Edith M. A. Kovach, Ph.D.

  • Born: March 29, 1921
  • Died: July 1, 2009
  • Location: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors

2600 Crooks Road
Troy, MI 48084

Tel. (248) 362-2500

Tribute & Message From The Family

EDITH M. A. KOVACH, Ph.D.AWARD-WINNING TEACHER at MUMFORD HIGH, and U of D MERCYDr. Kovach, age 88, died on Wednesday, July 1, 2009, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She was born on March 29, 1921, in New York City, New York, to Eugene J. and Hortense M. Kovach, but lived most of her life in Detroit. She had been a resident of Bloomfield Hills currently and was a former resident of the Boston-Edison historical district in Detroit.Dr. Kovach graduated from Central High School, and earned a B.A. and M.A. in Latin and foreign language education respectively at Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. in classical studies and Latin from the University of Michigan.She taught languages and math in the Detroit Public Schools for nearly 21 years, chairing the foreign language department at Mumford High. In 1965 she joined the faculty at the University of Detroit where she taught another 21 years, and served as chairperson of the Classical Studies Department. She taught Greek and Latin, and was fluent in Spanish and German.Dr. Kovach received U of D's sixth annual President's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984. She was nationally recognized for developing methods to teach Latin and Greek at both the high school and college levels. She developed drill tapes and tests for Macmillan & Co. to accompany Latin textbooks. She also taught thousands of teachers both in the classroom and at summer workshops and seminars throughout the country. At U of D, she expanded her academic horizons to teach a very popular class, "Word Power", which reconditioned students to the English language by teaching them word origins, syntax, vocabulary, and how to use a dictionary. She helped to write the National Latin exam.Dr. Kovach's first love in teaching remained classical studies. She said, "There's nothing more relevant and meaningful to Western civilization than classical studies. Its continuity and importance to Western civilization is inescapable. It is reflected in our language, art, literature and psychology."Dr. Kovach also urged the University to offer a computer literacy class, but continued to believe that language literacy should precede computer literacy.In addition to her academic accomplishments, Dr. Kovach served on the National Humanities Faculty funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was instrumental in starting both the Detroit Classical Association and Michigan Classical Conference. She also served as a consultant to the U.S. Office of Education, the Chicago Public Schools, the Campus Advisory Board of the American Philological Association, and the University of Michigan Press; and she served on the Foreign Language Curriculum Committee for the State of Michigan.Dr. Kovach had received at least three fellowships from the University of Michigan, including one that allowed her to study at the American Academy in Rome.Surviving Brother: Eugene George KovachNieces/Nephews: George, Mary Edith, Katherine, Christine, and PeterGreat-nieces/nephews: Christopher, Kristin, Kevin, Annelise, Stephen, Scott, and ThomasVisitation: Monday, July 6, 2009, from 3-8 PM at A. J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home, 2600 Crooks Road, Troy, MI 48084 (between Maple and Big Beaver Roads), with an evening Scripture Service at 7 PMFuneral Mass: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - 10:00 AM at St. Hugo of the Hills Stone Chapel, 2215 Opdyke Road, Bloomfield Hills. Visitation at church begins Tuesday at 9:30 AM.Interment: St. Thomas Catholic Cemetery, in Ann Arbor, MichiganIn lieu of flowers, Memorial Tributes may be made to: Detroit Public Library, 5201 Wooodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202-or-Sacred Heart Major Seminary, 2701 W. Chicago Blvd., Detroit, MI 48206


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Condolence & Memory Journal

If you ever had a teacher who was inspiring, incredibly patient, life changing and directly helped you to master your most difficult subject, for me, that is my rememberance of Dr. Kovach. At the request of mutual friend, she accepted me as a tutoring student of Latin when I attended Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the late 80's. She coached me over a great hurdle in a critical time in my life and I remain forever greatful. Amicus aeternum!

Posted by Shane Madigan - Dallas, TX - Student   June 06, 2015

I was lucky to have Doc Kovach as my Latin teacher at Central High School. She remained an inspiration throughout my life.

