Krešimir J. Adamić (1938-2015)
13th of August, 1938: Krešimir Josip Adamić was born to Franjo and Paula (née Razumović) Adamić, in the village of Špišić Bukovica in Croatia's Slavonia region. Franjo's father had made several trips to Canada as a migrant worker. Krešimir was Fanjo and Paula's first child and to remain their only.
5th of April, 1941: the family leaves Špišić Bukovica, packing whatever belongings they could fit onto a cart. The next day, the German invasion of Yugoslavia begins, the German forces occupy the village, and burn down the houses of any anti-fashists, including the Adamić house. Fortunately, Franjo and Paula had been warned by a friend who had infiltrated the fashist sympathizers in the village.
1941-1945 the Adamić family moves to the village of Ferdinandovac on the river Drava. Franjo takes the position of commissary of a Partisan detachment tasked with securing the river crossing and enabling supply of salt from Hungary to the Partisans. The Adamić family also briefly moves to Dijakovac, under Partisan control, where Krešimir attends an Partisan school in the forest. Krešimir has memories of riding in a tank during one of the moves.
1945 after the war, Franjo moves immediately to Zagreb where he takes a position in the government administration. Paula and Krešimir move to the village of Vukosavljevica to be with relatives: Paula's brother Ivica (a forester), Franjo's brother Mate, and also cousins, Zdenka, Marica, and Danica, whose brother Stipe tragically died between the 9th and 15th of May 1945, when the war had officially ended but fighting had not ceased.
December 1945, Franjo, Paula and Krešimir move to an empty apartment in Livadiceva Ulica in Zagreb. Since the apartment was deemed too large for a family of 3, a room was allocated to a woman from their home village: Špišić Bukovica.
1948 With the Soviet Union's expulsion of Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau, the political scene is unstable, with few people stepping up for government positions. Franjo volunteers for and gets the position of city secretary of Zagreb, and the family moves to a different apartment with a stationed guard.
Fall 1950 - start of construction of the house at Srebrnjak 117a in Zagreb.
July 1951 - after a scout camping trip in Zvecevo in Slavonia, Krešimir moves directly to the house (still without a roof) on Srebrnjak.
Fall 1951 Krešimir enrolls in the 4th gymnasium (middle & high school) Mimara. Always an excellent student, he also enjoys a number of sports, especially playing handball with others in his class and together they win several school championships. Despite his scholastic achievements, he is still restless and visits a spa in February 1955, where, while attempting ski-jumps in less than ideal conditions he breaks both his ankles. He recovers and achieves distinction in individual running
sports: he becomes junior Yugoslav champion in the 1,000m race, and also wins cross country races "Zagreb Liberation" and 4-6km races in Zagreb's Maksimir park.
Fall '56 he enrolls as a philosophy major and a law minor at the University of Zagreb with the aim of making politics a career. However, during a summer internship he becomes aware of the favoritism and corruption in government, abandons his political aspirations and leaves the communist party.
Fall '57 he changes his major to physics (though also thinking of mathematics, since the first year of study is the same).
In 1962 He receives his bachelors in physics. He learns to fly airplanes with his friends from high school who chose aviation in part because of the shorter compulsory military service term. However, after some fun adventures, he abandons flying in favor of focusing on his studies.
1962-1965 He works on his PhD with Prof. Blinc in Ljubljana on NMR spectroscopy of starches. He travels back to Zagreb every Monday night, for his teaching assistant duties at the University in Zagreb, and then returns to Ljubljana on Tuesday afternoons.
1965-1966 His schooling complete, and with qualifications of being a scout master and an athlete, he starts his military service with the special forces on the Sharr mountain in Macedonia, becoming an excellent sharp-shooter and winning medals.
1966 After completing military service, he returns to Ruđer Bošković Institute and continues working on pulsed magnetic resonance, on one of the first five such instruments. Ever restless, he pursues postdoc opportunities abroad.
In September '67 he starts as a postdoc in Dr. Keith Ingold's lab in Ottawa, Canada, working on electron spin resonance. Dr. Ingold encourages hard work, but also fun breaks, including out-of-lab social activities on Wednesday afternoons, such as alpine skiing, water skiing, and scuba diving. During these postdoc years, Krešimir does a driving tour through many national and other parks in Canada and the US.
