1947 - 2020
George Stephen Kovach, Jr., died in Cohasset, MA, April 12 of complications of pancreatic cancer. He was born October 5, 1947, in Stony Point, NY. As a child, he hiked, fished, and camped in the hills along the Hudson Valley beginning his lifelong love of the outdoors. He was the son of the late George Stephen, Sr., and Eileen (Phillips) Kovach, and the eldest of nine siblings. While attending Boston College part time as an undergraduate, he was drafted into the Army, served as a combat infantryman in Vietnam, and was awarded a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars for Valor. He returned home, married, completed his degree and had a 20-year career in the field of commercial real estate.
In 2000, he moved with his family to Budapest for two years where he discovered the roots of his Hungarian heritage. It was during this time that he endured the onset of complex PTSD. While working to overcome the debilitating symptoms of this condition, he returned to his love of literature and earned his MA and then MFA in creative writing at UMass Boston. During this time he launched Consequence Magazine, now in its twelfth year, a literary journal that focuses on the culture and consequences of war. He believed that a high standard of literature and the arts can advance the discourse a democracy needs to govern itself, and that the best writing and visual art, as well as translations of work from other countries that have known war, offer emotional as well as intellectual access to the experiences of victims, combatants, and witnesses. He worked continuously to advance the mission of the journal, publishing it annually, organizing panels, and leading writing groups for Veterans, all to promote a clearer and more nuanced understanding of what's at stake when a country chooses to wage war. A collection of his poems, THE LIGHT OUTSIDE was published in December 2019 by Arrowsmith Press.
He leaves behind his treasured family: his beloved wife of 48 years Joan (Stack) Kovach, his son Stephen and fiancee Karen Sikola, his son Peter and wife Melissa Quethia (Romain), his precious granddaughter Vivienne, and his son Jake, as well as all his favorite siblings: James, John, Stephen, Elisabeth (Betsy Clough), Tom, Anne, Michael, and Christopher Kovach; their spouses, his many nieces and nephews, his dear Aunts Teresa Kovach Kennedy and Doreen Phillips, many Kovach and Phillips cousins and Stack family in-laws as well. He will be remembered for his skill as an encouraging and rigorous editor, his discriminating good taste, his infrequently invoked but hilarious and dry sense of humor, his understated guidance and affection for his children, his generosity, his remarkable kindness, the protective love he had for his family, and the gentle grace with which he blessed the world. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Consequence Magazine, Box 323, Cohasset, MA 02025 or Consequencemagazine.org.
A memorial service is planned for late summer, or when large gatherings of people are once again permissable.
Published by New York Times from Apr. 16 to Apr. 17, 2020.