Posted by Ilse Lowy Nusbaum - Los Angeles, CA - student at Central High   August 17, 2011

edith was my latin professor at u of d...she more than anyone else taught me not how to learn but how to think and revel in the joy that process can bring..for that she will always be remembered fondly as a wonderful teacher and more importantly a friend in that quest...pax tibi...amo te...john urbanik

Posted by john urbanik    July 27, 2011

Dr. Kovach was my Latin teacher at Mumford HS for two years. Her approach was one I had never encountered before and I was delighted to experience it. We learned something every day and often didn't realize we had. When I remember favorite teachers, she is always on the list.

Posted by Heidi LeBron Ross - Raleigh, NC - former student   January 14, 2010

I'm sorry for the delay in this message but I only just learned that Edith had died.

My parents, Mary and Jerry Bernard, met Edith through our relatives Ella Mulhall and Loretta Mulhall Hammer who considered Edith a very dear friend. Even after Ella and Loretta had passed on, we were lucky enough to stay in contact with Edith and visited her when in Michigan. We also really enjoyed her Christmas newsletter - the only one we received that had news highlighted with latin phrases! She was an interesting and inspirational woman and will be missed.

Posted by Mary Ellen Bernard - Windsor - Relative of Old Friend   January 10, 2010

Edith was a special lady - we knew her as our church pew neighbor at St. Hugo, and she always had a warm smile and words of encouragement for me, my husband and our children. We will dearly miss her!

Posted by The Reider Family - Birmingham, MI   July 13, 2009

I can;t help responding to such wonderful tributes to my sister Edith. Those of you who were at the services will agree that they were not mournful, but a glorious tribute to a full and loving life. As the current patriarch, I speak for all my children and theirs to thank you for your kind and comforting words.

Posted by Eugene George Kovach - Anacortes, WA   July 11, 2009

I first met Dr. Kovach when I was a freshman at U.of D. in 1968. She was an inspiration, mentor, and teacher. I consider myself lucky to have had her as a part of my life.

Posted by Alison Gravlin    July 08, 2009

Sincere condolences to Dr. Kovach's family and friends. Dr. Kovach was a very special person: a dedicated teacher and scholar with an infectious love of learning and a twinkle in her eye. She was generous, patient, kind, and wise. She will be greatly missed, but be assured that the spark she helped enkindle in so many students and teachers lives on.

Posted by Jim Butler (U-D '85) - Arlington, VA   July 07, 2009

Edith was a regular patron at the Bloomfield Township Public Library, and when I first met her, we joked about whether or not I had a better classical education at Cass Tech, rather than at Mumford, which would have been my neighborhood high school. I was always astounded how she continued, even into her 80's, to be an active teacher and intellectual, tutoring foreign students and constantly making new friends of all ages. Even in her last years, when she needed to use the scooter to get around, I looked foward to her visits, knowing she would ask me about literature and for suggested books to read, and knowing that I could share my most esoteric find with her. She was a remarkable example of a woman who never "retired" from her true vocation, that of educating and sharing a cultural history with literally thousands of students.

Posted by Connie Silver - Bloomfield Township, MI   July 06, 2009

Dear George and Family - It was such a gift to be able to help Edith these last four months. She enriched my life greatly and I will never forget her. She had such a love of life, determination and curiosity. I hope just some of all of her rubbed off on me! She was very appreciative and we never said goodbye without a hug and kiss. She was a great friend to me and I will miss her terribly. May many wonderful memories sustain each of you now. With deepest sympathy and love, Vicki Steele

Posted by Vicki Steele - MI   July 06, 2009

To Edith's Family,Edith was such a special person. She touched so many lives in many ways, and will be remembered fondly as a wonderful teacher and friend. Our prayers and sympathy to all of the family.

Posted by Carlene & Rob VanVoorhies - Bloomfield Hills, MI   July 05, 2009

I graduated from the University of Detroit in 1980. I remember Dr. Kovach as a very scholarly, yet kind and caring instructor.May God bless her and her loved ones at this difficult time.

Posted by Jeannine Lorenger - Bay City, MI   July 05, 2009

Dear Family Members,In the late 1970s, Dr. Kovach and her mother would host an annual gathering of the seminarians at their home on Edison. It was something to which we always looked forward. She was a gracious, intelligent woman. I think of her often as I drive by the house on Edison.God bless,Father Dan Trapp

Posted by Fr. Dan Trapp - Detroit, MI   July 05, 2009

Dr. Kovach was my teacher at Mumford. I became a Latin teacher, too, and although I made more use of my English major in the Detroit Public Schools, Latin remained my first love. I will always remember Dr. Kovach.

