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Harry Kotses

Apr 6, 2017

Ohio University Emeritus Professor Harry Kotses, husband of Kandee S. Grossman, died at his home in Sanibel, Florida, on March 7, 2017, at the age of 78 with Kandee at his side. Family, friends, colleagues, and students will remember Harry for the multiple roles he embraced during a life of purpose as husband, father, grandfather, teacher, professor, mentor and scholar lived with authenticity, clarity, compassion and encouragement, humility and humor, patience, reflection, and sensitivity.

Harry was born on September 29, 1938, in Martins Ferry, Ohio, to Pete (Pantelis) and Stamtia (nee Tsarnas) Kotses, the first in his family to be born in the United States. As was common at the time, Harry’s father came to the United States ahead of other family members, arriving in 1924; Harry’s mother and younger sister Grace were not able to join Pete until the spring of 1937. Harry’s older sister, Stamatoula, stayed behind in Greece and ultimately married Gregory Pasvanis. Harry did not meet Stamatoula and Gregory until he traveled to Greece for the first time, in 1983. During his two visits to Ikaria, Harry fondly recalled being referred to as “the child,” eating freshly picked figs from the backyard each morning with his older sister, and touring the island’s beaches with Gregory.

Harry’s family moved to Warren, Ohio, when he was four. At that time, two of Stamtia’s brothers lived in the same household. One brother, Gus, nurtured Harry’s belief in the value of learning, which was validated throughout his subsequent academic career. Gus had less than an eighth-grade education, but was a voracious reader and Harry recalled waking him in the early morning for chemistry, history and physics lessons. In 1950, the family moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to join his sister Grace who by then had married Gust C. Zarnas. Gust had played for The Ohio State University football team and was recognized as an All-American in 1937; he shaped Harry’s life-long enthusiasm for Ohio State football.

Harry graduated from Liberty High School, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1956, and then completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Lehigh University in 1960. Harry subsequently completed a Master of Arts degree at Temple University, in 1964, and then spent two years working at the Human Resources Research Office (HumRRO) at Fort Benning, Georgia. He earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology in 1969 from Michigan State University; and then spent a year as Assistant Professor of Child Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1970, Harry began his distinguished career at Ohio University, moving through the ranks of Assistant Professor to Professor to Emeritus Professor, in 1998. His research interests included asthma self-management, human psychophysiology, classical and operant conditioning of physiological responses, and biofeedback.

Harry is survived by his wife, Kandee, whom he married in 1997; sons Peter A. Kotses (Meredith Erlewine) of Athens, Ohio, and Nicholas G. Kotses (Susan Miller) of Tustin, Calif.; a granddaughter, Kate; and former spouse Grace H. Kotses (nee Anamisakis), mother to Peter and Nicholas. He was preceded in death by his father, Pete (Pantelis) Kotses, in 1980, and his mother, Stamtia (nee Tsarnas), in 1976; and his two sisters, Stamatoula Pasvanis (1999) and Grace Zarnas (2002).

Harry was liberal of thought, sensible of mind, and socially conscious; he was respectful, and therefore respected. Curiosity for him was a habit. He knew the origin and name of every bush and palm tree on his property. Harry was always an optimist and so it was easy to be with him. He was well read and well informed on a number of subjects current fiction, history, international affairs and politics and so it was easy to have a conversation with him. Harry was also proud of his family and his Greek heritage and so “Life to you, may you remember him.”