Remembering Ralph Greenhouse

Remembering Ralph Greenhouse

On February 20, 2017, Ralph Greenhouse passed away at age 90 in a hospice at Alexandria, Virginia. Ralph Greenhouse had dual accomplishments in life. Nephew of the renowned cellist, Bernard Greenhouse with whom he studied, Mr. Greenhouse aspired as a teenager to become a concert cellist. World War II intervened and his subsequent military experience exposed him to the mysteries and challenges of the Far East for which anthropology provided insight and understanding.

Mr. Greenhouse was born in New Jersey and graduated from East Orange High School as a member of the class of 1944. During this formative period he was active in orchestra, debate and international relations. At age 17, he enlisted in the Army Reserves and was assigned to Japanese language training at the University of Minnesota and Yale University. Qualified as a Japanese interpreter, he was subsequently assigned to Military Intelligence, Headquarters 24th Division for duty in Occupied Japan. During this period he became immersed in Japanese culture and civilization.

He graduated from Dartmouth College with majors in anthropology and international relations. He then pursued a Master’s degree and Ph.D. graduate studies in cultural anthropology at Columbia University. Mr. Greenhouse was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Japan, where he was affiliated with Kyoto University’s Research Institute of Humanistic Sciences. His project entailed a one-year residence in a mountain village where he conducted one of the post-war pioneer studies of Japanese rural life. He was accompanied by his wife and four-year-old son.

Following a lecture tour of Japan sponsored by the State Department, Mr. Greenhouse was hired by the Defense Department to prepare a Country Data Handbook on Cambodia. In 1961, Ralph joined the United States Information Agency’s Office of Research and Intelligence (USIA). He retired after 26 years of service. He conducted research for USIA and State Department in the Philippines, Singapore and mainland China. In collaboration with leading scholars, he published books on Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Maghreb region in North Africa.

In retirement, Mr. Greenhouse embarked on a second career as a professional cellist, teaching and performing. He was a member of the Richmond Symphony and the Virginia Beach Symphony and held an endowed chair in the Roanoke Symphony. He performed with numerous chamber ensembles at foreign embassies and venues in Carnegie Hall, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Kennedy Center. His greatest devotion was to teaching and mentoring young talent.

Mr. Greenhouse was on the Board of Directors of the Beethoven Society, which organized chamber music concerts at the German Embassy and the Kindler Cello Society. He was a member of the National Geographic Hubbard Society and the Smithsonian Legacy Society.

Mr. Greenhouse was married twice; to Anne Bricken and Katherine Stone. He is survived by two sons, Mark and William, and two grandsons, Ryland and Carlin.

The Fulbright Association is deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Greenhouse’s passing. Devoted to the Fulbright mission, he was an inspiration to those around him and will be greatly missed.

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