Stony Brook University president Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. recalled Tuesday that his father came to a realization when he served in the Army during World War II.

Samuel Stanley Sr. had dropped out of high school in Seattle and lied about his age to join the military, his son said. "He used to say that in the Army he realized he was smarter than a lot of the officers, and they went to college," his son said.

But when he returned from the war, he followed their path.

What came next was a lifetime in education and anthropology. A noted anthropologist, Stanley Sr., who died in Seattle on Saturday at 88 after a long illness, helped create the Center for the Study of Man at the Smithsonian Institution's Natural History Museum. While at the Smithsonian, Stanley, an expert in Native American culture, helped produce the Handbook of North American Indians. The multivolume encyclopedia of tribes that was part of a lifetime of work chronicling and preserving knowledge of Native American culture, his son said.

Stanley, who grew up in Seattle as the child of a goldminer who struck it rich in the Klondikes, earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy in 1951 and a master's in anthropology in 1954, both from the University of Washington in Seattle. He earned a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1958.

Stanley Jr. said, "He was never a snob. He knew stories about the teller at the bank, or he'd ask the checkout person at the market, 'How's your father doing?' "

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Stanley is survived by his wife, Janet Job Stanley, of Seattle; his son, Stanley Jr., of Old Field; daughter Ann Stanley, of Austin, Texas; daughter Sarah Stanley, of Seattle; nine grandchildren; and seven nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Seattle. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Seattle. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the University of Washington or the University of Chicago in Stanley's name.