Gerald E Kuroghlian Ph.D. of Fairfield passed away on Nov. 17, 2021.
The life of Gerald (Jerry) Kuroghlian traveled the roads of learning and teaching. Born in Bridgeport on April 15, 1945, to his first educators, Stephen and Eva Shankman Kuroghlian, Jerry was introduced to a world of reading and educational travel. Weekly family Sunday trips to his grandmother in New York City were followed by visits to museums, zoos, Central Park and church concerts. Jerry was mentally nurtured by excellent teachers at The McKinley School and Andrew Warde High School. Jerry continued his love of learning at the University of Virginia, where he received his B.A. in English. His favorite memory at Virginia was to watch the sun rise while sitting on the roof of the Rotunda. He earned an M.A. in American Studies from Fairfield University and his Ph.D. in Curricular Studies from the University of Illinois. Dr. K, as he was known by his adoring students, relished the 43 years he taught at Staples High School, as a member of a stellar staff. He loved the classroom that contained programs from the hundreds of plays he attended with his classes and the students who daily enriched and confirmed his vocation. In 2004, Kuroughlian was named the Westport Teacher of the Year and in 2005 was the runner-up as Connecticut Teacher of the Year. Upon retiring in 2009, Jerry taught English as a Second Language to the hard-working women of the Mercy Learning Center and served as a college counselor and writing coach at Kolbe Cathedral High School, where 100 percent of the senior class annually went on to higher education. He gained knowledge from those he taught. Dr. K also supervised student teachers receiving a Master’s in English Education from Sacred Heart University. After teaching Homer’s The Odyssey for four decades, his retirement trip following the path of Odysseus was the penultimate voyage of his life. Dr. K was active in professional organizations as a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Delta Kappa, from which he received the 1991 Educator of the Year award.
He was the president of the Connecticut Council of Teachers of English as well as Exhibit Chair of the New England Council of Teachers of English, which honored him with the Charles Swain Thomas award. Kuroghlian served as the New England representative of the National Council of Teachers of English as Chair of the 50 States Affiliates of NCTE. Dr. K also served as the NCTE’s Resolutions Chair for over 20 years. He was secretary, treasurer, and vice president of the Westport Education Association. The Sportsmen of Westport honored him with the 2006 Citizenship Award for his work with the Westport youth. Dr. Kuroghlian served on several committees for Fairfield education, including the building committee for Andrew Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe high schools. He and his wife were solid supporters of Fairfield public schools. As an active member of First Church Congregational, Dr. Kuroghlian participated willingly on the outreach and annual book sale activities of the church. Jerry’s sister Shelley, two years his junior, served as a lifelong mentor, supporter and critic. The true love and joy of his life, whom he married in 1978 after a 10-year courtship, was his wife, Ellen Rea Green, whose love transcends death. They shared a passion for music, theater, travel, and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where they resided each summer.
Jerry is survived by his wife Ellen, sister Shelley and nephew Kent Green of Boulder, CO, as well as many Kuroghlian and Shankman cousins and their families. “Uncle Jerry” will be remembered by the children of his life; longtime friends, now deceased, John and Jim Lehaney; niece Erin (Bryan) Lehaney Myers and “nephews” Jim and Christopher (Amy) Lehaney; “niece” Michelle (Sabri) Khessibi; and “nephew” John Lehaney, as well as many grand nephews and nieces. He also leaves a legacy of thousands of students whom he loved for their willingness to learn and make a better world. As Geoffrey Chaucer noted, “Gladly did he learn and gladly teach.”
Calling hours will be held from 4-8 p.m. Friday at Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, in Fairfield Center and a Memorial Service will take place at First Church Congregational, 148 Beach Road, Fairfield, on Saturday at 2 p.m (Face masks are required for church service).
Contributions can be made to the newly established Dr. K Humanitarian Award via the Staples Tuition Grants program (https://staplestuitiongrants.org/awards/) (https://www.mercylearningcenter.org/give-now/) and to the Mercy Learning Center of Bridgeport.
For travel directions or to sign his guest register, please visit www.LeskoPolkeFuneralHome.com