Christo (Rico) Georgieff Stojanoff, 87, beloved husband, father and grandfather passed away of heart failure on March 27, 2022.
He was preceded in death by his parents Kalinka and Georgi. Christo left behind his wife Christine of 58 years, his sons George and Michael, and his grandchildren Bianca and Ruby.
Born in Letnitsa, Bulgaria, he spent his youth in Russe before moving to Sofia where he attended high school and earned a Masters degree in Power Engineering from the University of Sofia. His happiest childhood memories were summers on the family farm in Doyrentsi with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.
Christo lived through the Communist change in Bulgaria and chose the local mountain climbing club instead of joining the Communist party as a leader in training. The mountain climbing club brought him to Dresden, Germany where he enrolled as a Ph.D. student and met his wife Christine. Caught up in the turmoil of the Cold War, Christo emigrated to the West in 1961 by crossing the Iron Curtain in Berlin days after it was announced. Christo became a naturalized American in 1962 and moved to New York City to work for Riverside Research Institute while taking night classes at Columbia University to earn his Ph.D. In 1967 he earned a Humboldt Fellowship which allowed him to complete his Ph.D. in Plasma Physics at the University of Stuttgart, Germany.
Christo was a prolific and innovative scientist becoming an expert in a wide range of fields including plasma physics, thermodynamics, spectroscopy, solar energy, holography and chemistry. He ran the thermodynamics laboratory for the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Germany (RWTH) during the 1970s, the solar institute for Desert Research Institute, Nevada (UNLV) in the 1980s and his own High Temperature Thermodynamics Institute at RWTH during the 1990s. He graduated more than 25 Ph.D.'s, published numerous peer reviewed scientific papers and had a continuous flow of active research projects over his 40 year scientific career. Christo described himself as an experimental physicist and colleagues called him a "one man department."
When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, Christo was finally able to reunite with his mother Kalinka who he had not seen in 30 years. The change allowed Christo to reconnect with his homeland and recover several family properties. Christo loved Bulgaria, its people, cuisine and traditions. In retirement, Christo and Christine spent 17 happy years living and traveling between Nevada, Germany and Bulgaria. Their summers in the small Black Sea coastal town of Sinemorets were especially happy. In 2017, Christo organized a summer long trip through Bulgaria for the whole family which we will never forget.
Christo was an intellectual power house, scientist, engineer, student of history, story teller, counselor, teacher and wonderful husband and father who never shied away from challenges or setbacks. He had a dynamic mind with a life lived all across the world to prove it. He re-invented himself several times and was always forward looking in life.
Christo will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Celebration of life will be held on Friday, April 8th at 10:00 am at Grace Community Church, 1150 Wyoming Street, Boulder City, Nevada.