James Henry Koplin was born January 27, 1933, in Vergas, MN, the only child of Emil F. Koplin and Dorathea (Schlicht) Koplin, and died December 15, 2012, in Minneapolis, MN, after a short struggle with pneumonia.
After graduating from high school in Lake Park, MN, Jim attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks for one year before transferring to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. After completing a BA in psychology in 1955, he served in the U.S. Army from 1955-57 and returned to the University of Minnesota to complete a Ph.D. in psychology in 1962.
During his graduate studies he met fellow graduate student Sally Katz, and they married in 1959. They divorced but remained close friends until Sally’s death in a bicycle accident in 2000.
Jim began his teaching career at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, in 1962 and then was a founding faculty member at the new Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, in 1970. After retiring from teaching, he moved to Fort Wayne, IN, in 1980, where he helped establish the Center for Nonviolence.
In 1982 he moved back to Minneapolis, where he volunteered for a number of community organizations dedicated to social justice and ecological sustainability, including Northern Sun Alliance, Organizing Against Pornography, the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, and the Land Stewardship Project. And, perhaps most central in his life, he was an extremely skilled farmer-gardener.
Jim brought to all of these endeavors a keen intellect, wide-ranging practical skills, a much-respected work ethic, and a deep capacity for love. His many former students, comrades, and friends will continue to remember Jim and the model he offered for living with integrity on “the human estate of grief and joy.”
A memorial service is being planned for the spring.