George W. Pitcher (1925 - 2018)

  • "dearest george, it is about time i wrote to you. i would..."
    - dr mychael gleeson
  • "dearest george, i fell in love with you..."
    - dr mychael gleeson
  • "I learned of George Pitcher by fortuitously coming upon his..."
    - Mike Ellingsworth
  • "Uncle George was my uncle. I am his brother's son. Uncle..."

1925 - 2018
George W. Pitcher, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Princeton University, died peacefully at his home in Princeton on January 12 at the age of ninety-two. He was the author of The Philosophy of Wittgenstein, Berkeley, and A Theory of Perception, as well as the memoir The Dogs Who Came to Stay.

Pitcher was born in West Orange, New Jersey on May 19, 1925, the second son of Edward and Helen Pitcher. Upon graduation from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1947, he was commissioned as a lieutenant and served three years active duty on ships in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. He then turned his attention to philosophy, and enrolled as a graduate student at Harvard University. After being recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict, he returned to Harvard in 1953, where he completed his Ph.D. He subsequently studied under J. L. Austin at Magdalen College, Oxford University, where he began a lifelong friendship with the actor John Gielgud. He joined the faculty of the Department of Philosophy at Princeton University in 1956, where he taught until his retirement in 1981.

Shortly after his move to Princeton, Pitcher made the acquaintance of the composer and music scholar Edward T. Cone, who became his life companion for almost fifty years, until his death in 2004. The two shared a love of classical music, opera, art, travel, and their dogs Lupa, Remus, Cinder, Beata, and Carla. They often opened their house to friends for dinner parties, "given with flourish," as noted in an article about their lives together in the Trenton Times. Pitcher served from 1992 until his death as a trustee of the Edward T. Cone Foundation, a major benefactor of numerous cultural and educational institutions, including Princeton University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Princeton Symphony, the D & R Greenway, and the Princeton Festival.

An accomplished pianist, as well as an avid tennis and bridge player, Pitcher was a treasured friend and mentor. In the last decade of his life he gathered around him a circle of friends known as "The Gang," comprised of graduate students and notable intellectuals. He hosted them weekly for dinner and conversation.

A memorial service in the Princeton University Chapel will take place at 10:00 a.m. on April 21. Burial in Greensboro, North Carolina, will be private. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.
Published on from Jan. 17 to Jan. 18, 2018
bullet Harvard bullet Korean War bullet Princeton University