Tamerlan Salaty


A memorial service at Danforth Chapel on the KU campus will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 2, 2013.

Private inurnment was held at Pioneer Cemetery.

Tamerlan Salaty, 90, peacefully passed away December 27, 2012, with family members present at his side.

Tamerlan, of Ossetian nationality, was born February 28,  1922, in Kardzhin,  near Vladikavkas,  Republic of North Ossetia, Russia.  His parents were Zambolat and Madinat  K. Salaty.  

In 1942 Tamerlan became a partisan resistance fighter who was captured after the German invasion of the Soviet Union during WW II.  He escaped from the Germans, was wounded in a bombing attack, and recaptured.  He survived the war in captivity and ended up in a refugee camp in Ingolstadt,  near Munich, Germany.  There he learned a trade as an electrician.
Not wanting to return to Communist Russia, he became a displaced person.  He eventually was sponsored by the World Church Organization and immigrated to America in 1949.  He worked for the California citrus growers, picking oranges, for the first 6 months in his new country.  Later, he moved to New York, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute for an Electrical Engineering degree.  Having one year left for his EE degree, he had to quit school for economic reasons.  He was hired as an engineering aide for the Sperry Gyroscope Company where he worked on the B-58 bomber program.  After three years he left the company and moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where he finished his EE degree in 1963.  While finishing his degree, he was offered a part-time position teaching a Russian language course and thus began his career at KU in the Slavic Languages and Literature department.  He received his Master’s degree in Slavic Languages and Literature in 1968, and taught courses in Russian grammar and composition and translation.  Tamerlan retired in 1992.  
He was fluent in four languages and was a member of the Kansas Foreign Language Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic   
Studies,  the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages and the American Association of University Professors.  In addition to teaching at KU, he taught summers at Cornell University,  University of Colorado, Indiana University, and Middlebury  College in Vermont. 
Tamerlan was an avid tennis player and enjoyed swimming almost everyday.  He was a devoted husband and father, and would have been a most caring and fun grandfather if his failing health had not prevented him.  He was passionate about helping people, especially new immigrants.   He was a very dedicated teacher.  He was well-known among his students for his anecdotes and sense of humor.  One student wrote,  "He has a wonderful way of presenting things and making grammar clear.  He only gets impatient when he sees you’re not working up to your potential. "
His survivors include his wife of 47 years, Caroline, two daughters, Madina, and husband, Zunu, of Lawrence, and Tamara, and her husband, Ben, and two granddaughters, Wrenn, and Maren, of Manhattan, Kansas.  Also a cousin, Sergei Ardasenov and his wife, Zalina, and their son, Tamerlan, of Shawnee, Kansas, and a brother-in-law, David Logan, his wife Cathy, and nephew, Tim, of San Antonio, Texas.
His family wishes to thank the staff and caregivers at Brandon Woods and Grace Hospice for their care and compassion.  
A memorial service at Danforth Chapel on the KU campus will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 2, 2013.
Private inurnment was held at Pioneer Cemetery.  
Memorial donations may be made to the University of Kansas Endowment Association in care Warren-McElwain mortuary.


27 Condolences

  1. Kate and Rob Voelker on December 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    So sorry for your loss. I loved reading about your Dad, what a fascinating man!

  2. Amy Conway on December 28, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Tamara and family,
    So sorry to hear of your fathers passing. I will always remember the stories told of your father when we were working at Varsity. They would fasinate me as I am sure they did everyone else. Take comfort in those memories.

  3. Zac, Amber & kids on December 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Caroline, Madina & Tamara, we are thinking of you & your families. Your love and respect for Tamerlan is always obvious. I feel like I’ve had a good sense of who he was through your stories, but this summary of his life was really amazing. Hank & Will share his birthday.

  4. Nick Woods on December 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Caroline and family, we grieve with you. We are thankful for the wonderful life you had together.
    His sheer courage and integrity as a freedom fighter, got him through the awful years of WWII
    and Camps. Thank you for sharing some of his incredible life in this obituary. Your friends, Nick & Elizabeth Woods

  5. Sheryl Henry on December 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Caroline and girls and family,
    I was sorry to read about Tamerlan in today’s paper. I know he was a wonderful husband and father and you will miss him so much. He left a legacy of never giving up and caring for others. I am sorry for your loss and for his long struggle these past few years. We are thinking of you with love

  6. Mischa Buchholz on December 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss. I will always remember your dad very fondly. What an amazing life!

