Kenneth W. Rasmussen, an associate professor of modern languages at the University at Buffalo, died Friday (July 18, 1997) in the Watertown home of his daughter after battling cancer since May.
Rasmussen, 60, was involved in cultural exchange and interpretation all his life. He was fluent in several languages and produced numerous publications, presentations and exhibitions related to the Brazilian and Portuguese cultures. He lived for five years in Brazil and Mexico and traveled to numerous other countries. He was fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and could converse in Italian and French. An avid reader, his reading included books written in Danish, Swedish, German, Romanian and Galician.
An associate professor at the university since 1972, Rasmussen first came to the Buffalo area to serve as an assistant professor in 1966. He taught classes in Spanish and Portuguese languages as well as courses in Portuguese civilization and Brazilian literature, Brazilian and Spanish culture.
As a visiting professor, Rasmussen lectured on Portuguese at Stanford University in the summer of 1968, taught Peace Corps volunteers Spanish at Brockport State College in 1969 and taught Portuguese at Queen's University in Canada in 1974.
His professional activities included serving as an examiner for the Critical Language Program at Geneseo State, C.W. Post, Skidmore and Nazareth colleges. He also acted as a consultant for Portuguese Bi-Lingual/Bi-Cultural Programs at the unversity.
He was an examiner in Portuguese for Houghton College, the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and the state Department of Education. He served as a faculty adviser to the Brazilian Student Association at UB and was a member of several master's and doctoral committees for Portuguese majors.
Rasmussen organized Brazilian Carnival at the university with authentic decorations, costumes and music and had been an interpreter for the U.S. Immigration Service.
Born in Murray, Utah, Rasmussen was raised in Draper, Utah. He got his first experience in cultural exchange as a Jordan High School student in Sandy, Utah. He went to Mexico as an exchange student in the 1950s and returned there as a unversity-level exchange student and later studied in Brazil and Portugal.
Rasmussen earned his bachelor's degree in Portuguese from Brigham Young University in 1960. He went on to earn his master's and doctorate in Portuguese and Luso Brazilian Studies and Portuguese and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin in 1971.
Rasmussen was a longtime resident of the city's University District.
Survivors include three daughters, Janna, Vania Luparello of Watertown and Alicia Dube of Cannon Falls, Minn.; a son, Michael of Newark, N.J.; his ex-wife, the former Claudia Cox of Boston, Mass.; his parents, Welden A. and Ramona of Draper; three brothers, Craig of Sandy, Jeffrey of Draper and Lane of Christianburg, Va.; two sisters, Dionne Allan and Shannon Faulkner, both of Draper; and five grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday in Unitarian Universalist Church, 695 Elmwood Ave. Interment will be scheduled in Forest Lawn.