Remembering Blair Rudes
Blair A. Rudes, 56, died suddenly on March 16, 2008 in Charlotte, NC.
Dr. Rudes was born in Gloversville, NY on May 18, 1951 and spent his youth in Piseco, NY. After completing his early education at Piseco Elementary School and Wells Central High School, he attended the State University of New York at Buffalo where he completed his undergraduate and graduate work. He was awarded his Doctorate Degree in Linguistics in 1976.
At the time of his death, Dr. Rudes was an Associate Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He had been on the faculty of the University since 1999.
Dr. Rudes was an internationally known linguist, speaking many languages, but with a particular expertise in Native American languages. He published and edited many books and scholarly articles in his area of expertise. In 1999 his Tuscarora-English Dictionary was published by the University of Toronto Press and at the time of his death he was completing a three volume work titled “The Catawba Language” for the University of South Carolina press. Most recent accomplishments of note were work he had done as a dialect consultant and coach for two Hollywood movie productions. In 2004, he was hired by Dreamworks to work with the cast of the move “The New World”. This assignment required him to reconstruct the long extinct Virginia Algonquian language and then coach the cast in its syntax and pronunciation.
His work contributed significantly to the historical accuracy of the film and gained notoriety when it was featured in the “New York Times” Science Section and was the subject of a personal interview with National Public Radio. Following his work on “The New World” he was again recruited by Dreamworks to assist with the 2008 film “The Ruins” where he served as the Mayan Dialogue Coach.
In recent years, he was also the recipient of several important honors. In 2006, he was recognized by the Tuscarora Indian Nation for his contributions to preserving their language. In 2007, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the work he had done for the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs. Most recently, on April 5, 2008, he was awarded the University at Buffalo’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
(Excerpt from obituary printed in The Recorder, May 22, 2008.)