George Pistorius, 92WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — George Pistorius, 92, of Williamstown and Prague, Czech Republic, died Saturday, March 15, 2014, at Sweet Brook Care Centers.
Born in Prague on March 19, 1922, son of Theodor and Blazena Jiranek Pistorius, he graduated from the Real Gymnasium, earning the equivalent of a bachelor of arts, then attended Charles University, 1945-48, where he studied French and Comparative Literature, and the Universite de Strasbourg, 1949-1951, where he studied Slavic philology. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1964.
His father was an economist who founded the Institute for Exportation in Prague and his grandfather was Josef Jiranek, a noted concert pianist and pupil of composer Bedrich Smetana.
Mr. Pistorius was a professor of language at Williams College for 29 years, retiringin 1992. He first taught French and became chair of the Romance Languages Department from 1971-1982. Fluent in four languages, he was interested in Franco-German literary relations and wrote several scholarly books and articles in French, German and Czech.
He first moved to Paris in 1948, working as a journalist, writing cultural and education programs for the French Broadcasting Co., and did postgraduate studies at Universite de Paris from 1948 to 1950. When he emigrated to the United States in 1958 and taught French and German at Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., while attending University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his doctorate in Romance languages, specializing in French.
He was a loving husband and father, and a devoted professor who was admired for his intellect and sense of humor. He was a photographer, developing pictures of his travels and family in his own darkroom, loved traveling to Europe, hiking in the Alps, playing chess with his daughter, playing piano, skiing as a child, attending classical music concerts and other cultural events, reading and going to art museums.
His wife, the former Marie Skokan, whom he married June 30, 1945, in Prague, died Tuesday April 23, 2013.
He leaves his daughter, Erika Stamper and her husband, John; a brother, Milos Pistorius; a granddaughter, Alessandra; a nephew, Vladimir Pistorius, and a niece, Zoja Oubramova.
His brother Lubos Pistorius predeceased him.
FUNERAL NOTICE — The funeral for Mr. Pistorius will be Saturday, March 22, at 1 p.m. at Thompson Memorial Chapel on the Williams College campus. Burial will follow in the Williams College Cemetery.
There will be no calling hours. Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals is in charge of arrangements.