Watch for frequent updates!

Yale 62

Nicholas J. Gubser, II

Born: September 14, 1938
Died: February 9, 2018

Nick Gubser was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, son of Eugene Herbert and Mary Frances Douglass Gubser. He graduated from Rogers High School in Tulsa and came to Yale in September 1957 with the class of 1961.

Nick took a year off to conduct anthropological research in northern Alaska and returned to join our class in September 1961. He was a resident of Timothy Dwight. Nick had a remarkable academic career at Yale. He was a Scholar of the House in Anthropology, his major, on Dean’s List, a Ranking Scholar, and Phi Beta Kappa. He was a member of Calliopean (serving as secretary-treasurer), Berzelius, the Franklin Society, the Political Union and a member and president of the Anthropology Club. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and continued his anthropology studies at Oxford.

Nick’s undergraduate anthropology studies led him to field work in northern Alaska where he studied the Nunamiut Eskimos, inland Eskimos residing in the mountainous interior of Alaska. In 1965 the Yale University Press published his book resulting from his research and field work: The Nunamiut Eskimos, Hunters of Caribou. The reviewer of the book, Prof. Card of the University of Alberta, wrote that the book “related concepts and mental processes, social structure and the natural environment.” It was, he observed, “an important empirical contribution … in relating social organization, psychological processes and ecology and ecosystems.” The reviewer commended its readability and praised it for its “directness, lucidity and intimacy.”

On his return to the States Nick volunteered for the Army and served a tour in Vietnam. He subsequently relocated to Aspen, Colorado in the early 1970’s where he continued to reside until his death in February 2018.

Nick was a noted mountaineer. He climbed Cho Oyo in Tibet (6th tallest mountain in the world), Ama Dablam in Nepal and a number of other Himalayan peaks, as well as Mt. McKinley in Alaska and Aconcagua in the Andes which is the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. His climbing in the United States included the north face of the Grand Teton, the Ames Ice Hose, and many routes in the Elk Range.

Nicholas Gubser was survived his sons Charles and Steven, by his former wife Margo and by his 5 grandchildren, Cecily, Aldo, Heidi, Clara, and Lillian. His brother P.A. Gubser was a Yale graduate, class of 1963. Subsequent to Nick’s death, his son Steven, a theoretical physicist and professor of physics at Princeton, who inherited his father’s love for mountaineering, was killed in an accident while mountain climbing near Chamonix, France in August 2019, when his rope broke.

We did not learn of Nick’s death until Classmate Dick Shroyer alerted us in May 2020, 2 years after his passing.


– Robert G. Oliver