In Memoriam: Kathleen Koestler

Posted on November 01, 2021

Professor Emeritus Kathleen Koestler died Oct. 6.

She taught for 40 years in UNCG’s Department of Romance Languages, now part of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Koestler was a productive scholar who published numerous articles and two books, including “The Making of an Artist: Gautier’s Voyage En Espagne.”

She also earned a BSN in Nursing from UNCG and worked for a number of years at Cone Hospital and as a volunteer at HealthServe.

Colleagues remember Koestler’s hospitality: elegant dinner parties and fine French-inspired cooking. She provided many batches of homemade food to friends in need of support.

Mark Smith-Soto, former head of the Department of Romance Languages, offered the following reflection:

“When as a young associate professor of Romance Languages I accepted the headship of that department, I soon learned that Kathleen Koestler was someone I could count on to help my inexperience.  The daughter of a general, she was herself a real trooper, ready to take on courses and committee assignments no one else wanted if it helped out the department. A specialist in French literature, she  went back to Duke University for her doctorate in Spanish when the increasing enrollments in that language made staffing lower-level courses difficult. Her multilingual abilities made her a natural to take over the editorship of the department’s International Poetry Review, an onerous responsibility she shouldered willingly and with élan, at a point in her career when most faculty were relaxing toward retirement. She was as intelligent, good-humored and generous a colleague as one might hope for, and a friend who will be most sorely missed.”


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