Labbe, Armand J(oseph) 1944–2005

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Labbe, Armand J(oseph) 1944–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 13, 1944, in Lawrence, MA; died of cancer April 2, 2005, in Los Angeles, CA. Museum curator, anthropologist, educator, and author. Labbe was chief curator of the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, California. After serving in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960s, he graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1969. Later, he completed a master's degree at California State University in 1986. Labbe's involvement with the Bowers Museum began in 1978, when he was hired as curator of collections. At the time, the museum was just a small point of interest in Santa Ana, but Labbe transformed it into a highly respected center for educating the public about native and ancient cultures from around the world. While serving as curator of anthropology from 1979 to 1986, and then as chief curator, Labbe organized numerous exhibits about the art and life of ancient cultures from South America, Africa, Asia, and Polynesia. The exhibits were such a success that he won approval from the city for a twelve-million-dollar renovation in 1992. In addition to his museum work, Labbe also taught anthropology at Santa Ana College, the University of California, Irvine, and California State University, Fullerton, in the 1980s. He continued to teach at Irvine off and on in the early 1990s and was a research associate at Fullerton beginning in 1997. His expertise on native cultures led to his position as consultant for the 1980s television series The Human Journey. Labbe also published several books of anthropological interest, including Ban Chiang: Art and Prehistory of Northeast Thailand (1985), Colombia before Columbus: The People, Culture, and Ceramic Art of PreHispanic Colombia (1986), and Prehistoric Thai Ceramics: Ban Chiang, Lopburi, and Khok Phanom Di and Related Sites in Regional Cultural Perspective (2002).



Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2005, p. B10.


Eagle Tribune Online, (April 14, 2005).