Remembering – Obituary for Joseph Lee Roti Roti

Buchanan Loss • Obituary for Joseph Lee Roti Roti • Feb. 19 2023

Submitted by Donna Roti Roti Resetar
Joseph Lee Roti Roti79October 12, 1943February 19, 2023
Celebration of Life – Joseph Lee Roti Roti

Joseph Lee Roti Roti, PhD, born October 12, 1943, passed away February 19, 2023, at the age of 79. He was the beloved husband of Patricia Roti Roti (Wilhelm) and to the late Stephanie Pagano (Kestranek); dear son of the late Donald and Shirley Louise (Lemmer) Roti Roti; dear brother to Anne (Thomas) Saal, Mary (Douglas Rogers) Roti Roti, Donna (Alan) Resetar, Elizabeth (Bill) Hendrick, Jon (Marjorie) Roti Roti; beloved step-father to Meaghan (Chris) Meyer, James (Melissa) Gansmann, Lori (Dave Moreland) Gray, and Kelly (Ken Cope) Nessel; doting grandfather to Lauren (Pedro Silva) Gray, Taylor (Brook Cash) Gray, Sierra Nessel, Matthew, Patrick, and Caroline Meyer, and Joey Gansmann; dear uncle to 7 nieces and nephews and great-uncle to 16.

Joseph spent most of his youth in Buchanan, where he was active in Boy Scouts for ten years and earned Eagle Scout honors. He served as an altar boy for St. Anthony’s Church for eight years. While at Buchanan High School he was active in sports, the Latin Club and the Electronics Club. He graduated from Buchanan High School as an honor student in 1961 and was the recipient of the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award. He was awarded a four-year tuition scholarship from Michigan Technological University, where he earned his BS degree in 1965.

Joseph continued his studies at the University of Rochester and earned a PhD in Biophysics in 1972, followed by a postdoctoral year at the University of Florida. He was on the faculty at the University of Utah until 1985 when he joined Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He served as the director of the Cancer Biology Division from 1985-2010 at which time he retired with the honor of Professor Emeritus.

Joseph’s scientific contributions to the field of radiation biology were vast. He was among the first to show that heat shock caused altered binding of nuclear proteins, which inhibits DNA repair and replication. He published more than 150 papers and book chapters in his field and served on the editorial board of several respected scientific journals. In 2006, he received the prestigious J. Eugene Robinson Award from the Society for Thermal Medicine for his outstanding contributions to hyperthermic oncology. He also held honors from Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi and was inducted into the Academy of Arts and Sciences at Michigan Tech in 2000.

Outside of Joe’s immense research contributions, he found great fulfillment in many activities. He was an avid lover of nature and astronomy from his Boy Scout years to the end of his life. He became a Master Naturalist and an accomplished nature photographer concentrating on insects, especially dragonflies. His attachment to Buchanan was such that he built a second home here and became a benefactor of the Buchanan Art Center (now the Roti Roti Art Center of Buchanan). His photographs have been displayed at the Art Center in the past.

Joe was a kind, generous, quiet, thoughtful, and beautiful soul whose mark on this world was immense and who will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all who were fortunate enough to know him.

Services:  In celebration of Joe’s life, a special gathering will be held at the Roti Roti Art Center of Buchanan located at 117 W Front Street, Buchanan, Michigan on Saturday, February 25, 2023 from 12pm-3pm. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Roti Roti Art Center of Buchanan, Washington University School of Medicine, or Michigan Technological University.

Remembering – Joseph Lee Roti Roti

About Roti Roti Art Center of Buchanan: The mission of the Roti Roti Art Center of Buchanan is to provide a place in our community dedicated to nurturing the arts by providing a quality educational program for all ages, as well as gallery exhibits, sales opportunities, and a gift shop that are supportive of class offerings and local artists, thereby enabling the Center to creatively enlist the power of the arts in promoting positive social change.

  • Hours:
    • Wed-Sun ~ Noon-6
    • Mon-Tue ~ Closed (Classes Only)

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