Posted by Lynne Konstant - Hunington Woods, MI   July 05, 2009

Condolences to her family and close friends. Dr. Kovach was my Latin teacher, sponsor of the Latin Club at Central H.S. in the 1950s. She was inspirational, a warm and talented teacher, and a strong role model for young women. Because of her I went to college, the first in my immediate family to do so. A college education changed my life in so many ways. I married an educated man who had a long career teaching high school science in Detroit. After raising four children, I returned to get my masters and have had a satisfying career as a social worker and marriage & family therapist. Dr. Kovach's effect on my life was profound, although I don't know that she knew. Her students were fortunate to have known her.

Posted by Dotty Decker - Livonia, MI   July 05, 2009

I learned a great deal from Edith over the years. Her ideas and comments were a great help to me in teaching, as well as in guiding the Michigan Classical Conference and the Detroit Classical Association. She was an inspiration to me personally and professionally. In Pace Aeterna Requiescat.Nick YoungPresident DCAformer President MCC

Posted by Nicholas Young - Detroit, MI   July 04, 2009

I never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Kovach; but as a new teacher nearly 40 years ago, I benefitted greatly from her publications. She was a true legend in the world of classical studies.

Posted by Penny Cipolone - Woodbury Hts., NJ   July 04, 2009

It is the end of an era. Ms. Kovach was a friend of my mother and very gracious to me, then a recent classical studies grad, when Mom died some sixteen years ago. I grieve with her friends and her family, and hope her spirit rests well.

Posted by Heather J. Gruenberg - Traverse City, MI   July 04, 2009

Aunt Edith was a dear adopted member to the Wolynski family. Her best friend, Margaret (Peggy) Wolynski, was my mother-in-law. My first thought when I heard of her death, is that she is in heaven joyfully telling Peggy about all the latest developments in the family. She was witty and caring to the end. We loved her. Rest in peace.

Posted by Angla Wolynski - Huntington Woods, MI   July 04, 2009

Edith was a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. Since moving to NJ 12 years ago we have missed her. She involved me in the Detroit Classical Assoication in the early '70's, and opened me to a circle of great friends. She will be missed.

Posted by Andrew M. Garlick - Wyckoff, NJ   July 04, 2009

I share your sorrow. My sister passed away a short time ago. My memories of your family are loving and sweet and funny and dear to me. I hope to see you Tuesday.

Posted by Evelynne Moore Girard Dewey - Dearborn, MI   July 03, 2009

DR.KOVACH WAS ONE OF MY MENTORS I LOOKED UP TO WHILE ATTENDING CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL BACK IN 1953&1954. I LATER TAUGHT HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN OAK PARK FOR 50 YEARS. SHE WAS ONE OF THE BEST TEACHERS AND HUMAN BEINGS I HAVE EVER KNOWN. MY SINCERE ,HEARTFELT SYMPATHY TO THE ENTIRE FAMILY. A FORMER STUDENT -BOB LICHTMAN

Posted by BOB & RITA LICHTMAN - FARMINGTON HILLS, MI   July 03, 2009

I have very fond memories of Dr. Kovach's Latin and Word Power classes at U of D during the early eighties. Her enthusiasm for teaching, coupled with her colorful personality made being her student a truly memorable expereince.My deepest condolences for your loss.

Posted by Paul Vachon - Oak Park, MI   July 03, 2009

Over 50 years ago I attended Post Intermediate School and Mumford High School and took two years of Latin. I loved the language and my teacher.Dr. Kovach taught us Latin and its relationship to English. I shall always remember how good, kind, and caring she was.I am sorry for your grief and I wanted to tell you of the positive effect she had on my education.Gary Rosenblatt DDSMumford HS 1956

Posted by Gary Rosenblatt - West Bloomfield, MI   July 03, 2009

Edith was always such an interesting guest at the Donnelly family Thangsgiving celebrations. We always enjoyed visiting with her on those occasions. She was well respected and will be missed.

Posted by Rich and Cindy Deane - Northport, MI   July 03, 2009