my bachelor party the evening before my wedding. I arrived at the designated bar to find the three of them drinking light beer discussing the future of liberation theology. Bill, being a fellow Southerner, quickly realized the importance of switching to bourbon and boilermakers, and lowering the tone of the conversation. What took place later in the evening is a story someone is going to have to put in my memory book. I’m only sorry it won’t be Bill preparing the entry. Bill and I shared a love of music. He could talk about and sing everything from shape note music, folksongs, Moby Grape, to Captain Beefheart. We would sing a capella at the department parties, sing when we or someone got out a guitar, and just get together with friends to sing. My best birthday celebration ever resulted when Dottie and Bill got with all of our musical friends to surprise me with a night of singing and camaraderie. I used to (and still do to an extent) assume that anything taken for granted or agreed upon by my fellows was suspect. My intellectual excursions thus began contrarian and often led me to enlightening but completely wrongheaded conclusions, a fact that most of my fellow students and colleagues in Chapel Hill would not hesitate to point out quickly and with colorful language. Generally I ignored such comments until I got to where I wanted to go with my train of thought. Bill, however, was my touchstone. He rarely would say how idiotic I was beginning to sound. Instead, he would simply pull together those amazing eyebrows, squint, and frown a little bit. At that point I would know that I was way off on the wrong track and not likely to find anything useful. I’m glad to see from others’ comments how many people Bill came to affect and how appreciated he was. It’s great if you can cast your net widely, but to me it’s the depth you can go in one relationship at a time that truly measures your place in the world. In all the many interactions we had, I believe Bill always was completely present and deeply engaged, even those few times when I knew he was reluctant to say something to me, and even though he was, I think, basically a shy and private person. To me, he was one of those rare individuals who truly worked at being a friend. I feel as if some great and wonderful destination has vanished from me, to be only remembered but never explored again.

From: Cassandra Hartblay Sunday, December 14, 2014
The notes that I read from at Bill's Memorial Service last night (Saturday, December 13, 2014) -- It's easy when you hear the news of a death to think of how a loss affects you, as an individual. Or how it affects the immediate and close kin of the one we've lost. For me, as a graduate student nearing the end of my PhD, who has been mentored by Bill at every turn, the loss had certain particular contours. When I heard the news of Bill's death, there were mundane immediacies that came to mind: it meant that the emails he hadn't yet answered would go unanswered. That the latest dissertation chapter draft he'd been reading -- and the two more to go -- would have to push on without his input. That our habit, this past semester, of meeting one afternoon each week at Weaver Street Market to discuss the latest chapter and my forays onto the academic postdoc and job market had come, abruptly, to an end. Because although Bill was sick, he wasn't slowing down. At our last meeting, a few days before Thanksgiving, I was eating a salad, and Bill was drinking a latte. Bill was, as always, by turns wry, encouraguing, modest, insightful, exactingly honest. "Don't write any extra books," he told me. "Pick the things that HAVE to be said in order to tell us the stories that you need to tell us." As always, his comments turned to that perennial anthropological quandry - the balance between structure and agency. In a chapter that I had thought was about infrastructure - how postsoviet apartment buildings acted as disabling structures - Bill was interested in my description of the ways that the sameness of architecture bourne of centralized planning did not result in neighborhoods that actually were "the same". "I didn't even realize I was doing that," I told him. He raised his eyebrows. Later that week, reflecting on our conversation, I finally got around to looking up an article that he had always insisted that I go back to - we had read it together in one of his seminars, but apparently it hadn't rubbed off, since he kept insisting that I return to it. Like all the best advice, I somehow managed to ignore it until the moment when it became absolutely necessary. The article was Canadian philospher and historian of science Ian Hacking's chapter titled "Making Up People" from his book "Reconstructing Individualism." In the chapter, Hacking, building on Foucault's notion of the "constitution of subjects" wonders what comes first - our categories for people, or people to fit into those categories. Kinds of people, he says, are both made up, as in invented, and made up, as in constituted as new ways for people to be come into being over the course of history. This is a concern that was one Bill returned to again and again. He was never unaware of the role he took on, or the kind of person he set himself up to be. He was careful to always start his seminars, whether with undergraduates or graduate students, perched on a stool at the front of the room, with a slow, rolling description of his boyhood in South Carolina, his undergraduate and graduate career at Carolina, his "stint in Boston" as he dismissively called his time at Harvard. And he refused to refer to anyone with honorifics of any kind. I could never tell from the way he talked about the writers we read in class whether this was someone he had known and worked intimitely with "in Boston" -- or whether it was someone he had never met. After a time, I came to feel that this was a conscious move on Bill's part: he refused to recognize prestige as related to the value of a person's ideas. Maddeningly, for someone like me who has been so influenced by Bill's mentorship, he has also refused to play the academic prestige game. He rarely published his own work. There are certain ideas that in his teaching and reading he circled back to again and again, until I came to think of them as my own. Or, as several other graduate students - Laurel and Laura and Bill Westermeyer - have written on the memorial site, Bill's approach to interpreting pivotal texts in the field cannot be separated from our own understandings of those works. His thinking extends from Bill through each of us. But we can't cite him. At least not in a bibliographic reference per the AAA style guidelines. I haven't know Bill nearly as long as many people in this room, but think Bill made this choice purposefully. He was more concerned with the kind of thinker and teacher he was than with accumulating accolades. At the core of this was Bill's sense of justice. Last spring, when two undergraduates interviewed him for an Oral History project, and asked him if he considered himself a disability activist, he said: "I kind of got burnt out of movements when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time working the civil rights, and economic justice, anti-war movements, and environmental movements you know and stuff, and when it didn’t really have much effect, I said alright, I got to do something different, and I became an academic. But it has affected that aspect of my life truly and of course it flows over into my everyday life" Bill was a teacher, and a mentor. And he was the center of a community. It was only in reading the he weekly meetings that I had come to count on were a habit he held on to with other former students - including weekly skype reading response dates with past PhDs Sarah Ackerman and Kelly Raspberry. Aoife, another of us who has been mentored by Bill - in her case through undergraduate and graduate careers - said something interesting to me on the phone yetserday when I called to see if she would be coming today: "He never thought everyone was a freak; or, he though everyone was just the same amount of freak, and he liked it." ... and now I'm paraphrasing... with Bill you felt that you could just be yourself, and whatever it was about you that was too much for other people - well, Bill didn't mind. He didn't care what category other people might fit you into. He was interested with what you wanted to do with ideas, and what you had gone out to try to find out about the world. It's easy when you first hear about a death to think about the ways that that death will affect you. About all the ways that that person has contributed to making you up, to making you the person that, over the years, you've come to be. And I suppose it's the nature of things that only in his absence do we get to see just how many people Bill touched, and how deeply his friendship, care, tutelage and mentorship has shaped our lives. So I am so, so deeply sad to say goodbye to Bill; a part of me kept thinking that when I walked in tonight, I would find him here, see his face across a room, hear his laughter. But instead, we are tasked with finding something of Bill in the people in this room, the ways that his spirit and influence has made us up, not only as individuals, but as a community.

