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Campus Notices

John Alexander Alsoszatai-Petheo, Prof. Emeritus, Anthropology and Museum Studies, passes away Feb. 19th.

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It is with a deep sense of loss that we notify the campus community of Dr. John Alexander Alsoszatai-Petheo's passing on February 19th at the age of 69. John was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to Hungarian immigrants in 1949, and immigrated to Santa Ana, California with his family in 1964.

John enlisted with the California Air National Guard in 1971, leaving with an honorable discharge in 1978.

John graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1972 with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology, and an M.A. in Anthropology at Eastern New Mexico University in 1975.

John moved to Ellensburg in 1983 to begin a career as a professor in Anthropology at Central Washington University. Nine years later, John earned his PhD at the University of Alberta. John's teaching career spanned 32 years until his retirement in 2015. In addition to teaching, John chaired the university's Faculty Senate, and took an active role in advocating for LGBT rights on campus and elsewhere.
To say that John loved teaching is an understatement. He loved not only sharing his own knowledge, but he also enjoyed learning from the men and women that came into his classroom every day. He shared a close bond with many of his students, and was part of an extended family of professors and other individuals within his department.

After his retirement, John was able to rekindle his interests in photography, travel, and poetry. He wrote a book under the pseudonym, J. Sandy, entitled "About a Dandelion: Finding a spiritual path".

Chief among his passions, however, were his family. After retirement, John found more time to spend with his children and grandchildren. Whenever he was asked about his friends, he would always respond that his family were his greatest friends. He is survived by his mother, his two sisters, his three sons, and three grandchildren.

To all who knew him, John was funny, compassionate, and generous to a fault. He was always able to set his own needs aside so that he could provide for others. His selflessness and humorous approach to the world endured, even after his body began to fail him. He will be sincerely missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that a contribution be made to the American Diabetes Association or PFLAG.
John's family is planning to host a celebration of John's life in the near future. If you'd like to be notified of the event details, or if you'd just like to share your stories of your interactions with John, you can contact the family at






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