Our Dad, age 89, died peacefully at home in St. Paul, Minnesota, on November 14, 2019, surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by Donna Mirocha, his wife of 67 years, and his six children: Mary Wright (Layne Wright), Paul Mirocha (Christina Robinson), Anne Weirich (Luke Seibert), Andrew Mirocha, Stephanie Mirocha Ellison (Erling Ellison), and Julie Mirocha (Clayton Kunz). Chet will also be lovingly remembered by his ten grandchildren: Anna, Sonia, Claire, John, Nate, Lizzy, Peter, Jasper, Clio, and Leo. Chet was predeceased by his parents Paul and Nora (Stopa) Mirocha, and his five siblings, Casimir, Stanley, Helen, Walter and Frank .

Chet Mirocha was born in 1930 in Cudahy, Wisconsin, to Polish immigrants Paul and Nora Mirocha. He joined the Marine Corps at 17 after his father died. While on leave in Milwaukee, Chet called his grade school classmate, Donna Kulczycki, for a date. Her crush on him had begun in second grade. They married in 1952. With three small children, Chet attended Marquette University on the G.I. bill, while working full time at the Ladish Drop Forge Co. in Cudahy.

After graduation, the family made an epic drive from Milwaukee to the University of California in Davis, where Chet completed a PhD in plant pathology. In 1963, Chet accepted a position at the University of Minnesota, and retired as a full professor in 1997. Dr. Mirocha was known worldwide for his research on fungi, the mycotoxins they produce, and their effects on plants, animals and people. Throughout his career, he remained loyal to the integrity of scientific truth as well as humanitarian values.

Dad gave us an appreciation of nature. From him we learned to camp, identify trees, light a one-match fire, and handle a canoe. He was an enthusiastic cross country skier and bicyclist. Although he was a quiet man who made every word count, Chet was always the most visible person in a crowd, dressed in his signature day-glow bicycling outfit. A lifelong fitness advocate, he led by example. At 81, Chet rode his bike 300 miles to his daughter’s home in Wisconsin.

A life-long learner, Chet’s experience as a visiting professor in Mexico in the 1970s started him on an enduring study of Spanish. In retirement, Chet continued to inspire and care for others through his volunteer work in hospice, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters, serving the vulnerable and those in need. Breadwinner, bread baker, mentor, and friend, he will be profoundly missed.


The Spirit of St. Stephen's Catholic Community will host a celebration of Chet’s life at 11am on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Address: 2201 1st Ave. S, Minneapolis MN. Refreshments afterwards. Please post a note on Chet’s online guestbook at https://www.forevermissed.com/chester-joseph-mirocha.

Donations in Chet Mirocha’s memory may be made to the Saint Stephen’s Homeless Shelter, https://ststephensmpls.org/donate.

Memorial Tree Fund:  We plan to purchase a memorial tree in Chet's name to be planted in Como Park next Spring.  If you would like to contribute to Chet's Tree fund, click here:  https://paypal.me/ChetTree?locale.x=en_US 

