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Remembering Barre Toelken On Wednesday's Access Utah

Utah State University

Today on Access Utah, we remember acclaimed folklorist Barre Toelken. Our guests include Randy Williams, folklore curator and oral history specialist with the Special Collections and Archives at the Merrill-Cazier Library, USU Assistant Professor of English Lynne McNeill, and Barre's daughter Kazuko Toelken.

Barre Toelken was born in 1935 to a musical family in Enfield, Mass., a town now replaced by a reservoir that serves nearby Boston. He died Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Logan at age 83. He spent nearly 20 years at Utah State University as a professor of English and a folklorist, eventually retiring in 2003. Toelken spent more than 40 years collecting Navajo stories — many of them sacred — and building tight relationships with Native American families. 



Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.