Born in Czechoslovakia in 1929, John was educated in America, his Czech father having retired here. He graduated from Lake Placid (N.Y.) High School. At Princeton he roomed in Pyne Hall all four years, was on freshman crew and the varsity fencing team, belonged to Whig-Clio, and worked in the University Library. He majored in SPIA and graduated with highest honors. We never knew about his Phi Beta Kappa key until he mentioned it in our 10th-reunion book!
After Princeton John became a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a Ph.D. in Romance languages in 1956. He began his teaching career there and eventually became a full professor in the Spanish department. His specialty was Spanish literature of the 18th century, and he also chaired Berkeley’s Madrid Study Center. After his retirement he often worked as a translator of modern Spanish literature.
He is survived by his wife, Beverley Hastings Polt, and children Richard, Elizabeth, and Anne.
Our contact with John was mostly limited to brief notices in our 10-, 25-, and 50-year directories, but we applaud his successful career in academe.