Walter Joseph Bock

Tenafly – Walter Joseph Bock passed away peacefully on January 27, 2022. He was born in Woodhaven Queens, New York on November 20, 1933. He resided in Tenafly, NJ for over 55 years. He is predeceased by his parents, Paul and Rose Bock, his brother Paul and his wife Katharine Lippitt Bock. Walter is survived by his sisters Helen Stahl and Elizabeth Wong, his children Katie and Angelo Rosa, Susie R. Bock and Rachel and David Bock. And his grandchildren Katharine (Kaitlin) Rosa, Corey Lacoppola, Daniel Rosa, Adam Bock and Walter Jonah Bock. Walter made sure there were funds so that all of his children and grandchildren could attend college. Walter has dedicated his life to research and teaching. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1951. He then received his BS from Cornell University in 1955, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1957 and 1959. His supervisor was Ernst Mayr , and they remained close for the rest of their careers and lives. Walter then taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before beginning a fifty-year career as a professor at Columbia University in the Department of Biological Sciences, retiring in 2016. The courses qu What he taught at Columbia included comparative morphology, evolution, and the history and philosophy of science. Walter was also a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and compiled the Museum’s definitive list of birds of the world. His research was in the area of ​​evolutionary biology, regarding the structure and function of the feeding apparatus of birds and the origin of flight. He has published hundreds of papers and been an active member of several international scientific societies, eventually traveling to 6 continents. He was permanent secretary and then president of the International Congress of Ornithology. Appreciation and conservation of the natural world were passions for Walter. He enjoyed camping, hiking and canoeing with his family and held leadership positions at the Tenafly Nature Center and the Palisades Nature Association. He has supported many environmental causes over the years. There will be a private celebration of Walter’s life with his friends and family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Walter Bock’s name to the International Union of Ornithologists. Walter believed that scientists from all countries should be able to come together and exchange ideas. The money will help scientists around the world travel to conferences and research projects. Donations can be made at Please also email [email protected] and mention that your donation is in honor of Walter Bock.

Posted on January 29, 2022

Posted in Record and Herald News


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