From: Barry Saunders Saturday, December 13, 2014
Bill was my enduring connection with UNC's Dept of Anthropology for 27 years. I met him in my first year of graduate school, and he welcomed me back to Alumni Hall each time I returned--until his retirement this year. Steady, brilliant, generous Bill. We read and appreciated many of the same authors. I think I first met Bill when he joined in with some sessions of a sprawling seminar on language that I took with Terry Evens and Jane Bachnik in 1987 or '88.... Derrida on Rousseau and Levi-Strauss... I remember Bill's brilliance and erudition from the outset--the surprise of so many of his insights and associations. And that wonderful laugh that so many have commented on. Including the chortle that came out a bit through nose and beard, sometimes for us to catch up with him, sometimes when he had more yet to say. Bill was hard-working, wry, humble, often down to earth, willing to commiserate and be vulnerable. He was a terrific exemplar of scholarly commitment, and love of ideas, without pretense. He also taught my youngest daughter a few years back. I will remember him fondly.

From: Michele Rivkin-Fish Saturday, December 13, 2014
Bill had a great laugh. A hearty, deep and joyful, down-to-earth laugh that reminded us it’s ok to laugh at ourselves. In the hectic, overwhelming pace of our lives, and the often pretentious atmosphere of academia, this laugh reminded me of what really matters. Bill was brilliant: he was immensely well-read and conversant in so many theorists—from George Herbert Mead and Bakhtin to Bourdieu, Margaret Lock, Latour, and many others. The broad character of his intellectual interests enriched our conversations, made the classes he taught theoretically expansive, and gave him the ability to mentor students with a very wide range of interests. He created the career workshop for Medical Anthropology minors, which offered anxious undergraduates opportunities to explore possible directions for their post-graduation lives. I’d say, without exaggeration, that he was the workhorse of our Medical Anthropology Program. This was in part a regrettable outcome of the fact that he was a lecturer, and weighed down with large teaching loads; but it was also the outcome of his personal and professional generosity—he was a very giving colleague and teacher. Bill’s intellectual work had a great impact on me soon after I arrived at Carolina and became interested in US health care. His 2000 article on “Clinicians Experiences with Managed Mental Health Care” (published in MAQ) is one of the most inspiring analyses I’ve read about the philosophical and ethical contradictions of market-based health care reforms. Theoretically, this article helped me figure out valuable directions for new research; it’s been a touchstone for me as I’ve learned about this literature. I know, too, that Bill touched the lives of many grad students. A former UNC PhD student who I met in my efforts to learn about US health care, Victor Braitburg, raved to me about Bill, and encouraged me to read his dissertation—which, he said, “was masterful.” Finally, I want to mention an important legacy Bill made to our Med Anth program. A few years ago, Peter, Jocelyn, Bill and I were discussing the need to develop another, introductory-level course that would focus on biomedicine and biomedical work (to complement the main themes of our Comparative Healing Systems course). Bill came up with the idea, drafted the syllabus, and submitted the proposal to the College—even as he decided to retire and knew he wouldn’t ever teach it. He also thought up the name—Living Medicine—which we all agreed was fabulous—creative, succinct, compelling, multivalent. I see this course as Bill’s gift to our Med Anth Program. And through it, we will continue to be inspired by his particular interests in our field, and we’ll share them, along with our memory of Bill, with our students.

From: Mary Rothfuss Saturday, December 13, 2014
I saw and had short conversations with Bill every other week for many years. I was (and am) the cleaner of his and Dottie's house. The posts others have left have reminded me of so many of his characteristics: his laugh, his sometimes curmudgeonly countenance, his extraordinary & effortless wit. I'll remember as well the devotion and love he had for Simon, his cat, how he would wait patiently at the bottom of the stairs for Dottie to get ready & hopefully not make them late for an appointment, and most recently, his enthusiastic and meticulous preparation of an alternative healing remedy, dandilion-root tea. Once I was talking with Bill in his kitchen. Allen was in high school and Chelcy was in grad school They both lived with Bill & Dottie then. Bill was telling me how he and Dottie had noticed how quickly the house was becoming dirty. "WE'VE GOT KIDS!" he exclaimed. It was obvious that 'having kids' pleased him very very much. Bill was a part of my ordinary, everyday life. I'll miss him a lot. I really will.

From: Jocelyn Chua Saturday, December 13, 2014
Deeply humble with a quick wit and easy laugh is how I remember Bill. I will also remember him as a generous mentor and teacher through my own experiences learning from him as a junior scholar, but also through the words and experiences of others. While Bill was never one to promote himself, his undergraduates sang his praises to me regularly. I'm thankful to have had the chance to share with him on the eve of his retirement the stories students had told me about how his classes had inspired, challenged, and moved them. I will hold dear what he has modeled for me and others as a teacher and scholar, and am grateful to have had the privilege of being his friend and colleague. He will be greatly missed.

From: Chris Nelson Saturday, December 13, 2014
I first met Bill when I was fresh out of graduate school and still trying to feel my way around the department. When I would be scratching my head and trying to learn how things worked, he'd give me that calm, knowing smile. It didn't take me long to find out that Bill had it all figured out. He knew how important our work was, and he knew how much effort was necessary to keep things going. But he also knew how to make it all look easy. So long Bill--it was a pleasure to know you.

From: Mark Sorensen Saturday, December 13, 2014
I am so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I’lll remember him for his laugh and for his wry humor, and especially for a conversation over beer one evening in 2007 or thereabouts about music, guitar playing, and his experience at Woodstock. I had many chats and conversations with him over the years about students, medical anthropology, or just daily life, often near the copy machine but also in the halls. He was a great colleague, and a kind and dedicated teacher. I enjoyed working with him over the years, and I will miss him.

From: Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld Saturday, December 13, 2014
I kind of eased into my friendship with Bill. It was an Alumni Building comradery. We would pause on the stairs. I’d ask, “how is it going?” He’d shrug, smile, and sigh all at the same time and talk of the student papers that were weighing him down—a burden to be measured by the ton if the tone of his voice were to be believed. When I moved to the chair’s office, I would hear him come in and greet Ms Suphronia, “Hello, M’dear” and then go to her basket of candy. This was the excuse I needed to take a break and get up and go out and likewise rummage through all those cinnamon candies in search of one that appealed. We would all chat, Suphronia, Bill and I, hanging out, dodging our work. Bill made an afternoon in the office seem a neighborly thing. It was other moments when he and I worked with graduate students that I saw how Bill authentically connected with people through ideas as well as his kindness. Some of these times were when I was Associate Chair, and in a few instances it was because a graduate career was going awry. I would be all caught up in the lack of response from a student or the delay in some milestone; he would empathize with me, but talk about what the student aimed at. Where I saw problems, he saw promise. Looking at how Bill would stick up for students in a tight spot, one could cast him as a champion of the underdog. But I do not think that gets it quite right. Bill took such energy from the ideas of those he worked with, saw such possibilities in the projects they were pursuing, that there was nothing “underdoggish” about the students with whom he worked. Bill had deep well of imagination and patience for people, a willingness to accompany them so that they had a shot to go after what they most aspired. When Bill was with us, the space of possibility was a bit wider. I hope that I can remember and safeguard that.