Posted by Judy Johnson on January 6, 2020
I had no idea that when we moved into our house 35 years ago, that we would be so blessed to have Chet & Donna as our neighbors.
Chet’s enthusiasm for life was remarkable. I remember being out in front of my house at 5:30 am getting ready to go running with my other neighbor, Molly. Chet would whiz by us on his bike heading out for one of his long rides. He certainly motivated us!
Chet was such a wise and thoughtful man who appreciated everything in nature. Several years ago I planted a Japanese Maple tree for him on “his side” of the garden. He loved that tree, 2 years ago it died because of the harsh winter. So I planted another one for him, hopefully a little more hardy. I know he is watching over it, I’m hopeful the tree will keep growing for many, many years.
This past summer when he was ill, he was driving down the driveway as I was working in my garden. He rolled down the window and said, “ When I see you working in your garden, I know that everything will be right in the world.” He always made me smile and think!
I have many wonderful memories of Chet that I will always cherish, he certainly enriched my life.
I will miss him very much, Judy Johnson
Posted by Piotr Goliński on January 2, 2020
It was very sad to hear and learn that Chet left us. I had a honor and real pleasure to know Chet. He was terrific friend with tremendous knowledge, fantastic ideas and huge diligence. He was a real hard worker but he always knew how to use leisure time to rest, being active as well. Chet was very special person and his death is very sad loss for all of us here in Poznan, Poland - we will miss him very much.
Posted by John Buchanan on December 16, 2019
Chet was one of the finest men I've ever known. He dedicated his life to others both personally and scientifically. He was a faith filled man of integrity who followed his conscience in life. He was a friend and mentor to many and a model for the young. We knew Chet and Donna for over forty years and always valued their friendship. Two of my favorite memories of Chet were cross-country skiing with him in Como Park late at night. and seeing him at Mass after he had cycled to Stillwater for breakfast! What an inspiration...
Posted by Satoko Suzuki on December 8, 2019
I always thought of Chet as my role model as he was a kind person and a loving spouse. He spoke calmly, showed curiosity about different cultures, demonstrated compassion for the underprivileged, traveled the world, and stayed physically active. My very best wishes for the family, Satoko Suzuki (Julie’s friend)
Posted by Gloria Kulczycki on December 7, 2019
Chet was my brother-in-law, he married Donna, sister of my late husband, Al. Our families were always close, especially when we were all first married and when we had young children. There was a time where we even lived close to each other in California: Mirochas in Sacramento and Kulczyckis in San Jose. I remember many happy times and holidays together.

And our families were consistently together at big events, weddings, major anniversaries and reunions.

Chet was a great brother -in -law, social and personal, devoted to his family, passionate about helping the needy and enthusiastic about his research and teaching.

In recent years, we especially enjoyed seeing Chet and Donna here in Tucson when they visited in Paul, Christina and Leo in the winter.

We will all miss Chet's special sparkle and warmth.
Posted by Robert Paulson on December 6, 2019
During the many years that I have known Chet it had become very evident how much Chet loved his Donna and the the kids. He was a loving husband and a good father, a fine example of a “good man”.
Posted by Ed Kulczycki on December 3, 2019
What an amazing life! Uncle Chet will be missed and remembered! 
Posted by Debra Andersen on December 3, 2019
Chet was a gentle man. His words where well thought through, not wasted, marked with grace. Being in a lake cabin association saw him speak for the protection of the ecosystems and betterment of land management practices. He spoke for the under recognized members of the ecosystem, a great advocate of the jack pine forest. He had a winning smile that made his eyes sparkle, and put at ease those to whom he was talking. Meeting on walks in the woods he was happy in the midst of the trees, delighted in their company.
Posted by Muree Larson on December 3, 2019
Mil gracias, Chet, for all your contributions to humanity, including your amazing family. Julie, as a person, and her "Chet" / "Donna" stories, have always inspired me, and motivated me to grow as a person. I appreciate you and your influence so much. Love and condolences to the Mirocha family. 
Posted by John Kulczycki on December 2, 2019
I have known Chet since before he married my sister! Our relationship began with my seeing him as an older brother. It ended with him being the caring caregiver for me sister. For all this I am grateful.
Posted by Dennis Coyne on December 2, 2019
What a wonderful man! Really a sage. Chet delighted and inspired us in the men's group (the Geezers) with his reporting on his travels, causes and metaphysical musings. His legacy is rich and sustaining. 

It is a fearful thing to love

It is a fearful thing to love
what death can touch.

A fearful thing to love,
hope, dream: to be --
to be, and oh! to lose.

A thing for fools this, and
a holy thing,
a holy thing to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings a painful joy.
'Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing,
to love
what death has touched

By Chaim Stern
Posted by Dennis O'Rourke on November 30, 2019
Chet lived life as his conscience informed him. Whether volunteering at the shelter or leading nature walks in Como Park Chet's life was about making things better.  Goodbye neighbor.
Posted by Stephanie Mirocha Ellison on November 27, 2019
Chet, our Dad, has always "spoken for the trees," what they give to us and teach us. To honor this legacy, we intend to "plant" a tree in Como Park preferably, or elsewhere in St. Paul, in honor of Chet's love for and dedication to trees. Next week I will post an article here (in the Stories section) about Dad's Tree Treks in Como Park, and his involvement with the City of St. Paul as a tree advocate and promoter. A tree planted in his honor will be a fitting memorial to his legacy. 

