ALBANY – Robert Marquess Carmack, 89, of Albany, NY, passed away on October 20, 2023 while in hospice care at St. Peter’s Hospital. Robert was born on February 24, 1934 to Cecil Eugene Carmack and Gladys Bushman Carmack in Winslow, AZ, the fourth of five children. The family moved to California, eventually settling in Santa Barbara, where Robert graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1952.
After working locally and taking community college classes for two years, Robert was called in 1954 to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Central America Mission. During the two and a half years of his missionary service, Robert developed a love for the indigenous people of Guatemala that greatly influenced his subsequent career and path in life.
Between 1957 and 1959, Robert served several months in the National Guard, met and dated Adele Kanaga of Los Angeles, and pursued medical studies at the University of California, Los
Angeles. He and Adele were married in 1959 in Los Angeles and went on to have five children: Curtis, Matthew, Philip, Laura, and Thomas. Years later, Robert and Adele were divorced, and
Robert married Teresa Carranza of Peru (in 1982) and they had a son, Roberto.
Robert graduated from UCLA in 1965 after earning a BA in Zoology, an MA in Physiology, and a PhD in Anthropology. His dissertation focused on the cultural history of the prehispanic K’iché
(Quiché) Maya of the Guatemalan highlands. His ensuing academic career as a cultural anthropologist included one year as a Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, two years as an Assistant
Professor at Arizona State University (1965-1966), three years as an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Diego (1967-1970), and thirty-two years as a Full Professor at the
State University of New York, Albany, where he retired in 2002. These thirty-eight years of academic service included many trips to conduct field research in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico. On several of these trips, he was accompanied by Adele and the children, and later on by Teresa and Roberto.
Robert loved his family, music, sports, and his work. In high school, he was a star quarterback, shortstop, and shooting guard. He was an avid tennis player all his life. In the course of his notable academic career, he published 35 scholarly books, 70 articles and book chapters, and 31 book reviews and prefaces. He also presented his published research at 131 conferences, advised at least 73 doctoral dissertations as committee chair, led 16 field schools, and organized many conferences, both at the University at Albany and in Central America. In addition, he received numerous fellowships and grants. He was esteemed by his colleagues and widely loved by graduate students and associates in both the US and Central America.
Though he had doubts and struggled with his faith for many years as an adult, Robert had a deep faith in God. In 2017 at age 83, he was rebaptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he remained a faithful member until his passing.
Robert was predeceased by his mother Gladys Bushman Carmack, his father Cecil Eugene Carmack, his younger brother Ross Henry Carmack, his older brother Cecil Ray Carmack, and his former wife Adele Kanaga Avery. He is survived by his wife Teresa Carranza Carmack, by his older brother John Kay Carmack and his older sister Betty Jean Hendrickson, by his six children Curtis Fletcher Carmack (Melanie), Matthew Eugene Carmack (Joyce), Philip Jonathan Carmack (Brooke), Laura Carmack Tschantret, Thomas Tecum Carmack (Amanda), and Roberto José Carmack (Svetlana), and by his twenty-five grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 420 New Scotland Avenue (intersection with Hollywood Avenue) in Albany on Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 12:00
noon. A closed-casket viewing will precede the funeral service at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Robert’s memory to any worthy charity or philanthropic cause. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hans Funeral Home, Albany. To leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit www. HansFuneralHome.com.