Louis Michael Colonna-Romano
August 18, 1947 – March 21, 2018
COLONNA-ROMANO, Louis Michael A Scholar and a Gentleman
Louis Michael Colonna-Romano of Boxborough, age 70, passed away in the late afternoon on March 21, 2018.
Born on August 18, 1947, to Gaetans and Carmela in Emerson NJ, Louis was heralded as the first-born son, a prince of the family. A dedicated student from the beginning, he won multiple awards and commendations in primary and secondary school for merit, honor, and science. His peers filled his high school yearbook with comments thanking him for tutoring and assistance.
He obtained his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science – Physics degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. in 1969 and 1971. Louis always felt greatly indebted to Stevens for the role it played in shaping his life, and grateful for the many quests that were set before him because of his higher learning.
Drafted into the US Army in 1970, he found a place at US Army Ballistic Research Laboratories, Aberdeen Proving Ground and altered his focus from the K+ meson particle he researched at Stevens to the K+ Potassium ion. Ever smart and pedantic, he still found time to discuss with a superior officer that a turtle was as much a reptile as a snake.
Louis's lifetime love of reptiles resulted in, when part owner of a pet shop in Maryland, he acquired "Mr. T" the Golden Tegu, a rescued beast of questionable temperament who became a longtime house-mate, and the Chuckwallas, a pair of docile reptiles able to spend hours in a person's lap.
His extensive list of side projects included such highlights as his Lionel O-gauge model trains, expanding the stamp collection started by his father, designing a board game called "Computer-Rage", the Schober "Consolette II" electronic organ, built from a kit, nature photography, and printmaking in his home studio.
After eleven years of federal service, Louis moved north to Massachusetts to do semiconductor research work for Digital Equipment Corporation. While there, he received his Master of Business Administration from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in May of 1989.
On October 21, 1989, Louis brought home his most beloved companion bird, the African Grey parrot, "Galileo". She was named before her gender was known, but it stuck and for the next 29 years, she was his family waiting for him at home. Always happy to see him and sing her greetings. She learned to speak in his voice, and to say phrases that highlighted his own personal sense of whimsy.
He left DEC in 1992 as part of the Engineers into Education incentive program. Focusing on what he felt was his true calling, teaching, he also continued to apply his programming skills toward his physics research.
Louis embraced the teaching philosophy and everywhere he went he filled the role of a teacher. He had opinions on everything and could have an educated discussion on any topic. Due to his razor sharp wit, he could often be counted on to include a relevant line or two of classical poetry or historical reference in a conversation.
While Louis may not have had any biological children, he was as a father, an uncle, and a mentor to his thousands of students. He loved to pass on the knowledge he had. Always joking that he had no desire to protect himself from the students, he never had formal office hours, instead giving time and attention to anyone who entered his office. He expected a high level of dedication to the occupation of being a student but had great confidence in his pupils. He felt that if he could do it, then anyone could and all that was necessary was application and commitment.
He would refer to his extensive personal library as "The Collection" and would add books based on not only his varied personal tastes but also what would be a good addition to the growing, living collection that surrounded him and kept him company as friends with their stories.
Louis' impressive skill set extended to the trades as well and he had the knowledge and capability to do any necessary work on his own house. Yet always he was attired as a Gentleman. He could be seen raking leaves on a hot afternoon in the same oxford shirt, pressed slacks, and loafers that he would wear to a faculty meeting.
Louis considered the study of physics to be the study of everything. He would say, "I'm never bored, I'm doing physics problems in my head". The respect Louis had for his peers is clear from the vast collection of their published papers he saved. He was as proud of their publications as he was of his own. He also kept abreast of current research literature through several professional organizations and many periodicals.
A desire for privacy may have caused Louis to hold back and not share his failing health with his friends, but he expressed his strong feelings about his condition with frequent donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. He claimed he had lived a full life and he could accept his own disorder, but through all the combined moments sitting in the cancer center waiting room, he was moved to tears every time he saw a child facing the same challenges he was himself. Louis is survived by his brother John of Stow Massachusetts; his nephew Jeremiah with wife Kaitlin and son Hemming of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and his niece Jana of Stow Massachusetts.
A memorial visitation will be held at Duckett Funeral Home of J.S. Waterman & Sons, in Sudbury MA on April 6, from 5-8pm, and interment will be at the Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, NJ. He will be joining his parents, grandparents, and extended family whom we are sure are as proud of him as those he leaves behind. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to St. Jude for cancer research or to a higher education institution.