George Koether: A Great Austro-Libertarian Passes On

Thursday, March 23, 2006
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It’s sad that the wonderful George Koether did not make it to 100. Here is the Mises Institute obit. Indeed, one of the great Austro-libertarian gentlemen of all time. I had the pleasure of knowing George, who was a Detroiter. The great thing about him is that each time he attended a Mises Institute event–where I first met him in 1999–he would drive up from Florida, even well into his mid-90s. He’d drive all day to get there. We would have dinner together occasionally, and he would sit with several of us in the bar after dinner for drinks. Each time he was full of knowledge, stories, and anecdotes like I have never heard before. He made us laugh and laugh. No one (other than Ralph Raico) could tell stories about the old Austrian/libertarian days like George. He crossed paths with every important, libertarian intellectual since about WWII. His memories of Mises were expressed with such reverence and clarity, us youngsters could almost feel like we didn’t miss a thing. In fact, I clearly remember the night I was introduced to him by James Barth (of the Milken Institute) during one of those evening wrap-ups out behind the Institute, ‘neath the party tents, where everyone just sorta gathers and jaws. No one left alive has his recollection and knowledge and connections and history within the Austrian school and the days of yesteryear. No one. And to think that his memoirs were never written (as far as I understand). He will be missed.

Tom DiLorenzo is spreading the word that “there was once a rumor that, in his 90s, he even asked a thirtysomething Karen DeCoster to marry him!” Ah, ’tis true.

One unique thing about George was his business card. I’ve always kept it for its one-of-a-kind worth because he referred to himself as a “praxeologist-economist.” Here’s a photo of it (address and numbers covered for privacy):


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