Dan D. Mrkich, 1939-2005
It is with great sadness that the Tesla
Memorial Society announces the passing on Wednesday, August 31, 2005,
of Mr. Dan Mrkich, an active, honored and respected member of the
Society Executive Board. While he was never a smoker, he succumbed
to lung cancer first diagnosed on December 23, 2004. He fought and
worked to the end.
Mr. Mrkich combined lifelong careers of
diplomat and author. Born in the former Yugoslavia, he came to
Canada at the age of 19. He worked as a steelworker and lumberjack
before gaining his university degree. This was the background that
served him so well as both trade negotiator and author.
Mr. Mrkich retired in 2004 from the
Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. On
February 25, 2003 he was awarded Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s
Golden Jubilee Medal for having made “a significant contribution to
Canada.” Mr. Mrkich’s responsibilities for international trade
required extensive travel in pursuit of Canada’s trade interests.
This gave him a much broader access to the nuances of the many
different nationalities and societies with which he came in contact.
Mr. Mrkich was the published author of
nine books ranging from biographies and histories to popular fiction
plus numerous articles and other contributions. He was a talented
wordsmith and a tireless researcher. Book subject matter ranged from
the biography of actor James Dean’s boyhood to the romance of life
in northern Canada.
Mr. Mrkich’s interest in Nikola Tesla
far exceeded the normal ethnic connection of people of similar Slavic
backgrounds. As an eighth-grader he attended the same High School
(Higher Real Gymnasium) attended by Tesla. And for one year he lived
in the same little house where Tesla had lived 85 years earlier. His
2003 biography Nikola Tesla, The European Years addresses this
early formative part of Tesla’s life and professional career so
regularly overlooked by the many other Tesla biographers.
The Tesla Memorial Society wishes to
express its most sincere condolences to Dan’s wife, Susan, his sons
Alexander and Soren and his daughter Astrid. On a purely personal
basis, I want to tell Susan and his grown children of the loss I
feel. It is beyond that of a colleague but as a dear friend with
whom I’ve worked so closely these several years.
H. Terbo, Executive
Secretary, September 2, 2005