RIP William R. Schmalstieg

January 27, 2021

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of William R. Schmalstieg, Sparks Professor Emeritus of Slavic and Baltic Linguistics, Penn State University, on January 22, 2021, at the age of 91.

Prof. Schmalstieg was a prominent linguist, especially in the study of the Lithuanian and Prussian languages, a long-time member of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (he served as the President of AABS from 1982-1984) and a Lithuanian friend. William R. Schmalstieg actively cooperated in the Lithuanian diaspora press, many of his linguistic articles appeared in the journal “Lituanus.” He is the author of a number of books on the Lithuanian language. At least a couple of generations of Lithuanians in the United States grew up learning from the textbook “Introduction to Modern Lithuanian,” written by him together with Leonardas Dambriūnas and Antanas Klimas (Brooklyn, N. Y., 1966).

After the breakup of the Soviet Union when Lithuania regained its independence in 1991, the Lithuanian government officially honoured Prof. Schmalstieg for his accomplishments in the study of the Lithuanian language. In 1994, Vilnius University presented Prof. Schmalstieg with the honorary doctor regalia.

Recently, Prof. Giedrius Subačius shared a video of his, Prof. Pietro Dini’s and Prof. Phillip Baldi’s visit at William R. Schmalstieg’s home in Pennsylvania in 2004: