Obituary: Michael Muftic, M.D.
Michael Muftic, M.D., passed away on Aug. 14, 2015, due to complications from colon cancer. He died peacefully surrounded by family and with Felicia, his wife of 54 years, holding his hand. He was 82 years old.
Dr. Muftic was born in Ulcinj, Montenegro (at the time part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia), on Jan. 18, 1933. His birth name was Miodrag which was later changed to Michael when he became a naturalized US citizen. His father, Sevki Muftic, was the Royal Governor and his mother, Emina Muftic (nee Celar), came from a distinguished family in Herzegovina. Dr. Muftic was the youngest of three children, including his brother Hajro and his sister Sabina.
As a child, Mike witnessed first-hand the deprivations and horrors of World War II, which tore apart his family and led to the rise of a Communist dictatorship in his country. Disillusioned with Communism, and determined to make a better life for himself, Mike obtained an undergraduate degree in medicine from the University of Zagreb, Croatia (1954), and eventually escaped to the West.
Mike continued his medical studies at the Free University of Berlin where he met his future wife, Felicia Anne Boillot, an American exchange student from Northwestern University. In 1961, under the tutelage of Dr. Rudolf Nissen, he graduated from the University of Basel, Switzerland, with a M.D. and Ph.D. He emigrated shortly thereafter to the United States where he interned at St. Clare’s Hospital, New York City under the mentorship of Dr. John Madden, President of the U.S. College of Surgeons. Mike and Felicia eventually settled in Denver, Colo., where Mike was Chief Resident at General Rose Hospital from 1962-1966. He entered private practice as an OB/GYN in 1965.
During his medical career, Mike delivered over 12,000 babies and dedicated almost every waking moment to his patients’ heath and to the advancement of high quality medical care for both women and men in Colorado. He held several professional positions, including: Assistant Clinical Professor in OB/GYN, CU Medical Center; Chairman of the Peer Review Committee, Colorado Foundation for Medical Care; Chairman of the Department of OB/GYN, Mercy Medical Center; Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Northern Colorado; Member of the Executive Board, Denver General Hospital; Member of the Board of Directors, the Ethics Committee, and the Government Relations Committee of the Denver Medical Society; Delegate to the Colorado Medical Society, Denver Medical Society; and, Vice President of the International Advisory Board for Medical Studies in English, University of Zagreb Medical School
Throughout his life, Mike was additionally devoted to making a difference through community service. As a new U.S. citizen, he championed the development of neighborhood health centers under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and, toward his twilight, he served on the Advisory Board of 9Health Fairs. In between, he brought unbridled and boundless energy to several leadership positions, including: Trustee, University of Northern Colorado (1999-2003); Board of Directors, National Sports Center for the Disabled (2000-2004); Board of Directors, Mental Health Association of Colorado; Board of Directors, Samaritan Institute of America and Japan; Board of Directors, Regis College; Chairman, Physicians of Colorado for the United Way; Vice president, UNICEF; President, Denver Lyric Opera; President, Denver Teacher’s Awards (1998-2000); Board of Directors, Colorado Women’s Cancer Control Initiative; Board of Directors, Denver Rotary Club #31; Fellow, Denver Rotary Club Foundation and the Rotary Foundation; and, Honorary Member, Winter Park-Fraser Valley Rotary Club. The Winter Park Fraser Valley Rotary Club’s “Service Above Self” award is named in his honor for his humanitarian work around the world.
In addition to all his professional and humanitarian achievements, Dr. Muftic played a significant role in the political life of Colorado and the nation. From 1977-1986, he was a Democratic National Committeeman of Colorado. He served as the Chairman of Ethnic Groups of America for the Democratic National Committee and Member of the Democratic Party Reform Commission. In 1979, Dr. Muftic was honored to be part of the official U.S. delegation to the funeral of Edvard Kardelj, Vice President of Yugoslavia. He accompanied then Senator Joseph Biden and Ambassador Averell Harriman and Pamela Harriman on that trip. He stayed active in politics up until very recently and worked tirelessly to support candidates in whom he believed and to promote causes about which he felt genuine passion.
In 2001, Dr. Muftic was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which forced him to retire from practicing medicine full time. He battled fiercely against the disease and upon being declared cancer-free in 2003, and with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, Mike founded Melem USA LLC, an import-distribution business of skin-care products from Croatia. As one Rotarian mentioned, “I can’t remember a time when a warm greeting from Mike didn’t include his reaching into what must have been huge coat pockets to pull out a gift of Melem.”
Mike adopted American football as his favorite sport and was a lifelong fan of the Denver Broncos, never failing to miss a game either at Mile High Stadium or on TV. He was also an avid skier and enthusiastic tennis player.
Dr. Muftic is survived by his wife Felicia, his sister Sabina, his daughters Tanya Streicher and Mariana Kindig, his son Theodore Muftic, his sons-in-law Wilfried Streicher and Todd Kindig, and his grandchildren, Sydney Streicher, Nikolaus Streicher, Heidi Streicher and Maximilian Muftic.
A Memorial Service is planned for Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Church of Eternal Hills in Tabernash, Colo., at 11 a.m.. A separate service is planned to be held in Denver, Colo., on Sept. 15, with details still being finalized.
Notes of condolences can be sent to Felicia Muftic, PO Box 146, Winter Park, CO 80482 or posted at http://www.grandcountymortuary.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations, designated in memory of Dr. Michael Muftic, be given to The Rotary Foundation, c/o The Rotary Club of Denver, 1900 Grant Street, Suite 850, Denver, CO 80203 or to the National Sports Center for the Disabled, 1801 Mile Hi Stadium Circle, Suite 1500, Denver, CO 80204.
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