  7. Judy Hathaway on December 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Caroline, my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Your husband’s lifetime of challenges and accomplishments is quite interesting and impressive. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll miss seeing you at BW.

  8. Alex and Tatiana Plotnikov on December 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    We are sorry to hear that such a wonderful life was ended. Tamerlan was very helpful to us and to other new immigrants. He was like a father to us.

  9. Joe and Linda Gudenkauf on December 29, 2012 at 8:24 am

    We are so sad to hear of your loss. We are thinking of you all and how much you all touched our lives. Our prayers are with you all.
    Joe and Linda Gudenkauf

  10. Lauri Zinn O'Connor on December 29, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Mrs.Salaty, Madina and Tamara, I am sorry to hear of your loss. My memories are of a quiet, kind man who I knew only as a child. I remeber doing a school project he assisted me with that involved transalting some English to Russian. What an amazing life. With sympathy, wishing you peace and comfort in your memories.

  11. Rob Zinn on December 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Dear Salaty’s, please accept my deepest condolences. Tam’s was a life well lived and I will always have fond memories of his gentle nature and kind words. He taught me how to play chess, and for that I will always be grateful. Learning about his life prior to coming to the states was so interesting and impressive. May he rest in peace.

  12. Bill and Shirley Andrews on December 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I think of Tamerlan so many times and in so many ways. His ardent conversations after grad classes, his sense of humor, his unfailing generosity to those for whom English was a second language. I remember that he went to doctor’s appointments and assisted in so many ways — bread delivered . . . or so many things. I remember too how endearing your example of marriage is to the rest of us. I remember that everyone was welcome, and as his memory declined that he would invite people he didn’t know into the house — just because he didn’t recall them, doesn’t mean they weren’t welcome. Surrounding you with the gentleness and good will that permiated who he was and who you are.

  13. Jeanne Ellermeier on December 30, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Dear Caroline and family:
    For so many years we have been neighbors-all working, and not much time to socialize. But we’ve been friends that long time, and I want you all to know how much I enjoyed every encounter with Tamerlan as well as the family. I’ll be here for you and with you,still. You’re in my heart and thoughts these days.


  14. Kathy Mallonee on December 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Caroline, I am Kathy Mina’s daughter. We ate lunch together a couple times at Brandon Woods.
    My mom also passed, on Christmas Eve. I enjoyed visiting with you and Tam and I am sorry for your loss. You have a lot of amazing memories to hold on to until you meet again. God’s blessings and comfort be with you and your family. Kathy

  15. George S. Jerkovich, MD on December 31, 2012 at 1:09 am

    I will always remember Tamerlan fondly as a dear friend of the family. He and my parents were especially close. The first time I beat him at chess as a teenager was a memorable day. The Jerkovich family extends our sympathy at your loss.

  16. Amy Singer on December 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I will always remember & cherish the wonderful times spent with you and your family and Tamerlan. I am thinking about you and sorry to hear of his passing.

  17. Anna McCoy on January 5, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I am Madina’s friend and co-teacher at our preschool. I loved reading this and learning about his interesting life. Caroline, I met you at your garage sale. I am sorry for your loss and wish you well.

  18. Leo Yurovsky on January 13, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    When I was a new emigrant from Russia and a new student at KU in the early 1980s, I am grateful to Tamerlan for helping me adjust to Lawrence and to student life. He was the pillar of the community of Russian speakers and students of Russian alike, loved by all. He has had the most remarkable life, and I feel enriched for having him as my friend. My deepest condolences to Caroline, Madina, Tamara, and the rest of the family.

  19. Paul Budilo on January 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    My dad and Tamerlan came to American together, worked in the citrus groves that were mentioned above, and for over 60 years were close friends and surrogate brothers as each lost many family members during the atrocities of the Soviet Union and WWII. I was always amazed of how living through this horrible period in human history and after witnessing so much cruelty during the war, both Tamerlan and my dad continued to be such loving, sympathetic and kind hearted people. I recall fondly of how Tamerlan would always take a group of his students from KU on a trip to see America and how he would come calling – with his group in tow – to visit us in California. He provided his students with the experience of seeing the country, and us the joy of being able to host them for a few days. Tamerlan truly touched the hearts of so many, not only throughout the KU and Lawrence community, but well beyond those borders. He was humble and very strong, traits that so few today posses. When I was going to school at Cal State University, Fullerton taking Russian Studies, to my utter surprise my Russian professor – from 1,500 miles away in California – also knew Tamerlan and shared many stories of admiration and respect that she had for him.
    Tamerlan may have passed away, but he is not forgotten as the good that he shared and the teaching he taught to others, will be passed down to others.

    My family, provides its condolences to Caroline, Madina, Tamara and to their respective families with the passing of such a truly kind person.

  20. Jacob Kipp on February 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I met Tamerlan through my wife, Masha, when she was a graduate student at KU. Tamerlan was a fine teacher, a kind man, and a good friend. He will be remebered fondly by his amny students.

  21. Reuel Hanks on February 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Tamerlan was my first teacher of Russian in the fall of 1984. I still recall vividly many events from that class, and how funny, devoted and interesting he was. And I still have many of the handouts and materials he used. He lead an heroic life, and there are literally thousands of lives he shaped and influenced. May God bring peace to those he loved, and those who loved him.

  22. Dave McClave on April 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Caroline, Madina, and Tamara,
    The entire Salaty family welcomed us from Back East in 1971. The teacher I am today and the knowledge of Russian I use today comes from Tamerlan’s magical influence. I cherish as well all those sets we played on the U’s courts not far from our cottage on Maine Avenue. I’m confident he is regaling the angels with his stories and baffling the saints with his trick shots. God bless my old friend and you all.

  23. Jonelle Birney Sullivan on April 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Ta,Eelam was my Russian language teacher from 1976-1980. I remember going to your home when the girls were small and I saw Tamerlan in Washington DC in the early ’80’s. He was a fine man and great teacher. My thugs are with you?

  24. Irina Corten on April 26, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I met Tamerlan in 1974 when I came to teach for one year in the Slavic department at the U of K. After all these years, I still remember him very fondly. He was a kindly, warm-hearted man. He helped me settle in my new apartment, took me grocery shopping and drove me around town for nearly a month until I got my own car. And he was my most pleasant colleague at work–always cheerful and with a joke or interesting story to tell. I did not have a chance to get to know his family, but I know that he was very devoted to them; showed me their photos; and spoke about them often. My sympathy and very best wishes to his wife and daughters.

  25. Lawrence Metzger on April 11, 2016 at 12:42 am

    I’m very sorry to just hear of Professor Salaty’s passing, after being outside of the US for 16 years. He was my first one of everyone’s favorite Russian professors at KU. His kind and humorous way of teaching with great stories, helped so many of us just getting started in studying Russian and learning to appreciate the people, struggle and resilience of its rich culture. Blessings to his family and the great legacy of admiring learners whom I am very privileged to have been a part. Lawrence Metzger

  26. Janet (Hays) Bradbury on July 8, 2016 at 1:12 am

    I was a student of Tamerlan Salaty in the Russian intensive summer class at KU in 1970. I just saw this, and I wanted to say that I really appreciated him as a teacher, and I am grateful for that first trip to California with other students. He also had a great sense of humor. I remember his story about coming to California and drinking so much carrot juice that he turned orange. I think that everyone told him that his health would be great with all that carrot juice. I wish I had tried to look him up before he died, but one doesn’t always think of such things. I loved reading his history as a partisan resistance fighter, and being captured by the Germans. I didn’t know that. Now by reading history, I know that Russians who became prisoners of war in Germany were dishonored when they returned to Russia because it was thought that they should not allow themselves to be captured. He was wise to go to the US. He was a special man who adapted to a world in chaos, and made the best of it. May he rest in peace. Love to his family. I remember meeting Caroline once, although she may not remember me. He always spoke fondly of her. I am happy that he lived such a long life. Thank you, Tamerlan for being an inspiring and dedicated man!

  27. Tanya Coons Redig on March 2, 2019 at 8:49 am

    I have thought often of Tamerlan’s advice to me while I was associated with the Slavic department through the Slavic club. He was a humble and confident citizen of this country. He told me once, (I paraphrase)”Don’t ever let yourself be convinced that Socialism is an acceptable form of Government to exist under”. I don’t know why that topic came in his conversation s with me, but I respected him. I was glad for any advice he gave me. He was a good hearted and wise man. He told of surviving as a prisoner of war by trading his Red cross cigarettes for food. He was astounded that in that setting, people willing traded food so they
    could get his cigarettes. He told me many died of starvation, and he lived on needed food from trading his allotment of cigarettes. I took intensive Russian due to an interest that started prior to my KU experience, but I knew him from the Slavic Club conversations I was fortunate to have with him. I would love to learn more about his life. Are any of his stories history documented and available to the public? I found Tamerlan’s obit her because I was interested in researching his life stories. I have told many people in my family and friends what I shared here today. One merely had to converse with him to enjoy and respect him.

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