Claude L. Hulet, 96, of La Cañada, California passed away peacefully on August 22, 2017. He was born in 1920 in rural, Michigan. He worked hard growing up on a farm during the depression. At the same time he was able to maintain his studies and was eventually accepted to the University of Michigan. He majored in Spanish and French and also graduated from the English language institute.
After completing his BA degree, the Cultural Division of the Department of State designated him to be the director of the binational center in Curitiba, Brazil, but he was drafted and entered the Army.
In the Army Air Corps during World War II, he graduated from the Army cryptographic school and was sent to Brazil, where he served for two and a half years at the U.S. airbases in Natal and Recife. On his own initiative he wrote and gave a course in English on the local radio station, ZYB-5.
Following his discharge from the Army Air Force, he was hired by the Department of State to be the director of the Instituto Guatemalteco Americano in Guatemala City.
In 1954 he took his Master’s and Ph.D degrees in Spanish, with a minor in French at the University of Michigan.
He eventually ended up teaching Spanish and Spanish-American literature at Washington University in St. Louis. He was then hired by UCLA to teach Portuguese where he also taught Spanish and Spanish-American literature. He became renowned as a scholar of Brazilian literature and received many honors. His work came to transform Brazilian and Portuguese studies.
At UCLA, in addition to many scholarly articles, he published an early bibliography in two volumes of Latin American poetry and Latin American prose, and created a three-volume historical survey of Brazilian literature.
Leading a pioneering program in Portuguese studies, Professor Hulet directed the UCLA Brazilian Student Leader Seminar Program on U.S. culture. Each year he would help select 16 to 20 participants from personal interviews with students at 13 universities throughout Brazil.
He also created and then directed the annual international Symposium on Portuguese Traditions at UCLA, with participants from around the world, for 32 successive years.
He was probably the ﬁrst person to use the UCLA Engineering Department’s mainframe computers to do word processing, using punched cards to input the material, and later helped to introduce the first international university-to-university computer information network, established between UCLA and universities in Brazil.
He was honored to be a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras and of the Sociedade de Geograﬁ de Lisboa, as well as having received the Machado de Assis Medal from the Academia de Letras, and the Ordem do Rio Branco Medal and the Ordem do Cruzeiro do Sul Medal from the government of Brazil. He was also especially honored by the festschrift, Tradições Portuguesas – Portuguese Traditions In Honor of Claude L. Hulet (Portuguese Heritage Publications of California, San José, California, 2006).
For many years Claude was an active member of the Adventurers’ Club and, until recently, served as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
He loved to read, study, learn and share his ideas and philosophy.
He was always grateful for his life and experiences, and appreciated his family and friends.
Claude is survived by Maria José, his wife of 34 years, as well as his sons from his former wife Norma: Claude, (Kathy), Richard (Bonnie) and Roger (Zola), step-daughter Rosa Maria Albuquerque, step-son Miguel Pedro Boniface (Francisca) and step-grandson Michael Sean Boniface.
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