From: Valerie Lambert Saturday, December 13, 2014
Bill's presence is missed in many places, including in the space outside his office near the xerox machine. Whenever I, Valerie, was xeroxing, I could count on having a great chat and laugh with Bill as he poked his head out of his office. I loved his quirkiness and his sense of humor. On the days I chatted with Bill, our chats were among the highlights of my day. I miss him a lot. Another space in which Bill's presence is missed is in the neighborhood. The four of us often encountered Bill on one of his speed walks. Our street was one of his favorite but most challenging streets on which to exercise. We knew Bill was doing well when he braved the steep hill of our street. We loved the deliberateness with which he walked. We loved the focus he brought to this activity. When we were out and about and saw him walking, the kids would shout and point, "There's Mommy's colleague!" But instead of saying 'colleague,' a word they didn't know, they said, "collie." He was actually more like a tiger than a collie in the way he tackled the hills of the neighborhood. It is easy still to envision his figure speed-walking through the neighborhood. Love, Valerie, Mike, Jessica, and Hailey Lambert

From: Donald Nonini Saturday, December 13, 2014
I remember first meeting Bill after I arrived in Chapel Hill in 1987 at the Department’s informal Friday afternoon volleyball court in front of Bynum Hall. He was as I recall a very good player, a great sport, and I like having him on my side! He was also in the Department-wide Meaning Seminar sponsored by the-then Symbolic Anthropology Concentration, and I learned to respect his perspicacity and learnedness then. Nobody who ever talked with Bill for any length of time had any doubt that he had an extraordinary intellect, was broadly informed, and brilliant in coming to understand whatever he chose to focus on, such as the relationship between identity and mental illness. After returning from his Harvard postdoc in medical anthropology and joining the faculty of the department, I came to respect him even more for his strong, even at times militant defense of students that others saw as marginal, but in whom he always found great redeeming intellectual and personal potential. This to me revealed his compassion and no little courage. Throughout the time I’ve known him, Bill always showed his sense of humor, and the capacity to laugh at a situation – to laugh at others was for him to include himself among them. As others have observed, Bill’s laughter resounded through the hallways from his office, and in some dark days, was always good to hear. After retirement with his diagnosis of leukemia, I saw him every now and then, and was again impressed with his vivacity, courage, and love for life. I’m pleased to know that in his last year he found pleasure from 1960s rock music, and feel a kindred spirit. I would’ve liked to spend far more time with him than I did. I shall miss him greatly.

From: Jean Dennison Saturday, December 13, 2014
When my husband Michael and I first moved to town Bill and Dottie took us to a lovely sushi dinner. Driving home that night I remember talking with Michael about how welcoming they both were. While Bill's acidic humor and quick wit might not be most peoples' definition of welcoming, his humor was right on key and made us feel at home. Since that dinner I had many thought-provoking exchanges with Bill. I say exchanges because they usually involved us meeting in the hallway or outside his office, talking about some aspect of academic life, with Bill offering one of his witty, but always right on the mark, responses. These exchanges always challenged me to think deeper about about my research, teaching, and mentorship of students. One such exchange occurred when he asked about the class I was teaching, which I described as organized around a series of binaries including white/black, rich/poor, male/female. His response as he turned to head down the hall was simply, "So much for intersectionality." While his mentorship style was far from traditional, I always found his guidance thought-provoking and useful. I will deeply miss those exchanges.

