Roger Elliott Koontz
1940 - 2021
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Roger Elliott Koontz, May 21, 1940 - January 12, 2021 died peacefully in his sleep in Bloomfield, CT. Roger grew up in the farming area of central Illinois, in the small town of Fithian. His father was the principal of the consolidated high school, and the family lived on the school grounds. He and his brother went to the local one-room schoolhouse. In high school, football and basketball were mandatory activities, and Roger played both, but he also excelled academically, and was awarded a National Merit Scholarship. Choosing the nearby University of Illinois, he entered college with a major in physical chemistry. By the time he graduated, his interests had changed significantly. Inspired by John F. Kennedy's "Ask not ...," he decided chemistry was not the most useful thing he could do for his country. He went to Yale Law School because he thought it would lead to a more meaningful career. After graduation, his first position, in 1965, was with the New Haven Legal Assistance Association as an attorney in the Hill neighborhood. Several years later he became Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Services, which incorporated most of the previously existing programs in the state. As environmental issues began to attract attention in the late 1970s, Roger's interests shifted again, this time to the emerging field of environmental law. He joined the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation in 1980 as its Connecticut counsel. And in 1983 he and another legal services lawyer, David Silverstone, formed a partnership to practice environmental law in Hartford. When they dissolved the firm in 2001, Roger briefly joined Tyler Cooper & Alcorn. In 2002 he became the Connecticut representative for Environment Northeast (now the Acadia Center), retiring in 2010, and celebrated for his mentoring and expertise in sustainable energy policy. Golf was one of the passions of his life. He began playing in law school, and the Yale Course remained his home course for many years. He was also a talented woodworker, crafting furniture and even building a period- appropriate addition to his 1850s house in Chester, Connecticut. He was a lover of the arts, with a wide range of musical tastes and great admirer of professional dance, and of getting outside, hiking, canoeing, fishing, and bird watching. And he was an outstanding cook, notorious for his flourless chocolate torte and his baguettes. His family remembers him as being exceptional at everything he did -- but mostly as being incredibly kind and loving. He leaves his two daughters, Christina (Matthew) White, and Stephanie Koontz (Charlie Radoslovich), four grandchildren, Peter and Dan White and Ben and Ella Radoslovich; and his wife of forty-two years, Michelle Press. He was preceded in death by his brother Steve, sister Janet and parents, Wayne Koontz and Rebecca Elliott Koontz. A memorial service will be planned in the months ahead. Donations can be made in his memory to Doctors Without Borders or The Nature Conservancy. Online expressions of sympathy may be made at

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Published in Hartford Courant on Jan. 17, 2021.
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4 entries
January 18, 2021
With the greatest respect, I thank Roger Koontz for a lifetime of service on behalf of a better world. What a brilliant, kind and decent advocate he was, especially for clean energy and a sustainable planet. To his family, thank you for sharing Roger with us.
Mary Mushinsky
January 18, 2021
A wonderful, fun man. He was good friends of my parents, and my sister and me.
He was my father's golf buddy, and nearly missed the flight to St. Andrews Scotland from JFK because the limo was caught in traffic, and then he had to make a mad dash to the men's room, and the limo driver was pounced upon by HSA guys.... It took a few minutes to work out, but they made it to Scotland.... I think they spent more time in the pubs than on the links....
Douglas Noyes
January 17, 2021
I knew Roger when he used to lobby at the State Capitol and I worked at the Office of Legislative Research. I staffed the Energy Committee for OLR from late 1979 to 1985. Roger was a friend and a great advocate for energy conservation programs and low-income people. He was very highly regarded by all of us on the nonpartisan staff who worked with him.
Judith Lohman
January 16, 2021
Roger was a kind and genuine human being. He will be greatly missed.
Myra and Alan Aronow
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