David Israel Kopf
Kopf, David Israel 93, late of Seattle, Washington, died on April 8, 2023. David Kopf was Professor Emeritus of history, son of Polish Orthodox Jewish immigrants, rebel, world traveler and art enthusiast. He did not learn English until he started Kindergarten and was the first in his family to attend university. During his full and accomplished life, David became multilingual (Sanskrit, German, Yiddish and English), a member of Army Intelligence linguistics in Nuremberg, Germany, a PhD in comparative and South Asian History, Assistant Professor of history, U. Missouri, Columbia and Professor of history, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. David was born to Ida Fishman and Morris Kopf of Paterson, New Jersey on March 12, 1930. Considered a black sheep in his family, David's intellectual curiosity and creative passion drove him to be the first in his family to attend college (NYU) and earn a PhD (University of Chicago). He was a decorated scholar winning a Ford Foundation Grant, Guggenheim Fellowship and the Watmull Prize. David lived and wrote in Calcutta, India for extended periods during his life. His first prize-winning book, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, was completed in 1969. Along with books on modernization of India, editing and contributing to comparative studies of South Asian civilization, David also wrote The Brahmo Samaj and the Shaping of the Modern Indian Mind, and The Holocaust and Strategic Bombing: Genocide and Total War in the Twentieth Century. He published numerous research papers and was a visiting lecturer at many universities around the world during his long tenure as a Professor at the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the Association Asian Studies (south Asia editor of newsletter, 1965-1968), American Institute Indian Studies (trustee 1972-1975), International Society Comparative Studies of Civilizations (executive council 1980-1986, 1st vice president 1992). An essential writer and intellectual to the end, David kept a daily journal for seventy-five years and published half a dozen books of poetry and three novels. He loved Minneapolis and enjoyed the many trails, parks and cultural opportunities with his many friends there. David is survived by his loving children Sarah Ellis Kopf (Gavin Patterson), Walter Seymour Franklin Kopf (Julie Silverman) and grandchildren Amelia Kopf, Callum Kopf-Patterson, Madeleine Kopf-Patterson, and Russell Kopf. David was predeceased by his ex-wife Mary Alice Kopf, brother Seymour, and his parents Ida and Morris. Sarah and Walter will host a Zoom celebration of life. Please reach out to Sarah or Walter if you would like a link to participate in this event firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . If you'd like to make a donation in David's honor, please consider giving to World Wildlife Fund, The Sierra Club, National Park Foundation, Planned Parenthood.
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