Dr. Jiří (George) Krupička of Edmonton passed away on Thursday, April 24, 2014, just 11 days before his 101st birthday.
Left to cherish his memory are his daughter Irena Blodgett (Edward); grandsons, Martin Horak (Amanda) and Peter Boulton (Lisa); great-grandsons, Jacob and Oliver Horak; and numerous friends on both sides of the ocean. George was predeceased by his wife Ada, and daughter and son-in-law, Helena and Arnost Horak.
RNDr. Jiří Krupička, Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta, was born on May 5, 1913 in Prague, present-day Czech Republic. He studied modern languages there, and in 1936 he joined the Business Academy as professor of English. In addition to his humanities background, he had always been attracted by the natural sciences, geology in particular, and in 1947 he completed his studies in natural sciences with a doctorate from Charles University. He then accepted a position at the University Petrographic Institute.
After February 1948, however, the political situation changed and his native country was taken over by the communists. Jiří Krupička was arrested as he attempted to cross the border with the manuscript of his essay, Man and Mankind. According to the testimony of inmates, Jiří was very popular in the uranium-mining labor camps, where he organized discussions and taught English. After serving ten years of his 16-year sentence, he was released in 1960 on a general amnesty for political prisoners. He then worked for three years as a laborer. Not until the age of 50 was he able to resume his career as a geologist.
Dr. Krupička continued to be politically engaged and participated in the "Prague Spring" of 1968. The same year he helped organize the 23rd International Geological Congress in Prague, where he met a fellow geologist Dr. R.A. Burwash of Edmonton. When the Soviet army invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968, Dr. Krupička immigrated to Canada. With the support of Dr. R.A. Burwash and others, the Department of Geology quickly offered Jiří Krupička a position at the University of Alberta. His geological research specialized in metamorphic petrology with emphasis on the Canadian Shield (surface and basement) and the Western Cordillera of North America. While working in the field, Dr. Krupička climbed to the summit of Kilimanjaro at the age of 65. He retired from the University in 1988.
Dr. Krupička was a prolific writer who published numerous books in his native language – Czech as well as in English. He was deeply interested in the historical and philosophical causes of world events and the problems of the relation between man and society, as well as the effect of science on our world. His books and his work received special awards, such as the Czech PEN Club award for lifetime achievement, the State Medal of Merit in the Field of Science, and the Masaryk Medal of the Czech Republic.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.