Dr. Boris J. Stojanovic passed away on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at OCH Regional Medical Center. A private service for Dr. Stojanovic will be held at a later date.
He was born in Zajecar, Serbia, Yugoslavia, on November 29, 1919, a son of Jovan and Leposava Stojanovic and grew up on his family’s farm helping in the vineyards and grape harvesting and processing.
After graduating from the Realgymnasium, he entered the Military Academy in Belgrade and was promoted to second lieutenant in October 1940, just before the outbreak of World War II. The war found him serving in the Royal Yugoslav Army. He fought the invading German Army and was captured and deported to Germany in 1941.
At the end of the war, after spending four years in the P.O.W. camps, he enrolled at the University of Bonn Germany and earned a doctoral degree in agricultural chemistry (1950). Following his graduation he was a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Stollenwerk’s research laboratory.
In 1950 he married Miss Elisabeth Selders from the Netherlands and they migrated to the United States, (Ithaca, N.Y.), the next year.
The first several months were spent on a dairy farm near Ithaca, where he assisted with farm chores. Later that year he accepted a research staff position in soil microbiology at Cornell University and later enrolled in the Cornell Graduate School where he earned the doctor of philosophy degree in microbiology and biochemistry (1956).
He then joined the staff at Mississippi State University as soil microbiologist in the Department of Agronomy and was responsible for the first soil microbiology teaching and research program at Mississippi State University.
In June 1957, Dr. and Mrs. Stojanovic received their naturalization papers and became American citizens.
His research at MSU led to the development of microbiological parameters for the assessment of the organic nitrogen pool in Mississippi soils and to the selection of new bacterial strains for nodulation of the soybean and other legumes.
Dr. Stojanovic’s research also made significant contributions to reducing pesticide pollution in the environment. Supported by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture he developed methods for the safe disposal of waste pesticides by microbiological breakdown in soils and for disposal of empty pesticide containers by thermal degradation.
He and co-scientists, with grant support from the U.S. Air Force, also developed a system for safe incineration and scrubbing of toxic gases from agents Orange I and Orange II herbicides and from the high level of Dioxin released from them.
The U.S. Air Force used this technology to safely dispose of hundreds of thousands of gallons of deadly herbicide Orange stored in Mississippi for years following the Vietnam War era.
Dr. Stojanovic made a complete change in his career when he was transferred to the Horticulture Department and became professor of enology and microbiology and director of the A.B. McKay Food Research and Enology Laboratory in 1974.
The physical facility of the laboratory had yet to be built, and he was awarded a travel grant from the Mississippi State University Development Foundation to study enological and viticultural programs and facilities in the United States, Canada and the wine-producing countries of Western Europe.
He used the information gained to design an Enology laboratory that is unique in physical lay-out and mission.
The Swiss Chalet-type building was erected on the campus of Mississippi State University. It housed a complete, modern processing plant- pilot winery- and chemical and microbiological research laboratories.
The overall objective of the program was to reestablish the wine industry that flourished in Mississippi some one hundred years ago.
Under his leadership the enology and viticulture program assisted in the development and establishment of five wineries in the State. He also organized a southern regional project in which ten southern states participated.
Dr. Stojanovic developed a curriculum in Viticulture and Enology, which graduated a number of young men and women all of whom were later employed by the wine industry.
Even though administering the enology program was a full-time job, Dr. Stojanovic still found time to teach courses in Enology each semester and to direct research by graduate students. He has authored and coauthored some hundred scientific papers, organized and/or attended 27 conferences and presented 146 papers and /or talks.
Dr. Stojanovic was the recipient of many awards and recognitions for excellence in research, teaching and service.
He was one of the earlier recipients of the “Agricultural Professor of the Year” award by the Mississippi State chapter of Alpha Zeta, award of “Merit for Research” by Gamma Sigma Delta chapter, “Research Award” by MSU Alumni Association and is listed in “American Men of Science”, “Who is Who in American Education”, “Personalities of the South”, and the “Directory of the Environmental Scientists” of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST).
He was elected visiting scientist of the American Society of Agronomy, and elected professional Enologist by the American Society of Enology.
He was presented a citation by the South Central Bell Telephone Company for distinguished service to the state, and was honored by the Senate and House of Representatives of Mississippi for distinguished service to the State, was presented Honorary Citizen citation by the city of Carthage, Miss., was awarded the “Montieth Trophy” award from the Vinifera Grape Growers Association for the successful establishment of the enology program in Mississippi, and was selected to serve on the translator bank of MSU for Serbo-Croatian and German languages to assist business and industry in foreign trade participation.
Dr. Stojanovic held membership in 17 professional societies, four honor societies, Sigma Xi, Gamma Sigma Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Tau Sigma, and civic societies and /or organizations, and served on numerous committees.
He served on the editorial board of the “Journal of Environmental Quality” and has been invited reviewer for the “American Journal of Enology and Viticulture”, and the “Institute of Food Technologists”.
Dr. Stojanovic retired after 30 years of dedicated service to Mississippi State University and Mississippi.
He is survived by his wife Betty.
Memorial donations may be made to the MSU Mitchell Memorial Library or to a charity of one’s choice.
Guests may sign the register online at http://www.welchfuneralhomesinc.com .