The Law School will honor Professor Kosek's memory and celebrate his life with a memorial service on Friday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m. in the Moot Courtroom.
Reynold Joseph Kosek, Jr.
1947 - 2012
Reynold Joseph Kosek, Jr., age 64, of Ormond Beach, Florida died on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at his home. He had waged a long and incredibly courageous battle against cancer. A memorial service for Reynold will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at the Haigh-Black Funeral Home, 167 Vining Ct., Ormond Beach, Florida 32176. The family will greet friends at the funeral home following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made for indigent patient care to Vitas Hospice, 2381 Mason Avenue, Suite 100, Daytona Beach, Florida 32117. Reynold and his family were very grateful for the excellent care provided to him by Vitas Hospice.
Reynold was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He was predeceased by his mother, Martha Hotstutler, and his father, Reynold Joseph Kosek, Sr. He is survived by his dearly beloved wife of almost twenty years, Janine Records Kosek of Ormond Beach; brothers Malcolm (BarBara) and Michael (JoAnn), all of Wilkes-Barre, PA; his dear cousin Dawn Mastrodonato (Ron) of The Villages at Lady Lake, FL; brother-in-law John Records (Glena) of Petaluma, CA; and nieces Sarah Kosek of Wilkes-Barre, PA, Elizabeth Records of Corvallis, OR, and Rosemary Records of Ft. Collins, CO.
Reynold received his college education at West Virginia University. Following his graduation in 1968 he served with honor as a first lieutenant in the United States Army. He then earned a Master's in Library Science (M.L.S.) at the State University of New York at Albany in 1971, followed by a law degree (J.D.) in 1975 at the University of North Carolina School of Law (which forty years ago and now has consistently been recognized as one of America's most respected law schools). He became a member of the state bars of California and Pennsylvania and followed his father (an attorney for the State of Pennsylvania) and his paternal grandfather (a mayor of Wilkes-Barre and a judge) into the legal profession.
Reynold began his career in the legal profession and legal education at the Law Center Library of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. At Southern California, Reynold served as the Head Public Services Librarian. In 1977, Professor Leah Chanin, at that time Director of the Law Library at Mercer University and one of the most dynamic figures in the history of the institution, hired Reynold to serve as the Reference Librarian at Mercer. For the next decade he served in progressively more responsible positions in the Law Library, including the role of Acting Director.
Early during Reynold's career at Mercer, Professor Chanin and others encouraged him to seek faculty status and increased responsibilities. Reynold followed exactly that course, and by 1987 he attained the rank of full Professor of Law. From his earliest days at Mercer, Reynold had taught a course in Legal Research and Writing. He also quickly assumed responsibility for a section of the Introduction to Law course that is taught to all entering first-year students for one week. During the course of his many years as a full-time faculty member with no library responsibilities, Reynold taught a range of courses, many of which are vital to the basic education of almost any attorney. These courses included Contracts, Sales, Remedies, Administrative Law, and the Mass Media Seminar.
Reynold's contributions to the Law School went far beyond the classroom. For many years he served as an outstanding advisor to various moot court teams. He was the president of the Brainerd Currie Honor Society for an extended period, and served a lengthy term on the Faculty Policy Committee. One of Reynold's greatest services to the Law School was his service as chairperson of the committee that drafted the Student Honor Code along with the fifteen years that he devoted to the absolutely vital--and equally thankless-tasks of serving as Faculty Magistrate and Honor Court Justice. His quiet and thoughtful advice, never offered unless requested, was of great assistance to Law School personnel in many difficult situations.
Reynold's contribution to the Mercer Law School cannot be understood, however, merely by references to courses taught and non-teaching responsibilities fulfilled. Reynold Kosek, quite simply, was a legendary figure at the Mercer Law School. Any first-year student on the first day of the first year entered Reynold's class with some combination of apprehension, awe, and even outright fear. Reynold demanded excellence in classroom performance and would settle for no less. Any student who was not fully prepared, well-organized, and ready to respond to any question would find himself or herself in a very uncomfortable situation. Yet by the time those students graduated they invariably viewed Reynold with great respect and, in many cases, deep affection. Those students knew that Reynold truly cared about them because they knew he had always insisted that his students offer their very best efforts.
For 28 consecutive years, until his retirement in 2010, Reynold was selected by graduating classes to be one of four hooders in the annual Senior Class Hooding Ceremony. On five different occasions, Reynold received the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award that is determined by the vote of each graduating class. When Reynold retired in 2010, the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award was given its final and permanent name: The Reynold J. Kosek, Jr. Excellence in Teaching Award. At the 2010 Law School graduation ceremony, Reynold was the first recipient of the newly-named award. As long as the Mercer Law School exists and holds a graduation ceremony, Reynold's name will be spoken from the podium each spring and a few thousand people will hear it.
Nothing could have been more indicative of the great esteem in which Reynold was held at Mercer than what happened when he completed his last class. The class gave him a wonderful tribute, and then Reynold opened the door of the classroom to see something that a person of his nature would never have anticipated. The first-floor hallway of the Law Building was lined on both sides by virtually every student, faculty member, and staff member of the Law School. Reynold walked down that hallway slowly and with great dignity while the crowd roared until he disappeared at the end of the hall. The students themselves organized that extraordinary display of respect, support, and affection.
One of Reynold's younger colleagues recently wrote that "Reynold was a teacher of special timbre . . . ." He certainly was that, but he also was something more. He was a man of honor in an era when honor is given short shrift by far too many people. He said little about the academic issues of the day, but when he did speak his words were delivered with courtesy and intellectual precision, and they left an echo of true wisdom. His life was a reminder that the traditional virtues of hard work, trustworthiness, and the fulfillment of professional and personal responsibilities mean as much-perhaps more-in this fast-paced, high-tech world as they ever have. Reynold Joseph Kosek, Jr. was a legend, and the legend lives.
Professor Reynold Kosek's Last Day of Class Parade, April 21, 2010