USAO News Bureau

VLIET, Dale R.

Sunday, April 19, 1998

NORMAN -- International business law ex­pert R. Dale Vliet died Sunday, April 19, 1998, in Norman at age 84. Vliet was one of Oklahoma's most widely traveled and experi­enced legal minds who served 36 years on the law school faculty at the University of Oklahoma. He addressed audiences in 48 countries, including five engagements at Oxford University.

After retirement from OU, he came to Chickasha in 1987 and joined the Distinguished Emeriti Faculty Program at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. He continued to teach foreign affairs and law for six years before his second retirement.

Family members said he died peacefully in his sleep after an extended illness.

A memorial service will be scheduled later in the summer, a family spokesman said Monday. No funeral is planned because the diversely talented educator, speaker, author and singer requested that his body be donated to medical research through the OU Health Sciences Center.

In 1992, Vliet was recognized as the only man alive to be named for 42 consecutive years to Who’s Who in America. That same year, he earned the distinction of being the oldest member of the Oklahoma Bar Association after 54 consecutive years of membership.

He wrote five books on the law and many academic articles.

Rollin Dale Vliet was born March 4, 1914, in Wichita, Kan. His family moved to Oklahoma in 1923 when his parents helped to establish the Fox-Vliet Drug Company in Oklahoma City. Young Dale worked for his dad as a pharmaceutical clerk from 1923--34. Later, in 1960, he would begin a tenure of 14 years on the Board of Directors for Fox-Vliet Company.

Vliet graduated from Oklahoma City’s Classen High School in 1931. He earned his first college degree from the OU College of Law in 1938. From Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., he earned a master of laws degree in 1946 and a doctor of juridical science degree in 1950. He also studied music for two years, 1934-35, at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York City and sang at more than 500 weddings of friends and family.

He served the U.S. Army in increasingly important legal/investigative positions until he became chief of staff to the provost marshal in Manila. Later he served 24 years in the Army Reserve’s judiciary branch and retired as colonel in 1970.

Vliet was married on June 15, 1949, to Genevieve Estelle Kern, also an educator. She served many years on the piano and music theory faculty at the OU College of Fine Arts. She still resides in Norman.

Their son, Richard, is an attorney in Tokyo, where he lives with his wife, Mutsuko. Daughter Marcia Vliet of Norman teaches drama at USAO in Chickasha. Another son, Kent, is an internationally known wildlife expert who teaches at the University of Florida at Gainesville, and who has appeared in research documentaries by National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Daughter Cynthia is a theatrical designer based in Norman.

Vliet became the first Fulbright Professor of Law at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in 1961, and served on the International Faculty of Comparative Law of the Inter­national University in Luxem­bourg.

At OU, he served 25 years as faculty adviser to the National Moot Court Competition, resulting in three national trophies for the Norman team.

He was a member of more than a dozen national and state organizations, professional associations and honor societies. In Norman, he served as legal counsel and on the board of directors for the United Cerebral Palsy Committee of Cleveland County and as legal counsel for the McCarty Center for Handicapped Children.

He lectured at the In­ternational Congress of Civil Pro­cedural Law at Venice, Italy, and represented the United States at a similar congress in Uppsala, Swe­den. He taught frequently as a visiting professor at law schools throughout the United States and four times at Oxford University. In 1979, he and his wife, Genevieve, were guests of the Taiwan government on a three-week cultural mission. In 1982, he taught American law in China.

From 1984-86, Vliet was a visiting distinguished professor of law at California Western School of Law in San Diego.

His last major series of international trips was in 1986-87 when he was called to the Soviet Union to teach a team of U.S. lawyers about the Soviet legal system. Earlier that year he made a similar tour to China, teaching Chinese law. He also visited Japan extensively that year.

Despite his expertise in teaching advanced law, Vliet said he enjoyed teaching basic, introductory law too. His estate planning seminars were popular.

During his travels, Vliet studied languages, including French, German, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Chinese, and some Russian.

Throughout his life, he was active in the Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder, guest speaker and teacher. He was a member of the Chancel Choir for more than 50 years, beginning in 1934.

Vliet was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Gertrude Vliet; and a brother, Wade.