John Manuel Fontenla

John M. Fontenla, 69, of Simpsonville, husband of Graciela Fontenla of 39 years, died at home on Thursday, January 11, 2018 while surrounded by his family.

Born October 28, 1948 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was a son of the late Juan Manuel and Flora Buedo Fontenla.

In addition to his wife, Graciela, Mr. Fontenla is survived by two sons, Santi and Juan.

Condolences to the family of John Manuel Fontenla

  • Tom Woods
    6 years ago

    Dear Graciela and family,
    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. He is a great solar scientist and I have enjoyed many years of working with him, first at HAO and then at LASP. He did so much for our NASA SORCE mission with his numerous contributions for the SORCE Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) data analysis and his extensive modeling of the solar radiation. I’ll miss him.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
    With deepest sympathy,
    Tom Woods

  • Dear family of Juan

    he was a very important corner stone for solar atmosphere research. I have met him several time and I was impressed by his know how. The solar community is grateful for his work and he will stay very positive in our memories.

    With my sincere condolences
    Werner Schmutz, PMOD/WRC, Switzerland

  • Gérard Thuillier
    6 years ago

    Dear Graciala and family

    I received this morning this bad news. I remember the collaboration with Juan which was very positive, important and interesting, so much that some articles were published together.

    in particular, I clearly remember two scientific meetings that allowed us to meet in Italy and US, and likely in some other places.

    I am very sad. Juan was a very great solar physics and it was a great honnor working with Juan.

    Accept my sincere sympathy ,

    Gerard Thuillier


  • Enrico Landi
    6 years ago

    Dear Family of Juan,

    I just learned about these very bad news. I am deeply saddened, and the whole scientific community has just suffered a big loss. I remember all the times we met in Boulder over these years, and the many conversations we had on science and other things. He was a great scientist and a great man, whom I will deeply miss — meeting him and working with him have meant a lot to me at all levels.

    With my deepest sympathy,

    Enrico Landi
    University of Michigan

  • Dear Family of Juan,

    We just learned of the passing of Juan. He was a very creative and dedicated scientist and made many important contributions to our solar community. He will surely be missed by you and by his colleagues. His memory will always be with us.

    In deepest sympathy,
    W. Kent Tobiska
    Space Environment Technologies

  • Dong Wu
    6 years ago

    Dear Graciela and family,

    Juan’s passion for his research had impressed many of us. We were shocked and saddened to hear this news. It’s a great loss for the sun-climate community, and he will be deeply missed.

    With prayers and sympathy,
    Dong Wu
    NASA Goddard

  • Jae N. Lee
    6 years ago

    Dear Fontenla Family,

    I am so sad to hear about your loss. He is a great scientist, and a nice colleague of mine. I am so grateful for time of collaboration and inspiring conversation with Juan. He will be truly missed.

    Grace of God,
    Jae N. Lee
    University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • KD Leka
    6 years ago

    Dearest Gracie; I enjoyed so many inspiring and creative conversations with Juan — on science and on life and on the joy and craziness of both. I was so glad when he joined NWRA, and was sad that his time just down the hall was short before moving. And now sadder still — we never got around to the projects we spoke about and planned. I missed both of you when you moved, and I am so sorry to hear the news now. *hugs* -KD Leka

  • Dear Fontenla Family,
    It is with sadness that we heard late last week that Juan has passed. This unexpected news shocked many at NWRA. Juan was a well-respected, creative scientist and a well-liked colleague. We share in your grief that he passed before he could enjoy more of the warm climate and retirement in South Carolina.
    With sympathy,
    Joan Oltman-Shay, President NWRA
    Don Delisi, Chairman and Founder NWRA

  • Meers Oppenheim
    6 years ago

    Dear Mrs. Fontenla and Family,

    I just learned of Juan’s passing with great sadness. We have been collaborating for the last few years on a project and he taught me so much about the physics of the sun and about intellectual rigor and honesty. He was a tremendously good scientist who worked hard to understand complex systems. He will be greatly missed.

    Yours, Meers Oppenheim

  • Jeff Forbes
    6 years ago

    Dear Fontenla Family,
    I was saddened to recently learn of Juan’s passing. I worked with him on a project at the University of Colorado for 6 years. He was an excellent, inquisitive scientist. Most of all, I remember him as a very kind and gentle person. He will be missed by many.
    With Sympathy,
    Jeff Forbes

  • Daniel Melendez
    6 years ago

    Querida Graciela y familia,

    Me sorprendió y apenó mucho la noticia de Juan. Siempre fue un exelente amigo y científico, con quien tuve gratas e inspiradoras conversaciones en Huntsville y luego en visitas a CO. Me impresionó mucho cuando aun trabajando fuera del ámbito científico se mantuvo relevantemente activo en la astronomía solar. Juan fue un lider científico y humano por su humildad y genuino ser. Perdí el rastro con mis movidas pero lo recuerdo con gran admiración y cariño al igual que a uds. Mis condolencias y respetos.

  • Mariangel Fedrizzi
    6 years ago

    Dear Fontenla Family,

    I am very suprised and sad to hear about Juan’s passing. It was a privilege to work with him. To Juan’s family, may the peace which comes from the memories of love shared comfort you now and in the days ahead. Rest in peace, Juan.

    Mariangel Fedrizzi
    University of Colorado

  • Chad Madsen
    6 years ago

    Dear Fontenla Family,

    It was an honor to work with Juan. His powerful contributions to the field of solar physics are the primary reason I have a career, and his influence on the field will be felt for generations. We have all lost a truly brilliant mind. May his legacy as a caring and diligent colleague, husband, and father continue to give us comfort in these difficult times. Rest in peace, Juan.