If you would like to contribute to Chet's Memorial Tree fund, please go to the STORIES section to find: Chet's Tree Fund. 
Posted by Terri Tacheny on November 27, 2019
Tim and I were lucky to have had Chet as our next door neighbor for many years. He was always ready to chat and talk about interesting things! We loved learning from him all about the trees in Como Park! We admired his dedication to biking and skiing and his love of nature! We shared many conversations about the joys of living in Como Park and keeping our park user and family friendly! He genuinely cared about the trees and taking care to preserve and protect them to keep the neighborhood beautiful. We will miss him and send loving thoughts and prayer to Donna and the whole family.
Posted by Curtis Pribula on November 27, 2019
Chet lived by the values expressed in the Gospel. He proclaimed in word and deed a preferential option for the poor and marginalized in our world. We loved his indomitable spirit which is prophetic in our times. 
  He and Donna taught my wife, Anna to play bridge. That speaks volumnes if you know the game and Anna with all its nuances for life. You go ahead; we will follow.
 Our life and love is better for having known you. Watch over us all until we meet again in Love forever.
Posted by James Groth on November 23, 2019
So sad to hear of Chet’s passing.  While we could not interact much for the last 15 or so years, thanks to my moving 1500 miles away, I can never forget all of the outdoor activities we enjoyed together for so many years. Early in my career at Minnesota, Chet became a good friend. I appreciated his initiating skiing outings at some of the better cross-country trails in the area. There were several of these outings, each winter for a number of years. And we would also ski locally for day trips.  We seemed to be well matched. Chet was older, but more fit and competitive. I had the benefit of youth, but I was less fit and more laid back than Chet. We always seemed to get tired and rest at about the same time along the trail.  I kind of wonder if he was decent enough to accommodate me, but he never let on. 

Chet and Donna and my wife Jo Ann and I also helped organize several group winter weekend ski trips to Camp Du Nord above Ely and to Itasca State Park. Anybody in the Department was invited, and a lot of people came. It seemed to be always very cold. One year,  a number of us were on a day-long ski into the (then) Boundary Waters Canoe Area. There were some trails, mostly portages, but it was necessary to ski the river in places.  At one point I was leading the group,  breaking trail, when the ice gave way, and I found myself chest deep in water. Luckily my ski encountered a log or something and I was able to pull myself out with the help of the ski poles.  About this time Chet went through close to shore and soaked his boots and ankles. So, it was late afternoon, and the two of us decided to make haste for home. We flew, but my wool pants became frozen stiff, and both of us had cold feet. We made it, luckily. I was on the verge of hypothermia. The rest of the party continued on our planned loop and made it as well. 

These are kinds of adventures that I was able to engage in thanks to Chet. Some would say it was foolish, but in general we were quite careful. 

I was also into long-distance cycling. I could do 100 miles in a day in my youth. I biked to work, about 3.5 miles every day, even in winter, and back, for 40 years, including biking to school about 20 miles round trip to reach both campuses. Chet also biked, and we would often bike together. He always warned me to be alert to frustrated or aggressive drivers on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons (or, to be safe, other times). Good advice. Luckily we did not have bad traffic where we biked to work. 

We started to do some long-distance bike rides. We rode in Aitkin County where the Mirochas had a cabin, in SW Wisconsin along the St. Croix River—very hilly.  And I am sure I have forgotten some of our day trips.  Later, Dr. Frank Pfleger from the Department joined us on several bike trips in the area around Pine and Carlton counties where I had a place. Very nice. 

