Wojciech Antoni "Al" Krotoski M.D (1937 - 2016)

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    - Tonette Slaviero
  • "Al was such an exceptional and brilliant individual in so..."
    - Jeff Burnham
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    - Tomasz Mroczkowski, MD
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    - Jan McCleskey
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Wojciech "Al" Antoni Krotoski, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., researcher in tropical medicine, pro-life leader, Nobel nominee, faithful husband and beloved father, went to his eternal reward on January 1, 2016. Wojciech was born to Ludwik and Leokadia Krotoski on June 20, 1937, as an extraterritorial Polish citizen, in Riga, Latvia, where his father was Charge d'Affairs of the Polish Consulate. He was the youngest of three children, following brother, Andrew, now deceased, and sister, Danuta. Two years later, while the family was in Warsaw awaiting re-assignment, Germany invaded Poland; however, they managed to make their way, under hostile fire, and through several countries, to London, where Ludwik continued to serve in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Polish government-in-exile until after World War II hostilities ended. Tragically, as a consequence of the Yalta Conference with Stalin, Britain (and the U.S.) then chose to recognize the communist government in Poland. In 1949, the family became British subjects; but, in the same year, immigrated to the U.S., where they became naturalized U.S. citizens in 1955. Receiving his secondary education at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, Wojciech ("Al") graduated in 1952, and began college at age 15. Working part of the time, he received his B.A. degree in bacteriology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1960, and entered graduate school at UCLA's medical center that year, then medical school in 1961. In 1968, he received both a Ph.D. in medical microbiology (immunochemistry) and an M.D., and, because of his interest in tropical diseases, undertook an internship at Gorgas Hospital in the then-Panama Canal Zone. He returned to the U.S. after receiving a commission from the U.S. Public Health Service in 1969, and was assigned to do research on malaria at the National Institutes of Health field station in Chamblee, Georgia. In 1972, he undertook a residency in preventive medicine at the U.S. PHS Hospital in San Francisco and the U.C. San Francisco Medical Center; this additional training included a year-long assignment to visit tropical medicine centers in SE Asia, India, and Africa. Upon completion of the residency in 1974, he also received the M.P.H. degree in epidemiology from the U.C. School of Public Health, Berkeley. Dr. Krotoski was then assigned to the USPHS Hospital in New Orleans in July, 1975 with orders to establish a tropical infectious disease research program there. The assignment included teaching at both LSU School of Medicine and Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, while also wearing a number of PHS "hats." In the late 1970s, he traveled three times to the Marshall Islands as tropical medicine consultant to Brookhaven National Laboratory's radiological health team; the work included one visit to Bikini Atoll. In 1980, in collaboration with Prof. P.C.C. Garnham and other medical scientists from Imperial College, London, and with the technical help of his wife by a later-annulled marriage, Danuta (nee Gwozdziowski), Dr. Krotoski discovered the malarial hypnozoite as the true cause of relapse in malaria; after several more years of corroborative and collaborative work, he was honored by a nomination for the Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine in 1989. Upon closure of the U.S. PHS hospital system in 1981, he was transferred to the National Hansen's Disease Center in Carville, where he continued to work until 1995, attaining a peak position of Director of its national ambulatory care program. In 1995, he retired from the U.S. Public Health Service with the permanent PHS rank of Medical Director. During his professional career, Dr. Krotoski authored or co-authored some 55 scientific papers, presented his research findings at numerous professional meetings, lectured extensively on tropical infectious disease subjects, contributed to several texts, and served as reviewer on a number of journal editorial boards. He was a long-time member of both the American and British (Royal) Societies of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. After retirement, Dr. Krotoski continued as an academic consultant in tropical diseases in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge, served on the institutional human subjects review board of Baton Rouge General Hospital, co-authored a revision of a venerable textbook on diagnostic medical parasitology, and translated a book on the social and artistic history of syphilis, from Polish into English. However, during the first two decades after retirement, he was especially devoted to Hippocratic respect-for-life activities both internationally and in Louisiana, including as leader of statewide, professional and local pro-life organizations; this also required him to testify frequently before committees of the Louisiana Legislature. He also served as an elected Republican State Central Committee member for two 4-year terms. A lifelong, practicing Catholic, "Al" belonged to St. Jude the Apostle Parish, where he was a member of the Knights of Columbus, and also served as Eucharistic Minister. He and his beloved wife of 28 years, Judith, were active in the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement until her entry into new life in 2013. "Al" is survived by his daughter, Aleksandra Krotoski, Ph.D. (born a U.S. citizen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), her husband, Ben Hammersley, and granddaughter, Ripley; his stepson, John; sister, Danuta and her husband, Robert Shaw; cousin, Maria Ostrowski; niece, Karen, and her husband, Maurice Lallier; nephews, Steve and Mark; Mark's wife, Nicole, and grandniece, Claire Gina, all in California; as well as by Judith's siblings and their families in Texas and Florida, plus numerous cousins and their families in his native Poland. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church, 9150 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, on January, 8, 2016, at 11:00 a.m., preceded by visitation at 9:00 a.m., and recitation of the Rosary at 10:30 a.m. Interment at Judy's side will follow at Resthaven Gardens of Memory, 11817 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation via Al's daughter at http://gofundme.com/bloodrunning. Family and friends may sign the online guest book or leave a personal note to the family at www.resthavenbatonrouge.com.
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Resthaven Gardens of Memory & Funeral Home
11817 Jefferson Highway
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
(225) 753-1440
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Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Jan. 4 to Jan. 6, 2016
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