In June of 1969, Krešimir marries Dunja Novak in Ottawa, but their marriage is brief. They separate as Krešimir journeys back to Croatia. With money saved during his postdoc, he has a choice between buying a Ford Mustang, or a Harmon Kardon stereo system and Acoustic Research speakers, both costing $1,600 at the time. Thinking the car would be too conspicuous in Croatia, he chooses the stereo system. He picks it up in Long Island after driving through Chicago and Cleveland then south along the Mississippi to the American south and back along the Appalachian mountains. Because the stereo took up so much room in his car, a Voxol Viva, all his camping gear ends up strapped to the roof. He journeys back to Croatia on a freightliner, spending a month at sea, sometimes being the only person on the bridge.
1970: Briefly back in Croatia at Ruđer Bošković, Krešimir is already looking for the next adventure. In the fall he journeys to the Soviet Union, where he visits two institutes, first the biophysics institute in Pushchino on the river Oka, and then Akadem Gorodok. He also visits Stalingrad briefly to pick up some lenses and lab equipment, because as a foreigner it was easier for him to obtain a travel permit. He knows Russian well, having studied it from the 3rd grade of elementary school with a friend of the family who was a Belarussian officer's widow.
In 1971 he wins an NMR fellowship in Norway from NATO, and on the way back from Norway travels through Finland, Russia and Hungary.
From 1971 to 1975, he works once again at Ruđer Bošković and lectures physics and material science at the University of Zagreb's Engineering College. He also lectures at the technical college both in Zagreb and Sisak, and the college of forestry. When a requirement that lecturers have a PhD is instituted, and PhDs in physics are in short supply, he also lectures at several other colleges in places such as Varazdin, Rijeka and Banja Luka.
In 1973 he meets Jasenka Matulić, a chemist at the same institute, whom he marries on November 23, 1974. They honeymoon in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Their daughter Lada is born in 1976.
From 1980-1984 he co-founds and is editor in chief of Yugoslavia's journal on polymers: Polimeri.
From 1984-86 he takes a leave of absence from the university to follow Jasenka to New York, where she is doing a postdoc. He works first at Brooklyn Polytechnic and then at Hunter college.
From 86-87 he returns to teaching in Zagreb.
From 1988 - 1991 he again works at Hunter College, until the family, in pursuit of a green card, moves to Cleveland, where Jasenka works for US Biochemicals.
1991-1992 he works as a research scientist at Case Western Reserve University.
In 1992 the family moves to Boulder, CO, where Jasenka joins RPI, a spin-off startup of her company, while Krešimir first lectures at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, then takes a job at Eltron Research designing materials for everything from nuclear submarines to rocket fuel to air filters for the international space station.
In 2002, he helps design and supervises the construction of a small "pojata" (farm house) on Grabov Rat, a peninsula on the outskirts of Bol, on the island of Brac. The property also has enough room for a small garden, which he and Jasenka start to plant.
In 2004 he starts working on the Grabov Rat website, which he maintains for the following 11 years, writing in weekly installments on a wide variety of topics, frequently assembling new statistical analyses, graphs, and maps.
In 2006 Jasenka takes a job in Brisbane, CA, and Krešimir takes the opportunity to retire.
In 2008 Jasenka retires as well, and they move to Ann Arbor, MI to be closer to their daughter and son-in-law.
May 2, 2015 Krešimir dies following a brief illness, surrounded by his family. His moment of death coincides with a magnitude 4.2 earthquake, felt throughout southeastern Michigan (Michigan had only had one other earthquake of similar magnitude in 1947). The coincidence of this rare event would have intrigued him, since he often thought about odds and coincidences.
He is survived by his wife Jasenka, daughter Lada, son-in-law TJ and grandson Yasen.
More about Krešimir's life:
There are passions Krešimir has pursued throughout his life. One of these passions is reading, primarily a wide range of non-fiction. His libraries in Croatia and the United States contained thousands of books on many subjects, including science, philosophy, history and politics. He rarely read just one book at a time, but usually had several open, jumping back and forth as he pursued ideas.
He was a lifelong outdoorsman, joining the Yugoslav boy scouts in his youth and remaining active in the organization for decades, including leading camping trips and starting a scouting magazine. He took his family and friends on camping road-trips spanning thousands of miles across much of the United States and Canada, and in his last years took solo trips in the fall through some of the Appalachian mountains he hadn't visited earlier in life.
He also had a special connection to nature. Wild animals would approach him, and any dog or cat would gravitate to him. Wherever he lived, he and Jasenka planted beautiful and fruitful gardens, even in the high desert conditions of Boulder, Colorado, and the windy, salty outcropping that is Grabov Rat. Although he would sometimes say that he would not live long enough to taste the fruits of what he had planted, in his later years he enjoyed ample harvests of grapes, plums, figs, and other fruits.
He also enjoyed many hours of building pirate ships and paper airplanes with his grandson.
Written by Lada Adamic, who misses him very much. April 15, 2016.