Published: Jan 27, 2013 12:02 AM
Modified: Jan 27, 2013 12:02 AM
Robert S. Metzger PhD., 87, died Tuesday, January 15th at UNC Hospital with his family by his side. Dr. Metzger was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at North Carolina State University where he taught for 30 years.
Bob was born in the Bronx, New York, September 16, 1925, son of Ed and Beatrice Metzger. Upon graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1943, he saw service in Europe at the Battle of the Bulge and the Crossing of the Rhine. He was then transferred to the Philippines where he wrote for the Army newspaper, the Daily Pacifican.
After the war he returned and earned his BA at the University of Wisconsin. Bob then spent a year reading Comparative Literature at the Sorbonne, before taking his MA at Columbia University In 1949.
In 1951, he joined the CIA as a research analyst and was posted to Cyprus for two years.
In 1958, he completed his PhD in Philosophy from Columbia University. Soon after he moved to NC where he reconnected with a CIA colleague, Eva, and they married in 1969. For 30 years he taught philosophy at NCSU, having helped form the department’s core in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. Bob was responsible for teaching the logic courses, the philosophy of science course (his special interest was in philosophy of physics and the role of symmetry in constraining theories), and history of philosophy courses ranging from Descartes to Kant. Equally important to his colleagues and students was Bob’s casual cosmopolitanism. This was evident in his offhand, yet thorough, knowledge of literature, world history, French food and the corpus of works for his beloved cello.
Bob was also a political activist. He worked closely with his colleague and future congressman Al Lowenstein on anti-war and civil rights issues. He spoke at campus demonstrations, organized marches to Washington and once debated conservative senator Jesse Helms on public television.
After retirement in 1988, Bob pursued his interests in writing, music and travel. In 1996, his first novel, “A Master of the Century Past,” was published. He and his wife, Eva, after living in Chapel Hill for more than 30 years, moved to Carol Woods retirement community in 2002 where he founded the film collection in the Carol Woods library. He played the cello in the Village Orchestra of Chapel Hill, was a keen promoter of classical music in the area and organized the Wednesday night chamber music series at Carol Woods.
He is survived by his wife, Eva Metzger, his children: Geoffrey Metzger and wife, Susanne; Alison Shapiro and husband, Jody; Tory Metzger and husband, Kyle Milsap; Mike Millard and wife, Mary; Meg Millard and partner, Randy Emmitt; Kate Millard; and ten grandchildren: Lucy Shapiro, Jonathan Millard, Sharna Tolfree, Marya Millard, Jasper Shapiro, Damian Tolfree, Max Metzger, Harry Metzger, Emerson Milsap and Phoenix Milsap.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Ciompi Quartet or a charity of their choice.
A memorial service is being planned for late spring.
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