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Floyd R. Horowitz

Obituary
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Floyd R. Horowitz

Floyd R. Horowitz

March 13, 1930 – August 9, 2014

Born in the Bronx, Floyd Horowitz spent his teen aged years in Long Beach, Long Island where he met Frances Degen. They married in 1953. Floyd earned his BA at Adelphi College, his MFA in creative writing at the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop, and his Ph.D. in English at the University of Iowa.

Floyd Horowitz, with his wife, Frances, and sons Jason and Benjamin, arrived in Lawrence in 1961, to take up his appointment at KU in the English Department. After thirty years in Lawrence and at KU, Floyd and Frances left Lawrence in 1991 New York City.

Floyd spent his professional life in the academy as teacher and adviser to countless students. Prior to joining the KU faculty, he taught for two years at Southern Oregon College. In New York, he joined the faculty of the English Department at Hunter College, retiring as full Professor from Hunter in 1996. A scholar of the writings of Henry James, of Mark Twain, Ralph Ellison, and others, he was an early pioneer in the use computers in the analysis of literary text, and was co-editor, in the late 1960s, of one of the first academic journals devoted to computational analysis in the humanities. While at KU, in the 1970s, he served a five year term as chair of KU's then Computer Science department, likely one of the few or only professor of English to chair a Computer Science department,

Floyd wrote fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and limericks. He hand printed some of his and other's writings for distribution to friends on a small press in the basement of Frances' and Floyd's home in Lawrence. That home, at 505 Ohio St., was a frequent site for hosting fellow faculty, students, and friends, for receptions for visiting musicians and speakers at KU, with Floyd usually preparing the food and refreshments to be served.

A member, with Frances and his family, of the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation, Floyd was also active in the Lawrence community, He sat on the board of the Ballard Center, was involved in the development of affordable housing, served as the head of the local ACLU chapter, and was vice chair of the Kansas ACLU chapter. During some of the most tumultuous and difficult times in Lawrence, in the 1960s and early 1970s, Floyd played a mediating role in the interest of encouraging dialogue and understanding, on occasion finding and helping to bring to Lawrence some professional mediators to address a particular issue.

Mid-life and self-taught, Floyd began to paint, to design and construct three dimensional pieces, copper enamel mobiles, and other artistic objects. His most public piece of work, a beautiful Aron Kodesh to hold Torah scrolls, which he designed and built, now graces one of the rooms for Jewish services at their New York City synagogue, Congregation Ansche Chesed.

Floyd was appreciated for his conscientious commitments in and out of the academy, for his always kind and thoughtful demeanor, for his fine wit, his prowess as a punster, and for his generous spirit. He was a sincere friend and mentor to many, and a husband and a father, par excellence.

Floyd Horowitz died on August 9th from complications of vascular dementia. He is now at peace.

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Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Aug. 24, 2014
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