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Dr. Boleslaw Boczek

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“It is with much grief that I learned that professor Boczek of Kent State University passed away last year. I was one of numerous Polish researchers...Read More »
1 of 2 | Posted by: Piotr Kobza - Warszawa - Student

“I had the very good fortune of being one of Dr. Boczek's students. He was my inspiration. I had hoped to visit him one last time this summer. He...Read More »
2 of 2 | Posted by: Michael Jacob - Bainbridge Island, WA

Dr. Boleslaw Adam Boczek, 96, passed away peacefully on April 16 at his home in Kent, Ohio, surrounded by his loving family. A retired Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Kent State University who taught there from 1966 to 1992, Dr. Boczek was a prominent international law and international relations expert who specialized in the law of the sea, and whose published PhD dissertation from Harvard University, "Flags of Convenience: an International Legal Study," remains the seminal work on international shipping law.

Dr. Boczek was born on March 29, 1922, in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, the son of Ludwig and Aniela (Kubielas) Boczek. Always an outstanding student and demanding learner, he excelled in school. Living in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II, however, temporarily delayed his higher education aspirations. After the war he was finally able to complete his studies there, earning several degrees at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, one of Europe's oldest institutions of learning, including a PhD in law, a Master of Arts in English and French, and a Diploma in political science. In the early 1950s, he served as Assistant Chair of the International Law faculty there and taught English, Russian, and economics at a private girls school in Krakow. In 1958, he was awarded a prestigious Ford Foundation scholarship to study in the United States. He entered Harvard University that year, studying international relations under Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, earning his PhD in 1960. In the following years, he served as an advisor to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and as a research assistant at the Harvard Law School International Legal Studies Institute. In 1966, Dr. Boczek accepted a position at Kent State University, where he taught until 1992, authored scores of academic articles and books, and spearheaded efforts to establish study abroad programs with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and Warsaw University in Poland. During that time, he received several Fulbright Fellowships and lived and taught abroad in Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Poland. He also served as an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Boleslaw had a lifelong passion for learning and inspired many students throughout his years of teaching. He was a true citizen of the world who instilled a love of travel in his children and expressed his concern for the direction of global affairs until his final days. Among his many intellectual pursuits, the study of languages was perhaps his greatest pleasure; he spoke seven languages fluently, many of them self-taught. He was an unabashed anglophile and an avid fan of professional tennis and British soccer. He fulfilled two life-long dreams when he was able to attend both Wimbledon and the Soccer World Cup. Boleslaw was also a gifted athlete and dogged competitor, learning tennis when he was in his fifties and going on to enjoy many years of spirited competition with friends and often his students. He passed his love of the game along to his three children, who will always retain fond memories of hitting the tennis ball around the Kent State courts with their father. Above all, Boleslaw was a survivor who lived through Nazi occupation and later Soviet rule of his native Poland, going on to build a successful second career in the United States and a lasting legacy through his loving family.

Dr. Boczek is survived by his devoted wife of 55 years, Annerose, his sons Matthew (Donna) of Charlottesville, VA, Andrew (Donna) of Mill Valley, CA, and daughter Barbara Kulesz (Javier) of Darien, CT, grandchildren Emma, Anneliese, Gabriela, Sophie, Aislyn, Liliana, Jacob, Ethan and Carina, sister-in-law Danuta Boczek of Gdynia, Poland, and many nieces and nephews, also of Gdynia, Poland. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Anatol and Adam. The family is planning a private memorial service for later in the summer. Donations can be made in Dr. Boczek's name to: International Rescue Committee, PO Box 6068, Albert Lea, MN 56007-9847 or online at