Chet always had a plan for hiking near where the American Phytopathological Society met in late summer. And it always included others who might like this kind of activity. There are two that I remember. We had meetings in Salt Lake City. Chet rented a car and he and I and Frank Pfleger drove into the S. Cottonwood Canyon to where two huge ski areas were. We hiked around the Wasatch Range for two days. I suppose we went back into town for the night—I can’t remember. The other trip was when we went from Portand OR up the Columbia River to White Salmon and up into Washington to a cabin owned by Chet’s son, Andrew. We ended up hiking up a trail into the Gifford Pinchot NF. I believe it was Indian Heaven Wilderness. Lots of huckleberries, which I had grown to love in my 1965 summer in Idaho. All of these experiences made me decide to move out here after retirement 

In summary, Chet Mirocha was a huge influence in my life, and I will always remember him fondly.  
Posted by Fred Baker on November 22, 2019
I remember Chet at coffee hour, always willing to talk with graduate students. He was interested in canoeing, and in cross country skiing, asking about good places to go. He was also fond of sharing a factoid from his research that “urine is sterile u til it leaves the body!”  He was one of the first faculty to show a young graduate student a human side.  I am proud to have known him.
Posted by Marguerite Clemens on November 21, 2019
I worked in the Department of Plant Pathology office with Debra Drange from August 11, 1980 to November 21, 1997. I had the pleasure to work with Chet Mirocha on helping him with typing his manuscripts to get them ready for publication using the Olivetti word processor and later the computer. I also helped Chet with typing the paperwork to get his grants out the door for his research. I always remember Chet and Donna MIrocha enjoying the punch that I made for the annual Department of Plant Pathology Christmas Parties.

I remember the cross-country ski trip to Ely, Minnesota with Chet and Donna Mirocha and the various faculty and staff members from the Department of Plant Pathology. I remember when the lead cross-country skier went through the ice/water and we had to change our direction on the trail to get back by bush whacking through the dense woods, which seemed to go on forever.

I ditto Debra Drange that Chet cared about people and made them feel as an important individual.

I introduced myself to Chet’s daughter Stephanie Mirocha at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair where she shared with me on her father and mother’s health problems.

It is very sad to see Chet leave us but I know he is now in a better place with no more suffering. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers and give Donna a big hug from me as well.
Posted by Debra Drange on November 21, 2019
I was very sad to hear the news of Chet passing away. I met Chet September 16, 1974 when I began as receptionist in the Department of Plant Pathology. Chet was one of the first professors that came into the office to meet me and introduce himself. He also made a point that he WOULD be bringing me work to do.

Chet was kind, funny and always asked how you were doing and stop to really listen to your answer. He cared about people and made them feel as an important individual. 

I recently ran into him at the grocery store and he told me of his cancer and treatments but didn't dwell on his health, he wanted to know how I was doing. That's the kind of kind sole Chet was. 

I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. Please give Donna a big hug from me.
Posted by Phil Larsen on November 20, 2019
It was an honor to know and work with Chet.  He was a terrific person and esteemed faculty member.  Blessings to all the family. 

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Judy Johnson on January 6, 2020
I had no idea that when we moved into our house 35 years ago, that we would be so blessed to have Chet & Donna as our neighbors.
Chet’s enthusiasm for life was remarkable. I remember being out in front of my house at 5:30 am getting ready to go running with my other neighbor, Molly. Chet would whiz by us on his bike heading out for one of his long rides. He certainly motivated us!
Chet was such a wise and thoughtful man who appreciated everything in nature. Several years ago I planted a Japanese Maple tree for him on “his side” of the garden. He loved that tree, 2 years ago it died because of the harsh winter. So I planted another one for him, hopefully a little more hardy. I know he is watching over it, I’m hopeful the tree will keep growing for many, many years.
This past summer when he was ill, he was driving down the driveway as I was working in my garden. He rolled down the window and said, “ When I see you working in your garden, I know that everything will be right in the world.” He always made me smile and think!
I have many wonderful memories of Chet that I will always cherish, he certainly enriched my life.
I will miss him very much, Judy Johnson
Posted by Piotr Goliński on January 2, 2020
It was very sad to hear and learn that Chet left us. I had a honor and real pleasure to know Chet. He was terrific friend with tremendous knowledge, fantastic ideas and huge diligence. He was a real hard worker but he always knew how to use leisure time to rest, being active as well. Chet was very special person and his death is very sad loss for all of us here in Poznan, Poland - we will miss him very much.
Posted by John Buchanan on December 16, 2019
Chet was one of the finest men I've ever known. He dedicated his life to others both personally and scientifically. He was a faith filled man of integrity who followed his conscience in life. He was a friend and mentor to many and a model for the young. We knew Chet and Donna for over forty years and always valued their friendship. Two of my favorite memories of Chet were cross-country skiing with him in Como Park late at night. and seeing him at Mass after he had cycled to Stillwater for breakfast! What an inspiration...
his Life

