John Jorg Boll passed away at his home in Madison on Sunday, March 17, 2013, at the age of 91. He was Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught from 1956 until his retirement in 1992. He was the author of numerous books and articles, including "Introduction to Cataloging," first published in 1966 and used by a generation of students.
John was born in Berlin, Germany, on August 12, 1921. His father, Dr. Fritz Michael Boll, was a lawyer and businessman from Berlin. His mother, Auguste Boll-Rohrmüller, was from Augsburg and had graduated from the Applied Arts Academy in Munich. John was born at home, in a house that would later be destroyed by allied bombs during the Second World War. He attended elementary school and then the Bismarck Gymnasium in Berlin, before the family moved to Baden, Switzerland in 1931, where he attended the Volksschule and later the Bezirksschule. He met his future wife Ruth there when he was 12 and she eight, when their families became friends. The Boll family moved to Schenectady, New York, in 1936, where John learned English and graduated from high school. He then attended Union College in Schenectady, receiving a Latin scholarship, and graduating in 1942. He later received a Master's degree from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He was drafted into the Army in 1942, serving in the Psychological Warfare Division, and later as a German language interpreter during some of the Nuremberg trials. Upon his return to the United States he worked in Washington, DC; Texas; and Illinois. He moved to Madison in 1956 to teach at the Library School.
John was an excellent cook and baker. His collection of recipes, distributed to family and friends, is a much-used source of pleasure. He was dedicated to his students, to teaching, and most of all to his family. His dry sense of humor was a source of enjoyment for all who knew him. He was much-loved, and will be sorely missed.
He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Ruth, of Madison, and their three children: Alfred Boll of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Joost van Hout); Stephen Boll (Julie) of Franklin, WI; and Catherine Miller (Neal) of Middleton, WI. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Maxwell, Kennedy and Lindsey Boll; and Samuel and Lucas Miller; and a cousin, Gertrud Harvell of Bremen, Germany.
A Memorial service will be held on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. at the Tree of Life Chapel, Oakwood Village East, 5565 Tancho Dr., Madison, with Rev. Jack Hicks officiating. A reception will follow service. A visitation will be held on Friday at the chapel from 1:30 p.m. until the time of service.
Family requests any donations in John's memory be given to the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Room 4217 Helen C. White Hall, 600 N. Park Street, Madison, WI 53706.