    Chad Madsen
    Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

  • Philippe Bourdin
    6 years ago

    I knew Prof. Fontenla only from his scientific publications, but already from there, he inspired me and gave me good ideas for my own research. He will not be forgotten from my perspective. I would like to his family that I feel sorry for their loss. Thank you.

    Philippe Bourdin
    Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz/Austria

  • Vial Jean-Claude
    6 years ago

    Dear Juan’s family,
    I heard of Juan’s passing through Solarnews that I received today. I am deeply shocked because I have known Juan for maybe thirty years, before he moved to the USA. He was such a rigorous and profilic scientist and also an independent mind! And a good and reliable friend whom I welcomed in my Institute and in my house and who welcomed me when I was in Boulder and he lived in Lafayette. We had a nice walk (and picnic) in the mountains with Andy Skumanich. I am deeply moved. I present his wife and his sons he was so proud of, my sincere condoleances. Jean-Claude

  • Dear Family of Juan,
    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. Juan was a respected and excellent scientist in the solar physics community, and it is a great loss for all of us that he has passed away. But although he is no longer with us, his strong influence on the field of solar physics will last for a long time. The solar community is grateful for his work and he will stay very positive in our memories. I think among other things to his last exceptional work on the physical modeling of solar spectral and total irradiance in recent solar cycles. He gave me good ideas for my own research. Rest in peace, Juan. With my sincere condolences,
    Mustapha MEFTAH, CNRS/LATMOS – Paris Saclay University, France

  • Hui Tian
    6 years ago

    Dear Juan’s Family,

    I am very sorry to hear that Juan passed away. Juan is a very successful solar physicist. And more importantly, he is a very kind person and is always willing to help young people in our community. We used to collaborate on a project on solar Lyman-alpha spectra about 10 years ago. The collaboration was very successful and and i learnt a lot through discussion with Juan. I also had quite a few nice discussions with Juan when i worked in Boulder. Juan is a true expert in the modeling of the solar atmosphere. His passing away is really a big loss of the international solar physics community. We will remember Juan for ever.

    Hui Tian
    Assistant professor
    Peking University, China

  • Dear Family of Juan,

    with deep sadness I have learned about Juan’s loss. He was an excellent and careful scientist and contributed important work to the field of solar atmosphere modelling and related fields. I am grateful for the time I could work with him at LASP. He will be truly missed.
    With sympathy,
    Margit Haberreiter, PMOD/WRC, Switzerland

  • Mariela Vieytes
    6 years ago

    Querida Graciela y familia,
    Me acabo de enterar de la tristísima noticia y aun no lo puedo creer.
    A fin de año intercambié mails por trabajo y saludos para las fiestas con Juan.
    Estos años en los que colaboramos, aprendí mucho, él siempre tenía ideas muy claras y una gran creatividad y capacidad para llevar a cabo lo que se proponía. Las veces que tuve la suerte de viajar y trabajar con él en Boulder, volvía a Buenos Aires con nuevas herramientas y proyectos a desarrollar. Siempre respondía mis numerosos emails llenos de preguntas!
    En las largas jornadas de trabajo cuando iba a Boulder, siempre había un rato o un almuerzo en donde charlar con él era un gran placer.
    Seguiré trabajando con el SRPM y usando todo lo que pude aprender con él. Siempre le voy a estar agradecida por las oportunidades que me brindó.
    Un gran abrazo para ustedes, su familia, de la cual él siempre hablaba y se sentía orgulloso.
    Gracias Juan! Buen viaje!

    Mariela Vieytes
    IAFE, Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Estimada familia Fontenla
    Siento una gran tristeza por la noticia. Compartí con Juan los primeros años de su carrera de física solar en el Observatorio de Física Cósmica de San Miguel. Siempre acompañó los trabajos y las ideas de todo el equipo, y desde sus largos silencios de pensamiento profundo finalmente aportaba su firme, critica y valiosa opinión y su oferta de colaboración incondicional, una característica poco común. Agudo observador, de gran humanidad y mucho candor y sana inocencia en su relación con todos, me deja estos recuerdos para acompañarme de ahora en mas.
    Acompaño a su vez a toda su familia en estos momentos y les deseo que los puedan transitar en paz.
    Hugo Molnar

  • Marcos Machado
    6 years ago

    Dear Gracie la and chicos,

    I just learned the sad news, as you know, as well as Hugo Molnar, I’ve now Juan since the San Miguel times, and we aso shared time in the USA at Huntsville. Everything I could say I think it has been said already, so that I just want to express the sorrow that my family and I feel since yesterday, they all send their condolences.
    Para vos Graciela un beso grande de todos.

    Marcos Machado

  • Dear Juan’s family:
    I was so saddened and shocked to see of Juan’s passing. We worked together and published a paper in the 1980s. I really enjoyed working with him and talking with him when we infrequently met years later.
    Again, I am so sorry that he is gone.
    Art Poland

  • Susan Thibodeau
    6 years ago

    Dear Fontela Family: My deepest sympathy for the family and friends of John. We will never get used to losing our loved ones in death because as Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “We were created with everlasting life in view.” But may you find comfort in knowing that Almighty God has promised that soon he will swallow up death forever along with the pain that it brings. (Isaiah 25:8) God has also promised that he will return John to you as it says at John 5:28,29. You can also learn more about what happens when a loved one dies at

  • I wish all the best to his children in life. First of all, I wish to never meet during their professional life/career a person as their father. John Fontenla was the referee of my paper, and he and his collaborators from Boston University, one of them had left a massage here, Meers Oppenheim) lifted my work, benefited from it financially, and despite my numerous pleas at least acknowledge my work, non of them showed scientific integrity.

    These kind of people destroyed my scientific career, and my family. And who knows how many others.

    Edisher Kaghashvili

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