Speaking For the Trees

My Dad, Chet, liked to quote the Lorax, by Dr. Seuss: “I speak for the trees!” appreciating moments when such words are justifiably needed to be spoken.  Dad loved, cared for and appreciated trees – what they give to us and what they teach us in return.  In 2005, the Como District 10 Environmental Task Force sponsored an annual event called the Tree Trek, a two-hour tree tour in Como Park led by Prof. Chet Mirocha. The annual event became very popular, and Dad guided the trek for many years -- identifying trees, a few plant diseases and sharing interesting facts about the large variety of trees in Como Park.

The District 10 Community Council continues its service to the Como Community today.  As testament to his contributions, in 2007 Chet was named to the Neighborhood Honor Roll.  In 2012, two kind neighbors purchased a tree in his name to be planted in Como Park.  In 2011, the Committee received permission to attach metal tree identification tags to 18 trees in Como Park. These tags remain in place today, allowing anyone, anytime who might spot one during their personal forays into the park to learn more about our friends, the trees.  These tags are an enduring legacy put in place for fostering tree appreciation and connection to nature, a lasting reminder of Chet's work promoting what he loved.  When I come across one of these tags on my walks in the park, memories of and connection to Dad rise up in my mind along with the emotions that accompany them.

To honor this legacy, we intend to "plant" a tree next Spring in Como Park in honor of Chet's love for and dedication to trees.  If you would like to contribute to Chet's Tree Fund, click here.  Thank you.

In 2010, a Tree Appreciation Program began with an event created for June 12 of that year.  Chet (Dad) was an organizing member of this new task force, with the mission of fostering area residents to value existing trees on their property and also to plant more of them.  While the program does not continue today, in 2010, the year this program was established, The Como Park Monitor quoted Chet:

“We’d like to encourage all District 10 residents to provide good care to the trees on their properties and to plant more trees, where possible,” said Chet Mirocha. “Trees are a trust left to us by the previous owners of our homes and one that we should leave to those that come after us.”

Free trees were given away at the event that year, and there was a competition for standout trees to be selected for recognition.

“We hope to inspire a great deal of tree planting,” said Mirocha, adding that he’d like to see a new tree put in place of every one that was cut down on private property. “With so many trees being lost to invasive pests like the emerald ash borer and Dutch elm disease, we lose more of the urban forest every day.”

Dad loved burning firewood as well, creating many lasting memories for the family with his crackling, after dinner fires at home in the living room fireplace.  Always energy conscious, one year he installed an enclosed, glass faced fireplace “stove” that circulated the heat from the fire into the living room rather than up the chimney.  Campfires both at the cabin and on camping trips add many more, warm recollections.  When he was a boy, he and his brother, Cass, built campfires on the shores of Lake Michigan where they grew up during the Depression years, roasting hotdogs, and folding potatoes and carrots into foil among the embers.  One year for Christmas I purchased for him a firewood holder for stacking logs, the largest (18” x 6 feet) wrapped present “under” the tree that year.

“Who is that one for?” one grandchild asked, eyes wide.

“Grandpa!”

“Wow, what did he get?”

What, indeed!

For many years, during the annual visit at the family cabin with Cass, the two men spent enjoyable afternoons taking down dead timber on the lake property.  Andy, one of my brothers, also occasionally worked with him on this.  During the last year or two of Chet's life, I became more interested in chain sawing myself, but that was something we didn’t have the time to explore nor he the energy to mentor me with.  That legacy remains, however, for me to pass forward into the future in firewood handling at the family cabin. Speaking for the trees.