From: Cassandra Hartblay Friday, December 12, 2014
When I first came to UNC-CH to do my PhD in the anthro department six years ago, I didn't know who this Bill Lachicotte guy was going to turn out to be. I wanted to do my dissertation work on disability in Russia at UNC-CH because I was a fan of Michele Rivkin-Fish's ethnographic accounts of postsoviet Russia, and it was only after I applied and was accepted that I learned that I would be working with Bill Lachicotte as well. My gmail archive has several hundred messages with the keyword "lachicotte" by now, chronicling six years of taking courses with Bill and working with him on disability advocacy activities. When I go back to the very first one, it's from my first visit to campus as an accepted student, several months before I moved to North Carolina. Michele Rivkin-Fish writes: "Also, you should also meet w/Bill, who is another faculty in med anth, who works on disability issues." I looked him up on the department website, and I saw a blurry photo of a guy with a bushy beard. I didn't know whether to find the beard intimidating or endearing. When I showed up at his office hours, I found out that his whiskers were of the endearing sort. It was my first visit anywhere south of Washington DC on the East Coast, and I remember thinking that Bill sure talked slowly. But we had a long conversation about disability and social security benefits. Later, I would take Bill's graduate Med Anth seminar, audit his Body & Subject course, and mastermind the launch of Carolina Coalition for Disability Justice with him and others ( In my second year, Bill, Aoife Iredale and I put our heads together and he pulled the right bureaucratic strings, and we ran the first Anthropology of Disability course as an experimental special topics seminar, in which both Aoife and I both enrolled along with a handful of brave undergraduates. The next year the seminar was on the books with as part of the med anth curriculum, and the seats were full of undergraduate medical anthropology, exercise science, and global health students! Bill took another chance on my wily disability justice aspirations, and let me propose an applied final project for the course. You can see what our students came up with that year here: The following year I was in the field, and by the time I came back, Bill was in retirement, but Lauren Fordyce was teaching the course. She managed to get some funding for me to work with her as a Graduate Research Coordinator, and together, with some input from Neel Ahuja's Disability Studies course, we created a more formal applied project, a web archive of oral histories about disability advocacy at UNC-CH ( I convinced Bill himself to be interviewed for that project. Below is the transcript of the interview (conducted by then-undergraduate students in Neel Ahuja's class, Felicia Chang and Rosa Morataya). The students edited the interview into an oral history account, which Bill was supposed to read and approve before I released it publically. He never did, I guess his procrastination habits kicked in, or else he was too bashful to accept the lauditory tone the students took in writing about him. Anyway, the students worked hard, and I think they put together a fair representation, so I'll release it now. In any case, Bill can't get in trouble for anything he said any more, right? They titled the Oral History account "A Shift in Perspective: Bill Lachicotte's Story." Here's the link: --- INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT --- M: Since you organized the course of Anthropology of disability, we can start off with that. Like, what made you want to start the course? L: well it, because I’ve done a lot of research with disabled people over the years, I began that kind of research in 1986 I think it was and I worked primary with people with psychiatric disorders. This of course was before the ADA, which wasn’t passed until 1990 but the activism had already begun of course and actually had begun earlier. I wasn’t really that aware of it at the time until I started working on this research project, which we called the “Triangle Health Survey.” And so, that project went on for five years. We collected a lot of information and learned a lot of stuff about how people with mental illness came to see themselves and came to be confirmed as someone with a disability, psychiatric disability. And, it was really interesting project. After that ended, and it didn’t really in a sense, of course, it didn’t end because we had so much information we were writing stuff up for another six years or so and later in the 90s, I came back to UNC. I had been away at Harvard for a couple of years. I was teaching there and I didn’t really like Harvard that much. I came back to UNC and I hooked up with a woman named Debra Skinner at the child development institute front port graham. And we got involved in another project looking at welfare reform and the effect of welfare reform on families at kids with disabilities. And, you know, it’s another five year project, or fours year project I guess it was. Than Debra and I did another project looking at genetic disabilities, genetic disorders, looking at families, again, with children, disabled children. And so over the years I had massed a lot of experience, at least in doing research on disabilities of various kinds. In the latter two projects, in the welfare reform project and genetic project, we were working with a range of disabilities. In the first project I did was only with people with psychiatric disorders. I had just learned a lot and there was no class here when I had begun teaching Anthropology in 97. This was during the time when we were doing the latter two research projects. I just had a lot of stuff to say and I had learned, gradually learned about the kinds of activism going on and the kind of culture that was being created by disabled people and the sort of movement they had formed. I hadn’t really known too much about that before I begun the research. I had sort of picked it up gradually. So, I went and I became very interested in doing an anthropology of that culture, so to speak, and teaching it. So when I finally got the freedom to teach and create my own courses (you usually just teach what’s there) and uh, I put this course together and I guess we didn’t really begin it until about 4 years ago, or 5 years ago, 4 or 5 years ago. And… teaching the class from the point of disabled people. In other words, teaching it as a disability studies class which foregrounds the experience of people with disabilities. So that’s what I did when I finally was able to get it approved and on the books and actually I started teaching it as one of these special classes even before I was on the books. We recruited a few students, grad students, anthropology people, like Cassie Harplay. You guys probably know. Cassie, I suppose, is the most prominent person interested in that, although we had other people side interest in disabilities study. So I figured anthropologists need to know about this. And of course it was open to other students as well. I was looking for a course I’d enjoy teaching and a course related to all this research I had done and this was the one. Unfortunately I got really ill and now I’m retiring. I can no longer stand the stress of teaching. You guys know that teaching is really stressful don’t you? So, I’m hoping Cassie can take up the class, as long as she stays here. I don’t know if she’s going to stay here. C: Yeah she’s great. L: Yeah, she’s probably better at it than I am. But, ya I hope we can continue to teach the class because we don’t really have, besides Neel’s class and some other occasional class but we really don’t have any core curriculums here yet. Maybe that’s something we can move towards. It hasn’t really been that prominent on campus. And like I said, it took me a long time to sort of move my way into understanding disability from the point of disabled people. C: Yeah this is pretty much my first time learning more about disabilities being in Neel’s class. L: Yeah, yeah, and you know really, Cassandra has been important in getting this off the ground as a kind of self-conscious point of interest for faculty and students. She organized Carolina Coalition disability, disability justice (CCFJ), which is kind of a group for faculty and students. But also, undergrads have also organized, what is the name of the group? C: I know there’s one for mental illness, Rethink or something? L: Oh, ya, uh huh, and there is actually a group, an undergrad group, that advocates for disabled people. Actually was formed by a disabled student. So, it’s beginning to get off the ground and we may continue and maybe get something like disability studies to go along with the groups that are interested in advocacy and activism, which is what I would like to see happen, but unfortunately it’s gonna happen without me. M: So you said that you started your research before the ADA had passed? L: Yeah I guess… the ADA was finally signed in 1990, so I guess I started about 4 years before that but people were already active. In 88, I went to the second, I guess it was only the second meeting of the disability studies. You know, some of the people were really active in both the scholarship and in the politics of disability rights. M: So how would you say the ADA influenced the Chapel Hill area. Would you say that other than physical changes…? L: well yeah physical changes, the mandated changes in the landscape are probably the most obvious ones. Uh you know, ramps and the usual signs, the disabled parking spaces and all that sort of stuff. It’s been slow I think to sort of work its way into people’s consciousness, into their attention even though we know about it and slower still for us to really climb onto the sort of shift in perspective that you need to take in order to understand the experience of disabled people, the sort of ability, to at least try, and better, talk, to disabled people. We’re just not yet there… on campus, I don’t think. I mean, I’m getting more and more encouraged thanks to recent developments but I had even in working with students, it’s been difficult for other student and faculty, I have a disabled grad student and she, in order to do the work, she needs to have certain allowances. People just don’t understand the necessity or justice of doing that. They think it’s unfair to other students that she gets longer to do her assignments. So it’s still kind of a struggle. It’s really the change in that understanding that we’re striving for but is not quite there yet, in my opinion. C: So I guess that would be one of the weaknesses, you would say, for the development of ADA have on UNC campus? L: Ya but I mean you know, uh ya. But it’s our weakness. C: ya not the ADA. L: Not the ADA’s weakness and there are reasons for that obviously. It’s difficult for cash strapped universities, especially now, and others to understand that these kinds of changes don’t just benefit disabled people. If they could see, if they could make that transition, seeing the world in a diff way, they’d understand the changes that the ADA mandates or suggests are changes that benefit lots of people, not just people with disabilities. They should remember as we age, almost all of us become disabled people, in a certain way. So, the kinds of changes will benefit all people and therefore they need to move from seeing it as a special interest that has to be catered to when you can afford to do it, to looking it as a human interest that all of us should in a sense understand, or come to understand. C: so more like a social justice problem? L: ya, ya. More like a problem in opportunity… for all of us. M: So, I’m interested on your research on psychiatric, so could you talk about that more? L: We’d be here a while if we talk about all of it. C: Maybe just some of the main points, what did you learn from the experience? L: I guess, not only looking at the way people came to understand themselves as disabled, if they did, and of course a lot of people don’t self-identify as disabled and choose to look at themselves in another way. But among psychiatric patients interestingly, there’s often a reason for them to adopt in a disabled identity because it’s less stigmatized, as they feel, than the identity of being a mental patient. So that was one interesting thing about our group that we worked with is that we found people insisting they were disabled people and that they were not mental health patients. We were also interested in the institutional process, the way you become confirmed as a disabled person, which gives you, of course, access to the programs, the income support programs that we have for people with disabilities, SSI and SSDI. That’s an interesting thing which of course involves not just the disabled people themselves but it involves all people in both the medical and social service bureaucracies because it’s both a medical and social status. We looked at the way people got into the quote on quote system. The way that happened was through the psychiatric hospitals and a number of things. Although a few people are a head of the curve and applied themselves, of course, in order to do that you have the right to apply for benefits if you feel your disability prevents you from being a self-sustaining member of the society. But you have to deal with the bureaucracies because you got to get everything together in order to get that status confirmed and approved and get access to the kind of programs and the kinds of support that may makes your life not only easier but more enjoyable and more productive. We found a lot of ways that people sort of got from A to B. A where they neither considered themselves disabled nor were they considered by the institutions to be disabled to receive benefits and sort of got that formal confirmation of their status. As I said, for a fair number of people, with psychiatric disabilities that status was in a sense almost more appreciated than the standing they had as kind of a stigmatized social person. As least with disability, they had a more positive spin to that, they felt. But of course many of us don’t see disability as a kind of positive thing but… we need to see it differently. We learned a lot of things about the way people made their way through the world. They made ends meet and they learn to deal with their families and with other people from this kinds of position in the society. Sorry, it’s hard for me to summarize that because there is so much variety, even within that single category of psychiatric, sorry it’s not just a single category of psychiatric disability, there are lots of, of course, disorders which are impairments. M: was there a specific disorder you focused on? L: No, any of the disorders that you qualify for a form of disability were fine with us. We had people in the study with schizophrenia or other kinds of psychotic disorders. We had people with mood disorders, like depression and bipolar disorder and we had people with quote on quote personality disorders. Which…they’re always a little more controversial. Personality disorders can go along with all the other kinds of disorders. It’s considered kind of a separate dimension of psychiatric knowledge. So, we had a whole range of people. Interestingly we learned things like… I scared people with schizophrenia but I was great with people with personality disorders. Of course you learn that when you do this kinds of research not to see people as the illness because they’re just weird and different as all of us are and no more weird, actually, than just dealing with your family. So uh, not a good summary, just a taste. And for the other big studies, it was even broader, the kinds of people we dealt with because we took all kinds of experiences. I mean, all kinds of qualifying conditions. Transcript 20:26 L: Both quote unquote physical impairment and mental impairment. M: So would they come to you or would you get them…? L: Oh no, Well in the first study, and I’m not sure that this would be approved nowadays, um but it was approved at the time, in the first study we went to the psych hospitals and the clinics uh and we uh um we just met people there and asked them if they would be willing to and we had to screen so we did a kind of initial interview because we were looking for people we felt would qualify for you know this, for the disability benefits and the strenuous stringent requirements because really we don’t give that money out lightly, uh you uh so we were looking for people that would qualify for that and yet and had not yet applied for it or disability and certainly didn’t consider themselves a disabled person, um so we had to do a pre-interview, only one of about, I don’t know, one out of 10 to 20 of the people we actually met at the clinics and hospitals would qualify and of course of that number only a certain number agreed to participate um I can’t remember how many and this terrible, I can’t remember how many people ended up doing it, once they were in the study we tried to follow them for uh we did five interviews over a period of two years and we just hung out with them more than that and so we got to know them relatively well, and that’s typical of anthropological studies, we do them for a long time and the point is to understand as much of their world from their point of view as you can of course you never really quite get there, that’s what we did so it took us a while. C: So other than they don’t like to associate themselves as disabled, what other points of views would you say (L: Well some did) L: Well some did, I’m not saying that at this early period that they were that uh involved in the kind of culture or politics of disabled community but they did come to see themselves as disabled, if we had followed them further maybe they would have indeed become more sort of self-conscious participants but they did come to identify, many of them did come to identify as a disabled person but you know even so they were aware that there was a kind of stigma to that, that a lot of people considered them less than able bodied people but from their point of view relative to the identity of a person with schizophrenia being disabled was a piece of cake. I wouldn’t say that, I’m sorry. But obviously the experience and what you come to, what you see yourself as in this life differs from a lot of people, there are still a lot of different paths people take, um, again it’s hard to summarize and I’ve lost track of your question Felicia, I’m sorry C: It’s okay, do you think that people living with or people, if you would do this research now that there would be less stig—or of course there’s still more stigmatized associated with disability but maybe it would be a little different for these lives of people socially and economically L: uh yeah I think so, especially from the 25 years ago from the initial project, I mean, but people still have to navigate a lack of understanding other people and they still have to deal with a world that is not yet you know I mean we may have made some strides but the world is still not orientated towards disabled people so there’s still problems but interestingly as an odd side bar, I think in the context of welfare and social welfare and the families that, the poor families that qualify for that, disability is actually sometimes even more valuable to those families because it opens up a kind of realm of opportunity and realm of support, though some of the families that actually had disabled kids that we studied in the welfare reform project and that was in the late 90s to the early 2000s, were in a sense better off than the families that did not have kids that qualified for disability support, they had more resources but more than resources they had more access to other services and they had a good reason that kept them at home with their kids, so they felt more like mothers than the people that were caught up in welfare reform that were forced to work, if you had a disabled kid, most states let you off the hook for your work participation and that was important to people that identified themselves primarily as moms and you know if you know welfare, and this uh AFDC became TANF, it was given to mothers and kids, not to anyone else, uh so it was important to them because it allowed them to stay at home with kids who really needed them C: I’m not really familiar with welfare, social welfare but um is that a result, the benefit that they get, is that result um indirectly or directly from the ADA? L: No C: Oh L: No it pre-exist ADA and even SSI which was created in 1972, the sort of AFDC which was support for survivors and support for moms, especially mom that had kids in need, was a little early, it’s part of the heritage from the, from Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression and the programs he initiated were strengthened in the great society period of Lyndon Johnson, so that is independent sort of, it was support for people that were poor and of course support for women that were raising kids who in the eyes initially of the program couldn’t go out to work and raise their kids at the same time and needed some kind of support because they didn’t have access to income that other people might have, so it has a separate kind of history, it’s interesting because one of the things we worked on was trying to bring scholars of social welfare and scholars of disability because they hadn’t really connected very well which was strange to us, so maybe if we had any contribution that was, that would be one contribution that study made, so it is kind of interesting that they were sort of compartmentalize but we know this, specialized academia does that and specialized social programs do that too, uh because they were different institutional tracks the people that adjudicate and implement welfare programs are not really connected to people that adjudicate and implement disability of sorts and yet they’re mainly dealing with a population that is very inter-related because as we know you know, poor people are sicker, and that’s passed on to their kids and so their more subjects to the kinds of impairments of disabled M: So what would you say, how would you say that this whole experience has affected your personal life or life here at UNC L: (sigh) Well it certainly directed the kind of research that I’ve done and so I’ve quote unquote specialized in that way and um and it’s given a kind of impetus to my the message I have for students right, both a kind of political but a kind of cultural message as well to look to broaden the scope of one’s understanding and to see disability as an aspect of human ecology, the way people mesh with the world that they live in whether that world is, quote unquote our natural world that we know that we influence but we don’t think that we influence it that much, the built world, the kind of world that we do landscape, we built up around us, the influence is more immediate to us, I want people to understand that sort of shift in perspective and not to be trapped in the able-ist, I guess Neel has taught you that term, thing that always unthinkingly presumes that we all are capable of without a lot of work of navigating the social and natural world which is not the case, we forget that it is not the case because we like to imagine ourselves with all the power, so that is, I mean in one way has influenced me, I wish, I haven’t become as active, in disability rights, I support, so to speak that, and I teach about that, but I haven’t really been an active participant in the movement, that might be one thing I regret a little bit but I kind of got burnt out of movements when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time working the civil rights, and um economic justice, anti-war movements, and environmental movements you know and stuff, and when it didn’t really have much effect I said alright I got to do something different, and I became an academic. But it has affected that aspect of my life truly and of course it flows over into my everyday life M: So what changes would you like to see, since you’re retiring, L: Well changes in the university I’ve already talked about, I’d like to see this place become more aware of disabled people and come to understand disability not as a special interest or a limited group of people but as a human condition and I’d like to see Disability study program develop here M: So do you think that can be done through more courses offered or through like organization and making awareness… L: Both. I mean the courses will give some kind of content or structure, the courses themselves alone will not create a kind of cultural awareness of disability so you need to work on that through the kinds of groups that are organizing, it’s one of the reasons I feel more courage, that keep the message out there and performing for people so that they see daily what disability studies and disabled people are talking about. So yeah and of course the University community could become seeds for other places in our everyday social which is not to say that that is not happening independently of the University because to a certain extent it is and we know that there are obviously groups that are working had to bring people’s awareness of disability to a higher level and including disabled rights groups themselves C: Yeah, so how, I have just one last question relative to this campus, so what do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of life at UNC when it comes to serving the people with disability? L: (chuckles) um, yes, uh. We’ve been weak institutionally here, the disability services place which is now, what’s it called, yeah they changed the name, and I guess in a sense to broaden it, has always been a small part and we haven’t admitted or we haven’t encouraged students to understand themselves as disabled people, it’s been, there are very few instances especially grad students with disability, um, so you know I want the institution to open a little bit, it would be great to enlarge the units that deal with disabled people or that can indeed communicate to others in the institution and students, the viewpoint of disabled people which means we have to hire disabled people for those positions, that’s the most effective way of doing it because they can speak on a personal experience and they can speak from a background of working in the institution, so that’s a goal, and it’s a goal not only for the administration we need to hire disabled faculty, disabled administrators, we need to bring in disabled students, so we should open that up a bit, that’s what it needs. The strengths right now that I see I’ve talked about which are the beginnings of effective organization, not only by students but by faculty and I hope administrators as well and I, one thing we need to do more that’s beginning to happen is community organizations, and people that are in the community, citizens out there as well, I think it’s beginning, I hope we continue into working that, you guys will be important in that venture because growing up with it rather than having to learn it is always more effective.

