This last Saturday March 15, George Pistorius, one of the most honored individuals in the history of the Romance Languages department, passed away following a long illness. His career teaching French at Williams spanned from 1963 to 1992. Of Czech origin, George represented the best of a traditional, European humanistic culture. Fluent in four languages–French, German, English, and his native Czech–he lived in his very bones the literature, art, and music of old Europe. A natural comparatist, he wrote extensively on Franco-German literary relations. A pianist himself, he knew classical music inside out and faithfully attended concerts around campus. An extremely fair and efficient administrator, he shepherded the Romance Languages department through a difficult decade in the 1970s and ’80s. In addition, as a person, George was a true gentleman, always in a good mood and never losing his temper in public. He regularly inspired a warm respect among his students and departmental colleagues. He and his wife Marie often served as a gracious hosting couple in their home on Cluett Drive. Politically conservative, George was tolerant toward all positions, and did not allow his beliefs to interfere with his judgment. For those who knew George Pistorius, his death is a profound loss to all of us, and sadly represents the end of an entire era at Williams and in Romance Languages.
Professor Gene Bell-Villada