Stephen Alexander Fisher

April 15, 1924March 10, 2014
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Stephen Alexander Fischer-Galati, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in History at the University of Colorado, known outside of academia as Stephen Fisher, died peacefully on March 10, 2014 in Boulder CO. Born in Romania on April 15, 1924, to Dr. Theodore and Cecilia Fischer-Galati, he escaped the country with his family during the early stages of World War II, finishing his high school studies in Andover, Massachusetts, before attending Harvard University, where he received his A.B. (1945), M.A. (1946) and Ph.D. (1949) in History. In an English class at Harvard, he met his future wife, Anne D'Esterre Pratt. They were married at the Harvard Memorial Chapel on January 20, 1951. Daughter Wendy was born in Boston and daughter Nancy in Detroit. In addition to the University of Colorado, Stephen was a professor at Wayne State University (Detroit); Visiting Professor, Indiana University (Bloomington); MacArthur Professor, New College of the University of South Florida (Sarasota); and Visiting Professor, Central European University (Budapest). In 1967, Stephen conceived the idea of founding an international journal as a means of providing a channel for the resumption of serious research and meaningful dialogue among scholars East and West, through publication of significant contributions to the field of East European history, sociology, economics, literature and other social sciences. For the following forty-two years, nearly one thousand articles by scholars young and old from throughout the world appeared in the East European Quarterly under his editorship. In 1970, he entered into collaboration with Columbia University Press to distribute the East European Monographs series devoted to scholarly studies on, or related to, East Central and Southeastern Europe. The East European Monographs now comprises over 800 volumes. His own research and publication record is equally prolific: Stephen has authored more than 250 articles and contributions to books, and authored or co-authored over 15 books. Stephen received many honors and awards for his scholarship, including Doctor Honoris Causa from Maria Curie-Sklodowska University (Poland, 2006) and the University of Craiova (Romania, 1994); Guggenheim Fellowship (1962); Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1950-51; ) National Endowment for the Humanities (1980, 1981, 1982-1984). He was a member of the Hungarian Academy of Science and the Romanian Academy. His highest honor was being awarded the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal in 2010, for his "lifelong commitment to chronicling the history of East and Central Europe, tireless support of junior scholars in the field, and remarkable legacy as a scholarly publisher, whose works populate the world's great libraries." Stephen was an avid bridge player, a fierce proponent of the net game in tennis and table tennis, and a knowledgeable opera fan. He once stumped the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday Matinee Radio Broadcast expert and won himself a nice set of records. As world traveler who spent countless hours studying train, plane, and boat schedules, only Antarctica remained an unvisited continent. He is preceded in death by his parents, Theodore and Cecilia, and brother Marc. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 63 years, Anne; daughters Wendy Focht and Nancy Tyson and her husband Pete; granddaughters Elizabeth and Lindsay Focht; niece Ann Cecilia Fisher-Galati, and a loyal cadre of former students who know him as "the Chief." A memorial service will be held March 15, 2014 at 1:00PM at the Frasier Meadows Manor Chapel. Please visit to see Stephen's online memorial and share your story.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stephen Alexander Fisher

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August 28, 2014

He was pretty cool

Istvan Deak

March 29, 2014

No one was more prolific in writing, editing and publishing works on Eastern European history than Stephen, and no one was more helpful to colleagues than he was. Stephen was a blessing to the field and the profession; moreover, he had a wonderful sense of humor,

Istvan Deak
Columbia University

Wade Speir

March 25, 2014

Intrepid traveler and lover of life, Stephen's engaging presence and dry humor were a wonderful complement to his towering intelligence. His passionate curiosity never failed to inspire.

marina giurescu

March 14, 2014

Stephen was an exceptional friend to the Giurescu family - three generations strong. Our lives in the USA would have never been the same without his help, support and encouragement. His intellect, wit and warmth will be sorely missed. May you rest in peace and smile upon us.
Marina Giurescu, Scottsdale, AZ

Lindsay Focht

March 13, 2014

For my dear grandfather, I love you with all of my heart. I will carry on your memory with all the fond ones you left me. Rest in peace. Love lindsay

March 12, 2014

Dr. Stephen Fischer-Galati was a very special History Professor to me as I finished my Ph.D. in 1970. He was always a warm, caring human being and a very important role model as a professional historian. I treasured the seminars and classes and especially appreciated the help and support he gave me as I prepared to defend my graduate work and dissertation. Stephen stepped in at the last minute to cover one of my fields of study in Russian history when Professor Thomas Riha disappeared from Boulder and the CU campus. Dr. Riha had been my major Russian History advisor. In the later years, Stephen was supporting and encouraging of my professional activities as a historian. He and his family were warm, welcoming and hospitable to our family in our early years in Colorado we cherished our association with them.

Brooks Van Everen
Lafayette, CO