Joseph Kott: Humanitarian and Sustainable Transportation Leader
The Minerva Ventures team regrets to share this sorrowful news. We worked with Joe for many years and appreciated his kind heart, deep knowledge and his passion for the role of transportation in making communities vibrant, equitable and sustainable. The Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities Research and Policy Institute will strive to carry on his work and honor his memory.
It is with a heavy heart that Katherine Kott shares this information about her husband, Joseph Kott's death. The following is a brief reflection on his life as well as information about his memorial service.
Joseph (Joe) Kott of Oakland, California died suddenly of heart failure on February 14, 2019, while at home with his wife. He was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 15, 1947 to Joseph Frank Kott, Jr. and Catherine V. Szydlodski. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Katherine (Kitto) Kott, his son, Paul Thomas Kott, his daughter, Amy Elizabeth Rands, brother-in-law, William Dean Brown, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. His son, Andrew Joseph Kott preceded him in death as did his parents, his sister, Shirley (Kott) Brown, and his brother, Raymond John Kott.
With an active career in city and regional planning, Joe had earned a PhD from Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, Masters of Transport and Traffic Engineering from Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, a Masters of Regional Planning from University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and a BA in Political Science from Wayne State University.
During his long and distinguished career, he worked in public agencies and consulting firms in North Carolina, Illinois, Maine, and California. Once he had completed his PhD, Dr. Kott focused on teaching at several universities in the San Francisco Bay area, with long service to Stanford and San Jose State Universities. He was a charter member of the American Planning Association and maintained certification with the American Institute of Certified Planners. He particularly enjoyed mentoring emerging planners and saw it as an important part of his professional responsibility.
He co-founded Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities to provide a platform for his passion for “more life-affirming transportation systems.” His colleagues described Joe as “the inspiration behind Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities, its most ardent supporter and its most important leader. He was the glue that bound us…” A commitment to democracy and justice kept Joe engaged in current events and active in a local Indivisible chapter with a focus on science and the environment.
An avid reader, hiker, and sports fan, Joe also found plenty of time for family, friends, and his beloved Brittany Spaniels, Gabby and Hazel. He was loyal to his Detroit teams, a devoted father and husband and a loving presence in his extended family. Love guided his faith and he used this passage from Matthew 22:36-40 as a compass for his life.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Further information about Joe’s scholarship and research are available in this obituary from Stanford University.
A memorial service will be held at 11am on March 9th at Corpus Christi Church in Piedmont, California. A reception will follow.