IN MEMORIAM – LONGTIME SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR HUMAN RELATIONS STUDIES MEMBER RICHARD HILBERT
Richard Hilbert, professor emeritus of sociology and longtime member of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies Executive Committee at the University of Oklahoma, died Sunday, Aug. 22, at his home in Norman. He was 97.
Hilbert was born Dec. 19, 1923, in Reading, Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Heber Hilbert and Arthur Hilbert. He graduated from Reading High School in 1941. He spent time as a jazz musician before being drafted into the armed forces in 1943. He spent three years as a non-commissioned officer in the Army Medical Corps and began playing drums regularly.
In 1946, after leaving the Army, he moved to New York City, where he continued playing drums in jazz bands, including the Red Rodney combo. In 1949, he began taking college courses that eventually led to a doctorate degree and life as a sociology professor.
Hilbert joined the OU faculty in 1964 as chairman of the sociology department. His subject areas were deviance and social control, the criminal justice system, the sociology of religion and general theory. Before coming to OU, he taught at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
He was involved with the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies, a program of OU Outreach, serving as a member of the executive committee from 1964 until his death. For 30 of those years, he was chairman.