North American Scholar

TRAPP, Richard La Prentice

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1923-09-03
  • Born City: Rockford
  • Born State/Country: IL
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1996-02-14
  • Death City: San Francisco
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Carol A. Davis, 2 January 1950.
  • Education:

    A.B. U. California, Berkeley, 1949; M.A., 1952; Kofoid fellow, Benjamin P. Wall Scholar & Ph.D., 1959.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. classics, U. of Arizona, 1949-51; assoc. U. California, Berkeley, 1955-56; instr. Stanford U. 1956-60; asst. prof. U. Southern California, 1960-65; assoc. prof. classics & world lit., San Francisco State U., 1965-92; Chair., Dept. Classics 1965-92; assoc. dean Sch. Humanities, 1966-80; consultant, ACL, 1966-68; lctr. Fromm Inst., U San Francisco Elderhostel; resident instr. Athens Centre, Athens, Greece.

  • Dissertation:

    “The Development of the Aias Legend from Homer to Sophocles” (U. California, Berkeley, 1959).

  • Publications:

    “Ajax in the Iliad,” CJ 56 (1961) 271-5; “Some Aspects of Imagery in Catullus, Horace, and Ovid," CB 41 (1965) 71-76.

  • Notes:

    It is impossible to enumerate all the good that Dick Trapp accomplished in a life which, in spite of its richness and fullness, was for those who knew and loved him, all too short. A native of Illinois, Dick moved to California with his family in 1936. Educated at St, Joseph’s Seminary in Mountain View, CA, and at the Quigley Augustinian Monastery in New York. Serving with the 8th Army Air Corps, Dick won a bronze star for his participation in the Battle of the Bulge. He completed his education after the war. To those of us in California, Dick Trapp was classics; he, more than any person, worked to preserve the legacy of classical studies for future generations. He did so from the beginning of his career by developing statewide educational frameworks for classics and humanities: directing NEH seminars for Latin teachers; co-chairing the local committees for the APA/AIA annual meetings in San Francisco; founding and chairing a Classics Department, Classics M.A., and Museum Studies professional program at San Francisco State; developing a Latin teaching credential program for California high school teachers; developing interdisciplinary courses between classics and science and teaching them for 17 years (most recently as an unpaid volunteer after his 1992 “retirement”); visiting local schools; teaching for Elderhostel; serving as visiting professor in numerous venues, including many semesters at the Athens Centre and the Aegean Institute; directing the work of the California Classical Association--and those are merely the highlights of a rich and full career. A devoted husband and father, dedicated and patient teacher, honorable and respected administrator, Dick Trapp was––and is—truly beloved by all whose lives he touched, and they are beyond counting. As many of us know, a life teaching in the state university system is never a soft one: Dick Trapp taught 12-14 “normal” units each semester, plus countless independent studies in Latin and Greek, for any student who asked, for nearly 30 years. Yet, Dick's was a life which even Solon would count as fortunate--a man dedicated to scholarship and service, to teaching, to family and God, to life. His gentle wit, warm smile, innate wisdom and decency will be sorely missed.

  • Sources:

    DAS 6th ed., 3:471; APA Newsletter (June 1996) 13; San Francisco Chronicle (15 February 1996).

    Image: The Times (San Mateo CA) 11 September 1967

  • Author: Barbara McLauchlin & Pamela Vaughn