From: Robert Daniels Friday, December 12, 2014
I first met Bill almost 46 years ago when I came to Chapel Hill for a job interview and he was an undergraduate anthro major. The summer before he had been at the Woodstock festival -- for ethnographic research, of course. I don't think I've met another person who was actually there. I had the pleasure of serving on Bill's committee for this PhD written and oral comprehensives, and I remember his answer to my question vividly. He was short of time (and scrupulous about it) and jotted down his essay as a one page outline in a small hand. I still think it was the clearest and most incisive exam answer I've read. Behind his quiet and rather self-efacing demeanor Bill had an extremely sharp intellect (as anyone who had an extended conversation with him can attest). Bill was also a founding member and stalwart of the department's volleyball games in the 1970s and 1980s on Friday afternoons in fromt of Bynum Hall, and out at Chris and Bev's place on 54 west at departmental picnics. I had the pleasure of playing with him for about 20 years. He might have been the best player; there's no argument that he was great fun to play with -- or against. There was also the time, a few decades ago, when a ping pong table mysteriously appeared in the hall on the fourth floor of Alumni. For several days many of us had a great time with it but the games raised such a glorious echoing din that it soon disappeared -- just not suitable for a research university. Bill, as you might guess, was undefeated against all comers. Most of all I remember Bill's laughter in the hall outside my office. I heard it just about every day I was in ALumni, and I can hear it still.

