SUSAN W. FAIR
Princeton--- Susan W. Fair, 54, an
American folklorist who studied and documented the culture of the Alaska
Natives and the Navajo and Hopi of the American Southwest, died Friday, June 1,
She held a joint appointment with the
English department and the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona-Tucson, where she taught folklore and
conducted research. As key folklorist at
the Southwest Center, she was engaged in public outreach, independent research and writing,
and teaching. From 1991-99, she was
adjunct professor of anthropology and art history at the University of Alaska,
Anchorage; she also taught at Eagle River, Homer, Juneau and Elmendorf campuses
of the university.
She was born in Washington, D.C. To Robert James and Emily (Cottrell) Fair, who moved
to Gibson County when she was a child. She was educated in Southern Indiana Public
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in
anthropology in 1985 from University of Alaska. She earned a master’s degree
and doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.
While living in Alaska, she was publication and media director at Sealaska Heritage Foundation in Juneau. She also
owned and administered a consulting business emphasizing anthropology, folklore, Native
art, and permanent public exhibitions.
During the same time, she worked as principal researcher and author for
the National Park Service with the Alaska State Council on the Arts as a
curator, researcher, and writer; and with museums, Native corporations, and
village –based entities. Her essays may
be found in the collections of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Institute of Alaska Native Art, Vernacular Architecture Forum, and the Smithsonian
She was a member of the Heard Museum, Sonora Desert
State Museum, Alaska Anthropological Association, Anchorage Museum
Association, American Folklore Society, Vernacular Architecture Forum, and Cacapon Institute. While in Alaska, she held a mayoral appointment to the Anchorage
She is survived by her son Michael Louis Kaputak Fair, an uncle, Walter Cottrell of Maryland,
cousins Betty Cook and Jack Cunningham and his wife Barbara of Evansville;
cousins Arleigh Cottrell, Debbie Sutto and Janice Duley,
all of Maryland; Sherry Hoehner of Virginia; and a friend who cared for her, Rick
Walden of Princeton.
Following cremation, her ashes will be strewn in the Eagle River Valley in Alaska at a memorial gathering in July.