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Dr. Byron J. Koekkoek, retired UB linguistics professor

May 19, 1924 – Nov. 28, 2015

Dr. Byron J. Koekkoek of Getzville, a retired professor of modern languages and linguistics at the University at Buffalo, died Saturday in Beechwood Home. He was 91.

Born in Jennison, Mich., he earned a bachelor of arts degree from Olivet College in Michigan and a master of arts degree from the University of Michigan. He then earned his doctorate in German and Germanic linguistics from the University of Vienna in Austria while on a Fulbright Fellowship.

Dr. Koekkoek went on to teach at the University of Illinois and the University of Texas before joining the UB faculty in 1953. His area of specialization was the German language. At UB, he served as chairman of the Department of German and Slavic Languages from 1971 to 1976, and was a member of both the Faculty Senate and University Senate. He retired in 1995.

Dr. Koekkoek was the author of numerous reviews and articles in journals on the histories of the German and English languages. He was a member of the American Association of Teachers of German, the Linguistic Society of America, the Modern Language Association of America and the Niagara Linguistic Society.

A philanthropist, he established the John H. Koekkoek Foundation for Housing Opportunity, and supported the Western New York Peace Center, Trinity Church and was a trustee at the Park School of Buffalo.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 41 years, the former Martha Park, a granddaughter of Roswell Park. She died in 2001.

He is survived by a son, Peter, and two grandchildren.

A private service is planned.

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