From: Dottie Holland Friday, December 12, 2014
(To Dottie from Terry Evens) My memories of Bill are of course good ones. I’ve never forgotten, all those years ago, coming across him in a little room atop the Alumni Building, and, given the number of empty caffeinated coke cans on his desk, thinking that he must have hated coffee. As you will recall, I did my best to groom him as a social anthropologist—I was struck by his high intelligence and preferred reading. Naturally, I felt somewhat hurt when he decided to move into a different branch of anthropology. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that he chose wisely, making a truly fine career for himself at Carolina. I believe that his research and teaching were a boon for our department. What is more, Bill was a delightful person and truly good soul (no news to you!). The last time I saw him was a few months ago. We happened to bump into each other at Whole Foods. I asked how he was doing, and he told me that although there was nothing to be done about the disease, he was feeling great. This surprised me, but in point of fact, he was indeed in high spirits and looked to be in great shape. That is how I will remember him. I’m deeply saddened by his passing (and your loss), and will miss seeing him around.

From: Peter Redfield Friday, December 12, 2014
Most of all I’ll remember his laugh. Bill used laughter the way other people use punctuation, filling gaps and marking his sentences with a chortle or guffaw. No matter what the topic, you could always count on him to find something sardonic to say before things got too serious. And it would be funny — thoughtful and funny all at once. At times he hid his deep intelligence behind that laugh; he was a supremely modest man and always avoided the spotlight, always let others go first. At times he spread amusement to help put those around him at ease; he was sensitive, kind and generous to a fault. But his humor was never forced or awkward. He clearly liked to laugh, was good at it, and shared his talent freely with those who had the privilege to know him. I am grateful to have been in that company, to have heard that sound, and to carry that little spark of life with me, even as I miss him.

From: Jeff Boyer Friday, December 12, 2014
I go way back with Bill. I'm almost certain we first met during the 1970s Friday afternoon volleyball games when grad students and faculty really mixed it up. We shared the faculty-grad student study group gatherings of that era. I got grant money for Bill to help me with dissertation computer runs (good old SAS & SPSS!)when I returned from Honduras. Bill and Dottie visited Mary and me at the Purple house many times; he helped me carry heavy locust logs to build a little grape arbor. Bill's father Big Bill became a surrogate grandfather to our daughter Chelcy. Mary and I went up to Harvard with Dottie to visit Bill when he had a postdoc there. We teased each other mercilessly, laughed and cried,discussed all manner of serious topics theoretical, relational and silly throughout the years. We shared William Evans bourbon and Anglican chants. In short I loved Bill, took him too much for granted (that he would always be here, and now am devastated by his departure. I'll miss you so much, dear friend! Jeff Boyer

From: Barbara Thybo Friday, December 12, 2014
I got to know Bill during the fall of 2010, when I was studying as an exchange student at UNC. Dottie, Allen, and Bill welcomed me into their home and made me feel comfortable in a foreign setting. It was such a pleasure being around Bill. I remember him as a very warm, helpful and joyful guy. Always full of energy and eager to discuss and reflect on his surroundings. Bill helped me settle into Chapel Hill and shared many stories, which brought new life to the area. I am very saddened to hear of Bill's passing. I know he touched many people's lives, and I am honored to be one of those.

From: Karla Slocum Friday, December 12, 2014
Bill always struck me as someone who was dedicated to his work and students. I also saw him in his office in Alumni on the weekends when I used to come in a lot before 2009. And during the week he often had students in his office, which we all could see when we were using the copier nearby. But mostly I remember how he laughed heartily and made insightful quips a lot, as if he could find humor all around. He was a nice presence in the dept and will be missed.

From: Sara Juengst Friday, December 12, 2014
I didn't know Bill well, but I always appreciated chatting with him about life, school, and South Carolina at various department functions. He was so friendly and warm that it didn't matter that I was a nervous first-year or that he probably wasn't really sure who I was. Thanks for being you, Bill, and you will be missed.

From: Amy Patel Friday, December 12, 2014
Bill was my most influential mentor. I am very sorry that he is not around anymore, but reading these stories about how he kept up his positive, kind spirits all the way through is very heartening. I had one of my first anthropology classes with Bill and ended up taking many more from him before I finished undergrad. He was instrumental in shaping my academic and career path, especially as someone who was culturally minded but very uncertain of how/where to go with it. It was very reassuring as an undergrad that -was- premed to have an insightful, esteemed professor who was so down-to-earth, approachable, and yes, even disorganized with procrastination tendencies like mine. A fellow Tar Heel who bleeds Carolina Blue, I feel like I was mirroring his steps with how I returned back to Chapel Hill for graduate school, as I remember him saying that CH would always draw him back in when he tried to leave (though I returned from a stint in Alabama and he returned from working alongside Paul Farmer). When I felt like something was off in my public health classes, he was always able to wisely, gently give much-needed reminders of the anthropological perspective in appropriate community engagement. His guidance was invaluable, and I am really grateful I at least got to have one last catch-up with him while enjoying the sunny weather together outside the Daily Grind in May after my MPH graduation. I will miss sharing snide remarks about dook as well as our hurried Whole Foods run-ins. Thank you, Bill. We celebrate your contributions to our lives.

