Retired CU professor Mircea Fotino passed away peacefully in his home on January 23, 2023 in the loving presence his wife and two daughters. He was 95.

He was born in Bucharest, Romania, on June 6, 1927, son of engineer and composer Scarlat Fotino and Marcella Teodorescu.

His secure childhood came to an end with the death of his father in 1942 and the Soviet occupation in 1944. He left for the University of Paris in 1946 on a scholarship but two years later the newly imposed Communist government in Romania ordered all Romanian students abroad to come home. After an intense debate and responding to their parents' frantic entreaties that they not return because of the dire situation in Romania, 396 of the 400 Romanian students studying in Paris at that time, including Mircea, decided to remain in France. As a result they lost both their Romanian citizenship and their scholarships.

He nevertheless completed his studies in Paris and came to the United States in 1952, receiving a PhD in particle physics at the University of California at Berkeley, followed by postdoctoral work at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France. The entire time he was working to get his mother, brother, and sister-in-law out of Romania and finally succeeded in 1965, when the Communist government there made concessions as part of its application for Most Favored Nation status.

Throughout the 1960's Mircea conducted research in particle physics at Harvard University's Cambridge Electron Accelerator.

Because of his expertise in this domain, Professor Keith Porter asked him to set up the High-Voltage Electron Microscopy (HVEM) Laboratory at the newly formed Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. As its director, Mircea selected and oversaw the installation of the new HVEM, a 3-story, 1000 KV electron microscope that had the novel capability of penetrating thicker specimens and providing 3D images of cellular structures and, as such, was used by scientists throughout the country.

His pioneering research lay in obtaining high-resolution images of specimens that were frozen instead of fixed and stained, which preserved images closer to their natural state.

This field, termed cryoEM, has exploded in recent years and proven instrumental in the search for treatments to such diseases as Parkinson's, cancer, COVID 19 and HIV.

Mircea also taught several courses on electron microscopy at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and continued to teach long past retirement. He was widely known as a deeply committed, quick-witted instructor with keen insights into these subjects he knew so well.

His love for his home country persisted throughout his life and he was a fierce advocate of freedom in Romania and proponent of Romanian culture, writing regularly to US lawmakers regarding decisions that affected Romania, working tirelessly for the preparation of the annual Romanian Festival in Boulder, and, more routinely, striving to protect the Romanian language from grammatical infractions!

He was a man of abundant talent who produced refined drawings, spoke five languages beautifully, loved to play the violin, skied most elegantly, and rode his bike until age 91. But ultimately it is his radiance of expression, inquisitive mind, loyalty, integrity, innate elegance, impish sense of humor, and generosity that continue to warm our hearts.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Ingrid Popa Fotino, daughters Domnica Fotino (Tomas Montoya) and Adriana Fotino, and grandchildren Adrian and Alina Fotino-Montoya.

Those who wish to make a donation in his honor may do so at: Romanian American Freedom Alliance (RAFA) 2370 Iris Street, Lakewood, CO 80215 or at https://www.