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Mervin's Story

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Mervin R. Barnes, 82, died on Friday, February 9, 2018 in Norman following a long illness. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Eleanor, and his daughter Allison.
Mervin was born in Tulare, California on March 1, 1935 and grew up there. After high school, he fulfilled his military duties in the Air Navy Cadet Program. He then earned a bachelors degree in math from UC Riverside and an MA in German from Fresno State University. He completed his PHD in linguistics and German at UCLA. He joined the OU Modern Languages and Linguistics Department in 1972. Mervin was a committed teacher, researcher and lifelong learner. Although his specialty was German language and linguistics, his academic interests were diverse. They included the study of child language acquisition, Cherokee language structure, computer assisted language learning and the comparative study of world languages. He helped establish the first computer language lab at OU. He was actively involved on the boards of several academic language learning organizations. He retired from the University in 1996.
He volunteered at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History since its inception participating in the very first class of docents. He was proud to be the only docent to regularly serve in all three museum galleries. Camera in hand, he enthusiastically documented life at the museum for its newsletter which he edited. Mervin was named volunteer of the year in 2004 and eventually donated over 5,000 service hours to the museum.
The family wishes to express special thanks to Arbor House Reminisce for their long-term dedicated and compassionate care of Mervin. In accordance with his wishes, there will be no services. Memorial donations may be made to the Bizzell Memorial Library Fund through the University of Oklahoma Foundation, Inc., 100 Timberdell Road, Norman, OK 73019. Arrangements are under the care of Havenbrook Funeral Home. www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com
Published on February 12, 2018
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