From: Lacey Boshe Thursday, December 11, 2014
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Bill is his wonderful, contagious laugh. Remembering it will forever make me smile. He was one of the few people I knew when I moved to Chapel Hill a little over a year ago, and I will always be grateful for how welcome he made me feel when my family and his got together. We had so much fun eating, listening to music, and complaining about the Cardinals. Thanks for the great memories.

From: Bill Westermeyer Thursday, December 11, 2014
So sudden. A friend and teacher is there one moment, then gone the next. The last time I saw Bill was a few months back at Penguins inside Whole Foods, where Dottie and I were discussing an article I was writing. Bill entered, joined us and gave me half his ham sandwich. He then made a curmudgeonly remark that given the amount of time Dottie was spending on my article, she should probably get first authorship…very funny, Bill. I did take one seminar from Bill called Cultural Production, which covered a lot of the social theory that Bill loved. Several months back I realized that every time I read or read of Raymond Williams, I would think of Bill Lachicotte guiding us through structures of feeling. My fondest memory of Bill however comes from these last couple of years where I had the pleasure of joining him and Dottie for dinner on numerous occasions at weathervane squids. I remember one evening in particular when I was absolutely captivated by his stories of political activism at Vanderbilt 1960s. I would have assumed that Bill was somewhere behind the barricades in the 1960s, but never heard him talk of those times. It was inspiring. A kind and patient man with a laugh I will never forget. You will be missed.

From: David Kirkman Thursday, December 11, 2014
Cheers, Bill! We thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for being such a wonderful and loyal friend. We will miss being in the company of a true Renaissance Man, a great teacher and writer, a person with with whom we share musical and culinary tastes, a volleyball player with a killer serve, a tennis player with such a foul mouth when the ball fails to behave, a steadfast friend, a devoted Carolina sports fan, and a great traveling companion. We miss you terribly. Debra Skinner and David Kirkman

From: Laura Wagner Thursday, December 11, 2014
This is an updated version of something I read at Bill’s retirement celebration in June 2014. If Bill could hear me enumerating his virtues and talents -- what a wonderful mentor he was, how skilled with words and nimble with theory, and how he was, ultimately, a deeply kind person – he would cringe. Because amid Bill's many virtues and talents, being graciously receptive of gushing praise was not one of them. He would be liable to writhe in modesty, to deflect compliments with understated self-deprecation. And so -- well, whenever an academic faces possible critiques, she should refer to and cite previous published work. And so, being a good researcher, to the archives I go... for an evidence-based approach. Here is a little bit of Bill, in his own words: intellectual wit delivered with southern folksy wisdom and a good dose of off-the-wall weirdness. Early in my grad school career, Bill gave me some thoughtful advice -- counsel not to get sucked down the ethical rabbit-hole of postmodern relativism. "The suffering literature seems tricky to me, ethically and ethnographically. So, let's see," he wrote. "Making hay while people suffer? I.e., the ethics and politics of testimony as an academic pursuit. Sometimes, as much as the issue needs airing, I see the signifying vulture..." As I attempted to choose courses my first semester, I was out of my depth. It was a time of confusion and anguish. But Bill was there, with sage and practical advice. "A word of caution: everyone walks out of Barry's classes going ‘huh?’ (including Barry). So give it some time, because it should be fun and informative.” As an instructor, Bill offered valuable, nonjudgmental feedback, thorough and insightful. He willingly -- even eagerly -- helps us through the process of writing, analyzing, and thinking. "I will still be happy to read whatever mucoid fantasy you dredge up from the slime.” Bill brought even the most arcane and inaccessible theory to light, as in the time he revealed, "The entities themselves (die scallops-an-sich, as Kant would say) are not coterminous with their persons." (Doesn’t that clear things up?) And yet even while revering and elucidating the work of the masters, Bill retained the ability to upend the hierarchy and see things as they are. "I must say that M. Rabinow 's preciousness does seem to ask for the snide response. Who says brattiness has no virtue?" Bill was the truest of intellectuals. He loved to think, to grapple, to play. He used theory and he made fun of theory. He made fun of himself, too, maybe more than he deserved. Of his own illness, he said, “All you can do is move on (and, like a good Foucaultian subject, become an observant, normalizing, governor of your sorry lifestyle).” I guess that since Bill isn’t here to cringe demurely, I can be a little more heartfelt and a little less snarky than I was in June. So here goes. Bill, you were, as much as any instructor I’ve ever had, someone who put teaching first. Someone who put students first. Someone who put others first. In a world were such things are rarely rewarded, you were someone who stood up for the underdog – for the students dealing with personal problems, with physical illnesses, with mental illnesses; the students who really weren’t ready for the university or maybe just couldn’t believe that they were ready for the university; the students who were just plain unhappy. In other words, you brought together your scholarly interests in the ill, the marginalized, and the underrepresented with your real-life, everyday politics and actions. No cognitive dissonance, no hypocrisy, no easy way out. That’s really rare. Did you know how rare that was? You didn’t really seem to give a damn about ambition or about traditional markers of success – and yet you succeeded, anyway. Through your kindness, through your mentorship, through your patience, you had a deep, enduring impact on the students, colleagues, collaborators, and friends who were lucky enough to drift into the warmth and wonder of your orbit. And there were so many of us. I hope you knew that. I’ll end with something you wrote me back in 2008, when I was feeling some self-doubt. I wish I could say these exact words back to you now: “One's work is rarely acknowledged except by the often indirect response it generates. Perhaps you haven't heard how your work has been valued (though I've tried to say it), but pay attention to the ripples it causes.” For the last couple weeks, we’ve all been talking about how much we miss your laugh. Goodbye, Bill, and thank you.

From: Helen Clark Thursday, December 11, 2014
I met Bill at Dottie's house just about a year ago. I had been playing The Best of Cream on the road to Chapel Hill in Jeff Boyer's car and brought the CD inside to play for Dottie and Bill. Bill, to my delight, sang along to every song in perfect pitch and harmony. We immediately connected over our love for music and animals. He held the cat of the house in his arms like a baby and so I recognized that this man who seemed sometimes a little gruff on the outside was very tender on the inside. I loved to tease him and he liked teasing me too, I think. I was looking forward to many more years of teasing one another and am very saddened by the loss of his unique presence.

From: Laurel Bradley Thursday, December 11, 2014
I was lucky to have many humorous and instructive interactions with Bill while at UNC. My favorite moments with him, however, were in his seminar on Cultural Production. It was a dense, theory-based course scheduled late in the afternoon, a challenging combination of variables. Yet, he filled every session with sharp analysis and insightful thought, sarcasm and jokes, and mostly his incredible laughter. Since then, I have associated Bill with that seminar and having the opportunity to see some of his amazing talents in action as he taught, discussed, and laughed with us. He was such an important influence in my education and training, as an intellectual, as a researcher, and as a complex person. I'll miss him terribly but I'm so glad I had opportunities to learn from him, discuss with him, and to dissolve into laughter with him.

