Obituary for George A. Bubenik
Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
On 23 January, 2018, Dr. George A. Bubenik (75), a member of
the Editorial Board, European Journal of Wildlife Research,
George was born on May 19, 1942, in Brno, Czechoslovakia.
Now, almost 30 years since the collapse of the communist era in
George’s native country, less and less people can realise what it
meant to grow up and work under the dictatorship of commu-
nists. George’s father, an internationally known deer biology
scientist, was fired from his position in 1958 being labelled as
unreliable^ was a stigma for all the family members. George
wished to study natural science; however, he did not receive
permission for that. The only possibility for him to study Bsome
sort of biology^ was dentistry at the Faculty of Medicine,
Charles University. There he graduated with an M.D. in 1967.
(Honestly, he was lucky to not be prevented from gaining any
undergraduate education which happened frequently to young
people originating from a family like George.) No wonder,
when Czechoslovakia was invaded by the Soviet Union and
its satellites in 1968, George did not hesitate and defected first
to Switzerland and later to Canada where he joined his parents
who had got out of their native country earlier. In Canada, he
met his future wife Ella, with whom he has had three children
and seven grandchildren.
Over the period of their 45 years of marriage, Ella became
the pillar of his life and she was his support until the last mo-
ments of his life. She created an invaluable family background
which allowed George to be fully involved in his research. Ella
not only raised their children and cared for the family, but as a
qualified nurse, she also helped him occasionally with his field
work. Later, when their children grew up, Ella travelled with
George across the world being a true companion in life. When
he got ill, he had to take an early retirement and eventually had
to give up his research and many of his hobbies and ultimately
his home. What he never lost was the love and devotion of Ella.
Although this had been an incredibly difficult road for her, she
did her best to handle it with grace.
George was Czech, and Ella was Swiss. They spoke with
their children in their languages, i.e. in Czech and German.
Children picked up enough from friends and neighbours and
school. George and Ella used German as the language for com-
munication between the two of them. It always fascinated me
how masterfully and easily was George switching between
English, German, and Czech during conversation, translating
the meaning from Bthe other language^ depending on who was
just present. From 1976 to 2004, George was a professor in the
Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph.
He was interested first of all in physiology. He also gave inter-
views explaining sneezing, hick-ups, yawning, eye blinking,
and goose bumps, as well as on the Bbiochemistry of love^.
Being influenced by the scientific focus of his father, the
late Dr. Anthony (Tony) Bubenik, George had been interested
primarily in deer physiology. Tony was very proud that his son
continued his antler work and expanded his ideas on antler
growth. They were both brilliant, hardworking, and gracious.
Institute of Animal Science, Prague, Czech Republic
European Journal of Wildlife Research (2018) 64:34