My Dad's Career as Professor of Plant Pathology at the Univ. of MN

Chet’s granddaughter, Sonia, and I (his daughter) recently paid a visit to the U of MN plant path department on the St. Paul campus where Dad was a Professor for 34 years before retiring in 1997.  We wanted to notify the department in person, for this was a most important place for Dad as he dedicated years of hard work here mentoring grad students, furthering scientific progress and adding to the scientific database with his extensive research.  It also holds many memories for us.  We stopped in just days after his passing.  What a warm welcome James Bradeen, Dept Head, gave us!

“Mirocha is a big name around here,” he told us as he showed us around.

It was gratifying to learn that the mass spectrometry lab Dad started so many decades ago continues to be an integral part of the department.  We visited Dad’s old office (I remembered which one). The white board Sonia fondly recalls drawing on is still on the wall, and the calm, dedicated science atmosphere (like aromatherapy) enveloped us and we stood there soaking it all in.  It is good to see the research and teaching legacy continue, for plant path struck us as clearly remaining an active, thriving place!

“Dad!” I said, as we entered his old office.  I felt Dad’s presence there in this quiet, book lined room where he spent so much of his working life, with its 3rd floor view down to the sloping courtyard.  Several times, during my college years I stopped in to visit while attending the University.  A new academician has taken up quarters here, but Dad’s aura lingers.

Decades ago, trying to understand what my father did, I asked him what the name of the class is he teaches.  He told me, The Physiology of Host-Parasite Relations.  I knew also that he worked with or consulted with regional farmers having trouble with fungi affecting their grains – valuable work and research.  But I still didn’t understand the bigger picture of what his work entailed.  Last year, wanting to learn more, I at last interviewed him.  Probing into my dad’s career, I endeavored to understand and explain the details and timeline of his fascinating work, which resulted in a memoir/essay  The following career recap is partially taken from that writing.

My first questions were about the international path my father’s career followed.  I don’t think that outcome was an intentional goal, it just happened.  In 1966, Dr. C.J. Mirocha, or Chet, innovated the idea for a scientific collaboration with Japan and wrote a grant for this to the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The mission was to foster scientific research and information sharing in our post WWII relations with them.  He chaired the first and second seminars of this program called the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Science Program, meeting every 4 years for the next twenty years until it ended in 1986.  From the 60’s on, our family had visiting science colleagues in my father’s field of plant pathology come to the house for dinner -- Dr. Leonov from Russia, for example in the mid 1970’s.  Throughout Dad’s career, there were also professors from Japan, Hungary, Poland and England to name a few.  International graduate students worked with him as their PhD candidacy professor, coming from Iraq, Italy, India, Africa and so on. The opportunities for widening horizons was reciprocal for us family members, for example, in that I stayed with the family of a French professor in Brest, on the Brittany coast, when I visited France as a teenager in 1979.

The focus of Dad’s career was the study of tiny fungi -- parasitic fungi that attack host grains and other agricultural products that have been improperly stored.  These fungi produce deadly substances called mycotoxins as they colonize the crops.  Mycotoxins can produce disease and death in both humans and animals. Their detection and analysis involve very precise, difficult techniques and require advanced equipment.  Dad developed procedures for the detection and identification of mycotoxins using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.  At this point (late 1960’s or early 70’s) he recognized a need for top notch lab equipment and took steps to make that happen for the plant path department.  Through grants from the NSF, he was eventually able to build up his research facility at the University of Minnesota into one of the few labs in the U.S. capable of precisely measuring and detecting extremely small samples of mycotoxins.

The Soviet Union had done much research on these same mycotoxins, especially after WWII when large amounts of the Soviet population began to fall ill after eating improperly stored grain.  During the war, and primarily in the Soviet Union, European harvests were disrupted because the men had been recruited away as soldiers and labor was left short, so farms were unable to manage the harvest.  Many crops lay fallow in the fields over the winter, exposed to snow, damp and cold -- prime conditions for the growth of fungi.  The Soviet region with its continuous freeze/thaw cycles provides excellent growing conditions for Fusarium, the genus name of the mycotoxin producing fungi Dr Mirocha studied, of which there are several species.  After WWII, the Soviet Union began extensive research on these Fusarium species in order to explain and ameliorate the major health concern that was happening.  Research revealed that these Fusarium produce a group of toxic compounds called trichothecenes – and they happen to be the same Fusarium producing trichothecenes that Dad was also researching in his lab on the St. Paul “farm campus” at the University of Minnesota.  Dad traveled to the Soviet Union more than once during the 1970’s to present his growing research and knowledge of Fusarium to conferences.  He traveled to many other countries as well, Yugoslavia for example, and his reputation and contacts grew within the context of that specialized field of research.

