Former FAES Executive Kochanski Mourned
Lois Whidden Kochanski, 93, who served for many years as executive director of the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, Inc., died Jan. 12 in Bethesda.
She was born in San Angelo, Tex., and earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1945. She moved to Washington, D.C., to work in military intelligence and began her job at the Pentagon on VE Day. She was an intelligence analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Kochanski then worked as assistant to the vice president for academic affairs at George Washington University, 1964-1967. In 1970, she began a 35-year career at FAES, where she served as executive director until 2005, leading graduate education and cultural programs funded privately for the NIH community.
“During Mrs. Kochanski’s 35 years as executive director of FAES, she oversaw—initially from a single room in the bowels of Bldg. 31 that doubled as a textbook repository—its conversion from a small organization offering several courses for NIH staff to its present form with many diverse programs essential for NIH and its community to function as much like a university as possible,” said Dr. Alan Schechter, chief of NIDDK’s Molecular Medicine Branch and a former member of the FAES board.
“Everyone on campus interacted with her, from NIH directors, to institute directors, to scientific and clinical directors, to scientists and trainees,” said Dr. Susan Leitman, FAES president. “She cheerfully, competently and efficiently enabled hundreds of collaborations between NIH scientific staff and non-NIH sponsors, managed a health insurance program for tens of thousands of fellows, ran a graduate school program taught by NIH senior scientists and managed the NIH Bookstore. She was liked and admired by all who interacted with her.”
Said NHLBI’s Dr. Robert Adelstein, a former FAES president, “For 35 years, Lois was the heart and soul of the FAES.”
Kochanski belonged to Concord-St. Andrews United Methodist Church, the Society of Mayflower Descendants, the American Association of University Women, the NIH Camera Club and the National Genealogical Society. Her hobbies included photography, tennis, genealogy, bridge and piano. She was author of The Mullican Family of Warren County, Tennessee, 1991.
She married Joseph T. Kochanski in 1949 in Arlington, Va. They were married for 47 years when he died in 1996.
Survivors include her sister, Mary Bess Whidden of Albuquerque, N.Mex.; daughter Mary Ann Daly of Bethesda; son James Kochanski of Austin, Tex.; daughter Constance Wetterer of Colorado Springs, Col.; and seven grandchildren.
Church funeral services and burial at Arlington National Cemetery will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018 or the charity of your choice.