released April 26, 2003
Man of Many Parts
| July 21, 2011 - 8:53am
Joseph F. Koster, a man who had a career in marketing and advertising and who also was a playwright and follower of the spiritual teachings of J. Krishnamurti, died of cancer on May 11 in Phoenix. He was 75.
Mr. Koster, whose principal residence was New York City, had lived in Paris, Monte Carlo, and Monaco in the late 1950s and early ’60s and at various times in Montauk, Amagansett, Southampton, and Malibu, Calif. He was credited with helping to found the East Hampton Farmers Market.
He was born in Wilson, N.C., on May 11, 1935, a son of Joseph F. Koster and the former Suzie Dew. He grew up there and attended the Riverside Military Academy in Georgia before going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a number of writing awards.
After serving in the Army, Mr. Koster began his business career as a buyer for B. Altman in New York City. He moved to Colgate Palmolive, where he became a national brand manager, but left to co-found Brown, Elders, Koster, an advertising firm.
In addition to plays, Mr. Koster wrote screenplays and poetry. His play “Reflections,” presented in a workshop at the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village, was well received, as was a play he co-wrote with Ward Morehouse III called “My Four Mothers,” which opened at the Comedy Club in New York City.
In the 1970s, after studying with
Krishnamurti, he vowed to avoid the world of business for seven years. He took Kriya training, practiced yoga and meditation, and studied in India and England, where his son attended the Krishnamurti School at Brockwood Park.
He became the executive director of an intentional community in Maryland and subsequently raised money for start-up companies, including ReadSpeak, a product that helps children and adults learn English. His last business venture was with the Naturaceutical Dispensing Corporation, a packaging company that developed preservative-free packaging for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Along with writing and what his family called “liberating the heart and mind,” the company became part of his life’s work.
In May of 1983, he married the former Linnea Richardson, who survives, as does his son, Christopher Stephen Koster of Fort Collins, Colo., and a daughter, Anne Frances Koster of Salisbury, Md. Five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren also survive, as does a brother, John Koster of Wilson.
Mr. Koster’s wife wrote that her husband was a renaissance man, luminous, elegant, and serene, a mentor and teacher. “He said many times that the fact there is death is proof there is a God.” She also quoted his saying, “Everything is a gift, even cancer. We do not always know what is best for us.”
A memorial service will be announced. Memorial contributions were suggested for the Brockwood Park School, Brockwood Park, Bramdean, SO24OLQ Hampshire, United Kingdom.