Deceased July 31, 2018
Harold “Harry” Gotoff passed away July 31 in Cincinnati, leaving his wife of 48 years, Margot Jacobson Gotoff; children Leila (Josh) Stolberg and Daniel Robert (Lauren Burns) Gotoff; brother Dr. Samuel Gotoff; and four grandchildren.
Harry came to Amherst from the Bronx’s Horace Mann School. At Amherst, he pledged Phi Psi and played hockey (goalie) and lacrosse.
In 2006 Harry wrote for the 50th reunion yearbook, “Once I decided to forego an almost certain career as a professional hockey goalie, my actual career fell into place. I acquired a bunch of degrees—A.B. Classics, Cantab (Peterhouse—my personal favorite) and began my life as a professor of Greek and Latin.”
Harry taught at the University of Cincinnati from 1986 to 2010 as professor of Latin and of romance paleography. A distinguished scholar of Latin literature, he made lasting contributions to the understanding of the transmission of the text of Lucan and of the style of Cicero’s speeches in relation to their rhetorical effects.
“Amherst and Horace Mann shaped my life and sensibilities. I wish that the humanities, from classics to jazz, were still as central to education as they were in the ’40s and ’50s. Books and talk about books seem still to be the conduit for knowledge, along with solitude, the requisite for absorbing and processing knowledge. On advice? Take it rarely and never give it—except this once.”
Harry, we will miss you, a true Amherst man who learned how to think and write.
Peter Levison ’56