William C. Staley Jr.
December 19, 2006
Aspen, CO ColoradoWe honor the passing of William C. Staley Jr., Ph.D., on Dec. 17 in Santa Fe, N.M. His spirit will continue to live on in family, friends and those individuals whose lives he touched.Staley was born Nov. 5, 1923, in Springfield, Ill., the son of Jennie May Barnes and William Converse Staley. He attended Springfield High School, the Taft School and Dartmouth College, receiving a highest distinction for his BA in international relations. In 1966, Staley received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in Oriental studies, Near East program.
Staley worked briefly in the family business, Baker Manufacturing Co., but soon elected to follow his interest in international relations. In 1951-52, he joined the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City as assistant to the director of the committee on policy. He then joined the State Department Point Four Mission to Iran, where in 1952-53, he was instrumental in developing the first United States technical assistance program as assistant to the director of aid program. While in Iran in 1953-54, he was acting provincial director of the Kermanshah Province, where he managed the technical assistance program as U.S. Representative with the Iranian government.After returning from Iran, he attended Princeton University as a National Defense Education Fund fellow from 1961-63. Having fallen in love with Iranian culture, Staley returned to Iran to continue his studies under a Ford Foundation grant from 1963-64. Staley’s unpublished thesis, “The Intellectual Development of Ahmad Kasravi” detailed the life and philosophies of this leading martyred intellectual Persian social and religious reformer (1890-1947): “Had Kasravi’s criticisms of his countrymen been better known outside Iran, neither the Shah’s nor the Ayatollah’s regime would come as such a surprise to the West.”Upon returning to the United States, Staley moved to Aspen and began work on his philosophical treatise “Star Stuff – A Theory About Man” within which he theorized about the evolution of mankind and exploration of the unconscious.
In 1982-83, after learning of research Jonas Salk was conducting on the human mind, Staley accepted an invitation to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. During this time, he served as a consultant to Salk on the human condition and ways to set mankind on a biologically safer course for the future.In addition to “Star Stuff – A Theory About Man,” Staley was the author of many philosophical writings continuing the search for the answer about man. “Evolution of the Human Mind,” “The Myth of Civilation,” and “Is Man Perfectible – A Report to the United Nations.”
Staley is survived by his sister, Elsiejane Staley O’Keefe; brother-in-law, Robert V. O’Keefe; nieces Dianne Simpson, Jennifer Anderson, Pamela Franks and Niana Hill; nine grandnieces and -nephews; two great-grandnephews; and his dog, Karma.We celebrate Staley’s life at home in Santa Fe from 4-6 p.m. Dec. 20, and at Smith Boardman Funeral Home in Springfield, Ill. at 10 a.m. Dec. 27.In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in Staley’s name to: Ambercare Hospice of Santa Fe, the New Mexico Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and/or the Princeton University Near Eastern Studies program.