From: Sue ESTROFF Thursday, December 11, 2014
Bill filled many roles in my life. The opposing side in so many bridge games (he always knew where all the cards were), the core of our research and writing team for almost 8 years, daily chum with office next to mine with the air full of puns, satire, and battles with Nota Bene, brilliant collaborator whose mind and grasp of the somatosphere was humbling. When rubbing his feet and squeezing his hand in the ICU last week (sadly with no response) I kept thinking that if he did respond, he'd say something clever, cutting, and somehow sweet. So Bill....

From: Daniel Hervik Thursday, December 11, 2014
My first memory with Bill was Thanksgiving in the Appalachian mountains with my entire family (Danish and American) as a 7-year-old - more than 20 years ago! I remember him being so exceptionally warm, welcoming, funny and for being a fellow tar heel whom I could share a deep hatred of dook with. Love, Daniel

From: Claudia Strauss Thursday, December 11, 2014
Bill was one of my favorite anthropological interlocutors. He knew so much, but never showed it off, and he cared about social justice. I always enjoyed talking to him. About a year ago, after Bill had been diagnosed with leukemia, I was visiting in North Carolina. Bill and I had a lunch, and we talked about his illness. He was in remarkably good spirits. He said he felt he’d had a good life and was not concerned about dying. Knowing that makes this a little easier for me to bear, but I will still miss him terribly.

From: Sara Ackerman Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Bill was my dear friend and mentor. He guided me through graduate school and dissertation writing, always in his own gentle, encouraging and humorous way. Sometimes I begged him to be more disciplinarian when I was having trouble meeting my self-imposed deadlines, but that wasn’t Bill. He always treated me like a colleague and a friend, and as if he had as much to learn from me as I did from him. Since around the time of my graduation in 2009, Bill and Kelly Raspberry and I regularly held what we called ‘skype seminars’. Every couple of weeks, at noon Oakland time and 3pm Chapel Hill and Miami time, we would discuss a text that interested us all – usually, but not always, written by an anthropologist, and interweave discussion of the text with stories about our lives. We laughed and talked and listened and puzzled, and Bill would often voice such brilliant gems of theoretical analysis that more than once I wished I were recording our meetings. And yet, in his humble way, Bill always seemed diffident when Kelly or I told him how much we continued to learn from him, and he would inevitably make a joke and we would all laugh. Our last conversation was on Nov. 20 and it ended as usual with plans for our next reading and a happy sense of affinity. I miss Bill terribly and am so fortunate to have been his friend. I hope that all of us who loved him will keep his memory alive.

From: Arturo Escobar Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Over the years (especially until about 2010, but even from time to time after that), I shared with Bill something somewhat unique, even if simple: we were often the only two souls working in our offices in Alumni on weekends (especially on Saturday afternoons, sometimes also on Sunday afternoons). Since we both were on the third floor of Alumni, and I often used the copying machine by his office door, we would inevitably see each other. He "rescued me" several times over those weekend days when I forgot my key inside the office and had no way to even get back into the building than to try to get his attention to open the door for me. A camaraderie of sorts developed between us based on this simple but indubitable coincidence in time and place. Most times we didn't even need words to acknowledge each other's presence in the otherwise lonely third floor. This fond memory will always be part of my life in Alumni, at UNC, in Chapel Hill.

From: Lindsey Wallace Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I'll never forget meeting Bill I first arrived in Chapel Hill. Coming from the opposite side of the country it took me a few weeks to understand him in his medical anthropology seminar. I had never met anyone who felt as passionately about their home as Bill did about North Carolina and UNC. Bill introduced me to the whole feild of science and technology studies and I could not understand why we were reading about scallops in medical anthroplogy! Bill had a love for teaching and a wide-ranging intellect, and he was kind and sympathetic, always stopping to chat with me years after I took his class. He'll be sorely missed.

From: Dottie Holland Wednesday, December 10, 2014
To dottie from Justine Williams in Cuba, I hadn't seen Rudi's message until just now. I'm so sad to hear about Bill. I remember he was one of the first faculty I chatted with at the reception for prospective students back at my first visit to the anthro department after a day of more serious office visits and talks with other students. I was feeling very skeptical about the whole grad school business, and I remember appreciating his jokes and lightheartedness. I wish I could be there for the reception. Please don't worry about signing that form I previously sent. We can worry about paperwork later. Hugs, Justine

From: Paul Buansi Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I first met Bill in 1999 during when I traveled to Chapel Hill to see my son, Allen Buansi. During my short visit, I always found Bill to be extremely respectful and a very decent human being. I was saddened to hear about his passing and do hope and pray that he has a peaceful eternal rest.

From: Allen Buansi Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Man, I've got so many memories of Mr. Bill that I will keep alive and pass on to my children (whenever I have them). One of my fondest memories was on the night I went to my senior prom. I was at the house getting dressed, and I was very nervous before my date arrived. Mr. Bill and I went out into the driveway while it was still light outside and we took a photo together. At that point, standing next to him, my nerves calmed down a lot more, and I went out and had a great time. He had such a nice easiness about him, and he was often a source of calm whenever I'd get to the house after a frenetic day or during a stressful time. Not to mention, I always enjoyed watching football games with him. For a man that's not so much a football fan, he sure knew his stuff. He was so talented. If he wanted to, he could probably analyze a game with the best of broadcasters!

From: Lisbet Hervik Tuesday, December 9, 2014
We have known Bill for about 20 years and are deeply saddened by his passing. We have many wonderful memories of Bill and want to share a few from our trip to Oslo in the summer of '95. Bill and Dottie were in Oslo and we decided to drive up there from Copenhagen. We have such warm memories of our time there.... Of the four of us having so much fun. Of us sitting on the top of a hill above Oslo eating bread and cheese. Bill looking great and Dottie wearing Peters big sweater. (see photo) Of us going to the vegetarian restaurant where you pay per plate and watching the hard-core guests stacking as much food on a small plate as possible, even desserts. Bill actually got very good at it! And of us sitting outside at a café on Karl Johan-street. It's midnight, but still bright daylight due to the northern midnight sun and Peter and Bill are having a very academic discussion about the phenomena of the days neither beginning nor ending. We will truely miss you, Bill! Peter and Lisbet Hervik, Denmark.

From: Dottie Holland Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Dear Dottie, As I read this morning's N&O I was struck with great sorrow when I observed Bill Lachicotte's obituary. I was dumbfounded and deeply saddened to learn of his passing. Bill was one of the brightest, most caring, humorous people I knew during my years in Chapel Hill. You, he and Mike Livesay were always there to lift others up and celebrate their achievements, no matter how large or small. I fondly remember that Bill (and a few others, including yourself) waited for me to finish my defense, then took me to the Rathskeller for" copious quantities of amber liquid." I think Bill coined that phrase before Dan Akroyd! Please accept my deepest condolences and extend my sympathy to his family. With deepest sympathy, Billy -- Billy L. Oliver, Ph.D. Adjunct Associate Professor Forensic Sciences Institute (c) 919.624.6521 Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science College of Textiles 2401 Research Drive Campus Box 8301 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC 27695

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