Much of Dad’s work also involved a word our family came to hear often -- zearalenone – an estrogen produced by Fusarium graminearum which causes fertility problems in swine.  At these and other symposia around the world he shared his research as principal speaker or led discussions on his and others’ research on these subjects.  He also began to give workshops on mycotoxin analysis in the early 80’s.  Over time he became an internationally respected and sought-after expert in the field of mycotoxicology, and in 1983 was elected Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society along with 12 other scientists.

In the 1980’s, Dad discovered a new Fusarium species, or as he put it in his typical modest way – his lab discovered it with him as leader.  The name of this Fusarium is fusarochromanone Fusarium, discovered in the Arctic region of Norway.  Ironically, after the trip to the Norwegian arctic region, which was difficult to get to, he found more samples of fusarochromanone Fusarium in the wheat fields growing adjacent to the University of Alaska – much easier to obtain there!

They had hopes that this new fungus could have practical applications for the medical field, as the fusarochromanone is a capillary inhibitor, and as such might slow the growth of cancer cells, for example in humans.  Their research showed that, for example, hens exposed to the fusarochromanone laid infertile eggs.  The embryos did not develop due to the lack of blood flow to the eggs.  However, the application has not been researched any further, due perhaps to several reasons:  the expense involved with production of the fusarium compounds, lack of available grants, patent applications and so on.

I am proud of the fact that my father was first and foremost a scientist.  He focused on the data, remaining confident in the integrity of his lab and findings even in the face of one or two geopolitical quagmires “cropping” up.  More importantly, he was a true humanitarian, always thinking of the welfare of others.  A quiet, unassuming man with deep ideas and a knack for thinking things all the way through, one could feel his empathy for others, seeing them as individuals, especially those who were suffering.  Besides being an avid, dedicated skier and bicyclist, he loved the outdoors, was a Boy Scout leader for my two brothers, took my sister and I on a memorable BWCA canoe camping trip including many family camping trips and also served 25 years as a Healtheast hospice volunteer.  With his wife, Donna, he helped cook and serve community meals over many years once a month at Loaves and Fishes.  Continuing the legacy of his Polish mother who immigrated here alone at age 17, Dad had an open and adventurous spirit. “Adventure walks” were an anticipated event for the grandchildren (and all who wished to go) which he led after holiday meals, setting the stage for further adventures to come for the young ones, always engaging those around him with his enthusiasm for the outdoors and leading by example in remaining fit.

He was a true and constant friend to me all my life, besides being my father, someone with whom I have shared innumerable companionable experiences over the years that have enriched my life with many good memories.  When I worked at the University of MN, I would send my poetry to him through intercampus mail, always certain of a thoughtful reading and feedback, and I would do the same for his poetic reflections on nature and spirituality writings as well.

I do so very deeply miss him.  Thanks, Dad.

Recent stories
Shared by Piotr Goliński on January 2, 2020
Visits and revisits: Continuation of cooperation with Chemistry Department, Agricultural University of Poznań, Poland - revisits to Wawel, Kraków and Poznań (Chet and Donna Mirocha with Barbara, Krystyna and Piotr Golińscy).
Shared by Piotr Goliński on January 2, 2020
Leisure time: active time to rest and to “accumulate power” – Barbara, Krystyna and Piotr Golińscy from Agricultural University of Poznań, Poland in Donna and Chet cabin (campfire and rollerblading).
Shared by Piotr Goliński on January 2, 2020
Hospitality: Chet and Donna house was always open for guests and visitors (Barbara, Krystyna and Piotr Golińscy from Agricultural University of Poznań, Poland).