John Fizer, Retired Faculty, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, died on August 28, 2007. Professor Fizer taught Slavic Languages & Literature and Comparative Literature and held the title of Professor Emeritus.
There will be a funeral mass at St. Andrew Memorial Church, South Main Street, South Bound Brook, NJ, on Saturday, September 1, 2007, at 11:00 a.m.
John Fizer (Ivan Mychailovich Fizer) was born in Mircha, Ukraine in l925. He survived a harrowing escape from Soviet Ukraine through Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, finding his way—as a marked member of the Ukrainian resistance, all alone, wounded in the leg by a Soviet sniper, and without papers--to a refugee camp in Munich. In the camp, he became an English translator (although his English was, as he himself admitted, as yet rudimentary). He earned his first Phd, in 1949, in Psychology, from The Ukrainian Free University, Munich. The year that he immigrated to the U.S., newly engaged to Maria Kirilivna Uhnenko, whom he met in Munich as her English teacher, he pursued a series of jobs that don’t appear on his c.v., but which included working as a labor organizer for cleaning women, and as a painter of decorative lamps and plates. He ultimately resumed his graduate studies at Columbia. He taught as an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1954-1960, and as a visiting professor at Northwestern University, Columbia University, and Warsaw University. He received numerous professional honors in Ukraine that included an Honorary degree from The Kyiv Mohyla Academy, and his induction into the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine as an Academician. He is survived by his wife, Maria, of 57 years, his four children, Irene, Natalie, George, and Andy Fizer, and by his relatives in Ukraine.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks those who wish to make a donation, to send it, in the name of John Fizer, to the Shevchenko Scientific Society, 63 Fourth Avenue, New York, New York 10003 (www.shevchenko.org); tel. 212-254-5130. All funds will support a new scholarship in his name for young scholars from Ukraine pursuing research in literary studies in the United States.