Yale '62 - Obituaries - Richard S. Doeblin

Richard S. Doeblin

Born: June 21, 1940
Died: November 27, 1994

Richard (Ricky) Doeblin was born in Milwaukee and prepared for Yale at Bennett High School in Buffalo and at the Sorbonne in the summer of 1958. He was a Classics Honors major, earning 6 prizes in Latin and Greek. He was a ranking scholar, on the Dean's List, and in Phi Beta Kappa. He was a member of Silliman, A.I.E.S.E.C., the Classics and French Clubs, the Freshman Chorus, and Battell Choir. Ricky was also acknowledged in an article in the Yale Alumni Magazine in February 1962 as "the best undergraduate Latinist" of our era.

He was our Class Day Ivy Orator whose ode in Latin was written in the medieval versus quadratus. Regrettably, he did not provide non-classics majors a translation, but he did leave his own commentary in our vernacular:

"For the Ivy Ode, like Mr. Freeman's class poem, is constructed on general themes. It scarcely pretends to elegance or even novelty, since it pictures a universe where some matters are definitely out of human hands, where time passes with sometimes disconcerting rapidity, where it is very difficult to discover the truth we confidently presume to exist, and where drink, music and sex are not invariably satisfying. The ivy, as I conceive it, symbolizes the human loyalties which make this world so much more bearable. Should human loyalties fail, you may wish to turn to Roman antiquity, an age which lacked chocolate and adequate beer, but nonetheless created literature both useful and beautiful."

Following graduation, Ricky was selected for the prestigious Marshall Fellowship and studied classics at Oxford for three years. He then retuned to Yale and taught in the Classics Department for two years. Thereafter, he taught classics at Canisius College in Buffalo and at the University of Wisconsin.

He moved abroad in the early 1970's and became an expatriate for the balance of his life. As he pursued his restless muse around the globe, he taught and studied in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. He was fluent in many languages, including Thai, in addition to Latin and Greek. His brother Thomas D. Doeblin, Yale Class of 1955, reports that Ricky did not publish any of his writings, and so the Ivy Ode printed in the Banner remains his only known publication.

Ricky died in Bangkok, Thailand. He never married and left no children. His survivors were his father Wilbur W. Doeblin, of Sun City Center, Florida, who died in 1997, his mother, Martha Ann Volk Doeblin, also of Sun City Center, who still survives and his brother Thomas, who resides in Gansevoort, New York. Thomas supplied information about his brother for this obituary.