Dr Wojciech Rostafiñski (1921-2002)

We should remind ourselves that Dr. Wojciech Rostafiñski comes from a distinguished line of university professors and highly regarded intellectuals in Poland. Books have been written about them. We mention this, because Dr. Wojciech picked up the torch. He got his Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Louvain in Belgium. Employed by NASA Glenn Research Center since 1961 – retired in 1994 – he was the recipient of five diplomas of merit for his contributions to the theory and technology of rocket and aircraft propulsion. In this connection, we should mention that for several years, he had been a NASA spokesman for the “Voice of America” throwing light on the latest achievements of science on the current research of the cosmos and on the progress in aeronautics.

Dr. Rostafiński tirelessly contributed to scholarly periodicals all over the world.

Following his family tradition, he became a great scholar, a humanist and a distinguished intellectual. I have no doubt that he wants me to mention that he had also become a gifted popularizer  of science. In 1989 published in London, England a valuable collection of essays, titled The Invisible Worlds. His amazing ability to explain the miracles of science to a general reader was a great gift of God.

During the war he was an active member of the Home Army. For his great courage, he was decorated with cross of gallant order of Polonia Restituta and the cross of Virtuti Militari.

Active for a long time in the Polish Institute in New York, he was a member of all significant polish American organization of Polish Veterans of World War II, Post # 2, in Cleveland.

He is survived by his wife Mary, nee Kruszewska, two daughters Karolina and Anna, the soon Dr. Rostafiński, all children by the late Maria Rostafińska nee Sikorska, his brother Dr. Michał Rostafiński, his sister in Warsaw, Poland, Anna Romiszowska, and his son-in-law Michael Merk.

Dr. Rostafiński died when he was eighty-one. But he was young in spirit until his last day. He never stopped marveling at the world around him. Like Arnold Toynbee, he had an inquisitive mind. He never stopped asking his persistent question, “why?”.

Today, he stands before God. He has a message for every one of us. His life is telling us what should be important to us.
Number one is faith in God. True faith moves mountains.
Number two is courage. Without courage, we cannot face the world.
Number three is the pride in our Polish heritage. Our life is richer, and we make it richer for others, if we remember with pride the country of our origin.
And last but not least. We should not bury our talents. We have an obligation to God and to our society to make our talents grow.
We are most grateful for the life of Dr. Rostafiński.

Dr. Jerzy J. Maciuszko

Forum, 8/2002