Cover photo for Dr. Vicente Cantarino's Obituary
Dr. Vicente Cantarino Profile Photo

Dr. Vicente Cantarino

d. August 7, 2017

North Austin Location

Dr. Vicente (“Vincent”) Cantarino Calabuig, Professor Emeritus, passed away peacefully on August 7, 2017 in Austin, Texas. He was born on May 12, 1925 in Lérida, Spain to Isidro Cantarino Escamilla and Carmen Calabuig Gil. Vicente was the second child and son in a family with eight children and grew up in Valencia, in a time of great suffering during the Spanish Civil War. After graduating from the Instituto ‘Luis Vives,’ he continued his studies in Rome graduating with honors from Pontifical Gregorian University with master’s degrees in both philosophy and theology in 1948.

In 1952 Vincent moved to Munich, Germany as a Lektor at the university and continued his studies in medieval philosophy, theology, and Arabic thought. He was a student of the eminent orientalist Professor Dr. Anton Spittaler. In order to research the survival of the Aramaic language and write about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, Vincent traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, primarily in Syria and Palestine. In 1957 he obtained his Doctorate of Philosophy from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.

Deciding not to return to Franco-Spain, Dr. Cantarino accepted an instructorship at the University of North Carolina in 1959, teaching Arabic and Spanish. It was in Chapel Hill, where Vincent met his wife Bärbel (Barbara) Becker, a Fulbright scholar from the University of Göttingen, Germany. They married on August 12, 1960. In 1965, the family moved to Bloomington, Indiana where Vincent became professor of Spanish and Near Eastern Studies at Indiana University.

In 1969, Dr. Cantarino accepted a professorship at The University of Texas in Austin where he taught and inspired students for 17 years. In 1985 Vincent and Barbara then moved to Columbus to continue their distinguished careers at The Ohio State University until their retirement. Dr. Cantarino and his beloved wife, Dr. Barbara Becker-Cantarino, shared interests in teaching, researching, writing, and traveling throughout Spain and Europe while raising and traveling with their three daughters. After retiring from Ohio State University, Vincent and Barbara moved back to Austin in 2013 to be closer to their family.

Dr. Cantarino published many books and articles related to Hispano-Arabic studies, linguistics, philosophy, and Spanish civilization and culture. His early scholarly research included Hispano-Arabic philosophy, literature, and Arabic syntax and prose. In addition to his native Spanish, his language skills included English, Italian, German, French, Latin, Classical Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic. Throughout his career, he made presentations at many national and international conferences, while serving as a visiting professor at several American and European universities. For decades, he mentored many students and chaired graduate dissertations for advanced degrees.

A classic for over 25 years, Dr. Cantarino’s book Civilización y cultura de España (first edition 1981) is considered the best resource for introducing students to the richness of Spanish civilization and culture. Unique in its multimedia supplemental coverage, it provides a chronological approach to the civilization and continuously changing culture of Spain by presenting its political, social, economic, and religious history. The text also incorporates new information about the regional divisions of Spain and its modern-day political organization. Since the 1999 edition, Dr. Cantarino supplemented the classic text with additional content in the form of both a disk and a text-specific companion website, thereby providing a richer cultural learning experience for his students.

Nothing gave Vincent more pleasure than being with Barbara and his family. Vincent became a United States citizen in 1964, but still loved to travel back to Spain to visit Valencia and relatives. He loved good Spanish wine and paella paired with interesting and stimulating conversation. His travels always included research and photography for later editions of his books. He photographed thousands of cultural, architectural, and religious artifacts both in Spain and throughout Europe. Photography, religious art, and collecting ornately decorated Spanish ceramics from different regions, influences, and periods were his passions.

While being a scholar and a teacher, Vincent will always be remembered for being a loving husband, father, brother, and uncle. He was deeply reflective, analytical, and caring in both his work and in his private life. His actions were rooted in his European and Spanish values of compassion and in his love for learning and teaching. He had a brilliant mind and treated people with dignity, respect, courtesy, kindness, and loyalty. He loved teaching, mentoring, writing, and sharing his perspectives about Spain, its culture, and its influence on Western Civilization. He shall be deeply missed. Vincent was preceded in death by his parents and six siblings. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, his sister Maria Teresa (“Mayte”) Cantarino Malo, and his three daughters, Christine B. Cantarino (Kevin Borgard), Suzanne Cantarino Pfeiffer, and Myra Cantarino DeRemer (Kim), their families, and his many nieces and nephews. – A private memorial service was held for the immediate family. – In lieu of flowers, the family encourages gifts be made, in memory of Vincent Cantarino, directly to St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, 6500 Saint Stephens Dr., Austin, Texas, 78746. (512) 327-1213.

A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held on September 9, 2017 in Austin. We would be very happy if you could attend, please contact Suzanne Pfeiffer 512-767-0220,

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Vicente Cantarino, please visit our flower store.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree