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Philip Koch

Philip Koch passed away peacefully at his home in Falmouth, Maine, on October 19, 2021.  He was born on December 31, 1927, in the Bronx, NY, to Esther and Samuel Koch and grew up in Queens and Brooklyn.  After graduating from Boys High School in Brooklyn, Philip, the first in his family to attend college, graduated from Harvard College in 1949 with an AB magna cum laude in Romance Languages and Literatures, and went on to earn a PhD there in French.  Shortly after his marriage in 1952, he and his wife Frances A. (Bonanno) Koch spent a Fulbright year in Italy, after which they returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts before moving on to Evanston, Illinois  (Northwestern University) and then the Philadelphia area, where he joined the faculty of Bryn Mawr College. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the next stop, where Phil joined the faculty of the Department of French and Italian at the University of Pittsburgh, and where he and Frances raised their two sons.  Life in Pittsburgh was interrupted three times by separate years in France for work on research projects on eighteenth-century French literature.

Phil was an engaged teacher and researcher at the University of Pittsburgh from 1961 until his retirement in 1992.  He was deeply committed to the collegial life of the university and, as a scholar of the Enlightenment, to the promise of human progress.  He and Frances retired to Maine in 1995, where he was able to dedicate his time and energy to what came to matter most: enjoying visits from family and friends; reading engaging books; traveling throughout the world; and supporting and promoting worthy educational, artistic, social, civic, and political causes.  Phil had an exemplary zeal for life and for the good company of others.

Philip is survived by his two sons, Philip S. Koch (Conifer, CO) and Erec R. Koch (New York, NY), by two daughters-in-law, Faith Curtin Koch and Joaniko Kohchi, and by four grandchildren, Larissa Koch Ursprung, Andrei, Nicole, and Antonia Koch.