William Boris Kory, loving husband, father, grandfather, brother-in-law, uncle, professor, coach, mentor, neighbor, and friend, passed away peacefully in Venice, Florida on April 2, 2022. He was the son of Nikolai and Evdokia Ermakov. He is survived by his wife of over fifty years, Mary Ann Kory; his son, Stephan N. Kory (53); his daughter, Larissa A. Kory (51); son-in-law Trent Blevins (57); daughter-in-law Mikiko K. Kory (49); five grandchildren, Jackson T. Blevins (28), Jerrod K. Blevins (26), Owen N. Blevins (16), Sasha K. Kory (13), and Ivan A. Kory (11), and other family members in Cleveland, Columbus, Gainesville, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia.
Bill Kory was born in Kharkov and raised Russian. He lost his father to the Russo-Finish War in 1939. His mother, Evdokia Korilkov, was an aspiring opera singer who was training at an academy when what is now eastern Ukraine was hit by the Blitzkrieg. She rushed home to retrieve her son, but they were captured by the Germans. They were placed in a prison camp outside of Munich for the duration of WW II. After liberation, they did not have the choice to go back to Stalinist Russia, so they were faced with a choice: stay in West Germany or go to America. They saw hope and chose the latter. Bill’s mother remarried a kind and hard-working man by the name of Nikolai Ermakov. They travelled past the Statue of Liberty and through Ellis Island, finally settling in Buffalo, NY. Nikolai and Eva worked hard, bought a house, sent Bill to school, and were supremely proud parents.
Bill excelled at math, enjoyed Elvis and Chuck Berry, and played football. He worked his way through college, and just before earning his degree in mathematics from SUNY Buffalo, he volunteered for the newly established Peace Corps (as a member of the second group sent by Kennedy). He was stationed in Liberia for two years (1963-1965), where he taught junior high mathematics in Kakata, coached soccer, and started a choir. Bill returned to the US in 1965, received his BA degree from SUNY (1966), and changed his surname from Korilkov to Kory. He received an MA degree at Case Western Reserve in 1969, and it was around this time that he met the love of his life, who was also pursuing an MA degree while teaching. They married, had a son in Cleveland, and moved to Pittsburgh so that Bill could pursue a PhD degree in Geography at Pitt. It was there that they had their second child, a daughter. Bill finished up his coursework and accepted a teaching position at UPJ in 1971. He received his PhD in 1977. What was supposed to be a temporary stop on the way to somewhere else turned into a 50-year life in—and love of—Johnstown, where he raised a family and consistently contributed to the community.
Dr. Kory helped establish the Geography Department at UPJ and taught a wide range of geography courses there for almost fifty years. He coached the St. Clement Church grade school football team from 1983-1988 (42-8 record) and was head coach of the Bishop McCort high school freshmen football from 1989-2012 (163-32-3 record). He also served as a Southmont Borough councilman, as an executive editor of the Pennsylvania Geographer, as a member of the Bishop McCort Board of Education, and as Co-Chair of the Small Business Startup Committee that won a Governor’s Award for Excellence in 2021. Bill Kory lived an interesting and bright life. He thought globally and acted locally. He loved, remains loved, and will be missed.
Family and friends will be received on Thursday, April 28, 2022, from 5-8 PM at the Frank Duca Funeral Home, Westmont Chapel, 1622 Menoher Blvd. Johnstown PA 15905. Friends and family will gather for a Memorial Mass at St. Clement Catholic Church, Friday at 11:00 AM. Fr. William Rosenbaum. Private entombment for the family at Grandview Mausoleum.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bishop McCort High School, 25 Osborne Street, Johnstown PA 15905, or to UPJ, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Johnstown PA 15904 in memory of Dr. Kory.
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