In Memory of




Obituary for Richard James Saley

Richard James Saley passed away peacefully at home in Lake Havasu City, Arizona on April 14, 2023 after a brief illness. He had recently moved to Arizona to live with his daughter and son-in-law after enjoying the previous 40+ years living and working in Cambridge, MA.

‘Dick’ was born in 1936 in Chicago, IL to parents James W Saley (1907 - 1961) and Margaret Orland (1907-1986). He graduated with a BA degree from Wheaton College (IL) and subsequently obtained a Bachelor of Divinity and Masters degree in Semitic Languages from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. While studying at Fuller, he found a calling in teaching and began sharing his expertise in Greek and Hebrew with the eager minds of undergraduate students.

In the early 60’s while living in California with his young family (wife Barbara, son Douglas, and daughter Shauna), Dick received a letter of acceptance into the Harvard doctorate program in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and thus began his long and fulfilling journey with Harvard University. With his family in tow, he crossed the country, settling in Cambridge to begin his Harvard studies in earnest.

In the forty years that followed, he made significant contributions to his field of study, which included obtaining a PhD, publishing his dissertation with the guidance of renowned scholar Frank M. Cross, authoring and co-authoring numerous publications, delivering many presentations, teaching, and mentoring doctoral students. He spent many summers in Israel working with the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon. Over the years, his connection with Frank Cross deepened from mentor to colleague to friend, bringing him a great sense of fulfillment and joy.

Despite his impressive achievements, Dick was an incredibly humble, kind and loving man. In 1979 he met the love of his life, Alice Wallace Moore. Together they traveled the world, exploring museums, different cultures, cuisines, bazaars, institutions of higher education, and generally loving each other’s company and having a ball.

Dick is survived by his former wife, Barbara Brennan, daughter Shauna Miller (Dan), and Alice’s children Ralph Moore (Kim), daughter Elisa Zimmerman (Dan), and her grandchildren Tommy, Joshua, Amanda, Nicolette, Shannon, and Mackenzie. He also leaves behind many former students and friends. His son Douglas and fiance Alice preceded him in death.

The family invites friends and colleagues to attend a service at Bigelow Chapel, situated within the tranquil grounds of Mt. Auburn Cemetery at 580 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA, on Monday, April 24th at 12:30 p.m. Burial will follow.