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Joseph Zasloff

1925 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Joseph Zasloff Obituary
Joseph J. Zasloff

1925 - 2014 WILLIAMSTOWN Joe Zasloff, husband, father, grandfather, professor emeritus of political science, and expert on the politics of Southeast Asia, died on Dec 17. The cause was brain hemorrhaging following a fall. He would have turned 90 in February and had Parkinson's disease. Up until the end of his life, he retained all of his intellectual faculties and his generosity, empathy, and engagement in the world and in the lives of his family and friends. His family and the world have lost a great man. Joe was born in 1925 in Pittsburgh, PA. His parents, Harry Zasloff and Anna Shuset Zasloff, were Jewish immigrants from Ukraine and Bessarabia. When he was 18 he was drafted, and served as a radio operator in General Patton's Army in World War II. He was wounded in Alsace, France, when, cut off from his unit, he escaped German tanks by running into a cellar and then a barn, where he hid for three days until, as he wrote, he "slithered past a parked tank and hobbled several miles to reach our rear echelon."Joe was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster for bravery. Joe described his army service as opening the horizons of his world and inspiring his lifelong involvement in international affairs. Under the GI bill, he earned a BA/MA in political science at the University of Pittsburgh, then went on to earn a PhD at the Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva. His interest in Southeast Asia began in 1959, when he was given a teaching assignment at the University of Saigon. He would go on to become a leading researcher in the politics of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, publishing seven books. Up until the age of 39, Joe described himself as a "lonely bachelor." He met his wife, Tela, on a blind date, and after three dates, they were engaged to be married. Together, they raised four children: Anne, Eva, Beth and Karen, and became grandparents to eight. This past spring they celebrated 50 years of marriage. After Joe retired from 49 years at the University of Pittsburgh, Joe and Tela moved to Williamstown, where the family had always spent the summers, together with Joe's oldest friend and colleague, Mac Brown. Joe loved playing tennis, skiing, and having dinner conversations with a close circle of friends. He and Tela enlarged their house to make room for their growing extended family. He will live on in all his acts of generosity and in the hearts of all who loved him. FUNERAL NOTICE: The funeral for Joseph Zasloff will be Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 at 1 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 53 Lois St. North Adams, MA. Burial will be private. The family will receive friends on Friday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the family home at 33 McCauley Lane in Williamstown.


Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Dec. 18, 2014
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