The campus community mourns the passing of William “Bill” Holzberger, 85, who died on Wednesday, October 25. Bill joined the Bucknell Faculty in 1969 and after teaching for 28 years, retired as Professor Emeritus of English in 1997. Bill’s wife, Annegret ’92, and his son and daughter-in-law, Stefan and Jennifer Holzberger ’93, are Bucknell alumni. His grandson, Ethan, is a member of the Class of 2020.
Included below is the complete text of the obituary, as provided by the family.
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On behalf of our entire University community, I extend our deepest sympathies to Bill’s family, as well as to all who knew him at Bucknell.
John C. Bravman
William G. “Bill” Holzberger, 85, of Lewisburg, passed away Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at the Evangelical Community Hospital, Lewisburg.
He was born January 6, 1932 in Chicago, IL, the son of the late William A. and Frances (Ward) Holzberger. On April 24, 1965, he married the former Annegret Meseke, of Bremen, Germany, who survives. Together they celebrated 52 years of marriage.
After earning a Master’s degree in philosophy and a second one in English, Professor Holzberger received his Ph.D. in English in 1969 from Northwestern University. He taught in Chicago high schools while pursuing his graduate studies and came to Bucknell University’s English Department in 1969, where he taught American Literature for nearly three decades. As a specialist on the works of the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana, Bill was the editor of The Complete Poems of George Santayana: A Critical Edition as well as textual editor of The Works of George Santayana. In addition, he edited two volumes of the Letters of George Santayana for which he received the Morton N. Cohen Award from the Modern Language Association. Other awards were accorded to Bill from the American Philosophical Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Bill published many articles in distinguished literary journals and remained an active emeritus scholar after his retirement.
Travels abroad, including a sabbatical at Oxford, enriched Bill’s life. But one of his greatest joys was classical music; opera, about which he had thorough knowledge, was his favorite art form. He knew most operas word for word and note for note, and also had a keen ear for identifying singers’ voices. Attending live opera performances with his wife at the Met in New York City and in other great opera houses was always a high point in his life. With a fine baritone voice, Bill loved to sing and was a founding member of the former Lewisburg Opera Ensemble.
Surviving, in addition to his wife, are one son and daughter-in-law, Stefan and Jennifer Holzberger, of Mendham, NJ; one daughter, Rebecca Holzberger, of Lewisburg; two grandchildren, Ethan and Amy Holzberger, of Mendham, NJ; one nephew, Kenneth McIlvoy and his family, of VA and one niece, Kathy Krausse and her family, of Mechanicsburg.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by two sisters, Mary “Edna” Schar and Peggy McIlvoy.
Services will be held privately at the convenience of the family.
The family is being assisted by the Cronrath-Grenoble Funeral Home, South Second and St. Louis Streets, Lewisburg.