Michal Stotler, 44, passed away on April 8 in Indian Hills, Colorado. Michal was born on March 2, 1979 in Chelm, Poland, to his loving mother Joanna Zawadiak. Michal lived a life marked by an insatiable curiosity to understand the world in which he lived, as illustrated by his captivation of literature, science, and language.  Inspired by his mother’s career as a doctor, his adventurous spirit led him to Chicago where he furthered his studies to eventually become a physician at Porter Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

Michal cherished the majesty of Earth’s natural beauty and its abundance of life. He sought to experience as much of it as possible, through photography and exploration of diverse countries and cultures.

Two generations removed from the devastation of his homeland in World War II, Michal was a lifelong advocate for elevating the civility of humanity. During his impressionable childhood years, Poland was well into the process of rebuilding from the destruction of World War II.  During his final years, Michal was tormented by the travesty occurring in Ukraine–the country just 15 miles from his boyhood home.  Michal and his wife, Jaylin, visited eastern Poland twice during the prolonged war, witnessed the humanitarian crisis and did what they could to help.  They planned to return in June.

Michal sought peace to offset conflict.  He found it in a six pack of special fur-bearing friends.  A dog in need of a home could not find a greater blessing than to cross paths with Michal and Jaylin.  Their rescue pack, including three pups with disabilities, found sanctuary in the arms of loving parents providing routine, personalized care to meet their medical needs, fresh mountain air walks, home-cooked meals, travel, and views from the deck of deer, elk, wild turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and native birds. Michal cultivated an environment where wildlife could find refuge and nourishment. From thoughtful plantings and the creation of water access points to animal rescues, he was their protector.

Michal was uniquely talented. From engineering and design to applying finishing touches, Michal transformed a fixer-upper into Jaylin and his dream home.  To implement his creative planning, he admirably developed self-taught skills as a carpenter, electrician, plumber and landscaper, impressing seasoned professionals.

Fixing things—making things better—was part of his nature.  His home, hospital patients, his surroundings, even himself.  An introspective introvert in a foreign country, Michal contemplated ways to develop meaningful connections. He held few but significant friendships that were treasured. Those who experienced Michal’s love knew it to be pure and profound. He looked outward at the beauty of his surroundings.  He looked inward to understand his role—his place—to find his peace and to make peace for others.

Michal is survived by his wife, Jaylin, of Indian Hills, his mother, Joanna of Chelm, Poland, his brothers Jacek (Ania) Wac of Amsterdam and  Pawel (Ania) Wac of Warsaw, several nieces and nephews- Karolina, Natalia, Thomas, Carter and those he never had the opportunity to meet, and his dogs, Butters, Pierogi, Benji, Missy and Samba. Michal is spiritually reunited with the family’s pack-leader—Pepperoni, the Pekinese who passed on Thanksgiving Day, 2022.

Michal loved the mountains of Colorado and traveled extensively, but his internal compass never stopped pointing homeward as he and Jaylin planned to spend their retirement years in Poland.  While his life ended prematurely, Michal will indeed return to Poland where his ashes will eternally rest close to family and ancestors. Private services of remembrance will be held both locally and in Poland among family members from Colorado, Europe and beyond. In lieu of flowers the family requests you share your favorite memory of Michal in the guest book. Contribution through Paypal or Venmo for the memorial and international travel for the family are being accepted.

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34 thoughts on “Michal Stotler”

  1. You always said I was the center of your universe and I felt it every single day with every fiber of my being. It was supposed to be our lifetimes together…. but I would rather have had 11 years with you by my side and endure the agony of losing you than to have had no time at all. Thank you for loving the best and worst parts of me so deeply and purely. You’ve left this world, but never my heart.

  2. Our time together was not long enough, but I will cherish every moment. From sharing a morning cup of coffee, to learning about trees and plants, to our amazing vacations around the globe, the memories will bring me joy. Your brilliant mind, compassionate heart and spirit of adventure have inspired me to be better and do better. Thank you Michal. All my love, Vickie

  3. Nothing Gold Can Stay – Robert Frost

    Nature’s first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.

    Her early leaf’s a flower;
    But only so an hour.

    Then leaf subsides to leaf,
    So Eden sank to grief,

    So dawn goes down to day
    Nothing gold can stay

  4. Our deepest condolences to Dr. Stotler’s family and all who had him in their lives..
    It is a huge loss for Porter and the community.
    Gone but never forgotten.
    May you rest in peace Dr. Stotler ????

  5. I was always so happy and excited when he came to our unit at Porter. Excited because of his love of life and happy because you knew the quality of care he would provide to our patients. He will be greatly missed as a friend and a wonderful doctor.

  6. Jaylin my heartfelt condolences my friend! Thoughts and prayers for you my Dear Friend! So sorry to hear about your loss, my spirit is with you in this sorrowful time. Michal knew what an amazing person you are! Love Always

  7. Jaylin, I was just looking at Facebook and see your post. I am so saddened for you. I’m just so sorry but like you said glad you had 11 years together. Nothing like we have had together. Our 69th wedding anniversary is May 12th. Looking forward to it. We were married on my mother’s birthday at our home. I plan to come to Community Connections when Jenny hosts Acan. Just to support her!! Love you so much and I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  8. Jaylin, I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve never met your husband but having worked with you and seeing your devotion to public service and helping others means the person you loved and cherished truly must have been a reflection of you. Based on the comments and summary of Michal’s life experiences, passions and perspective, the world is a lesser place without him. May our Creator embrace Michal and look after you.

  9. There is so much to say about Michal but the most noticeable was his smile! We never saw him without it! Remembering all the things about Michal brings tears to our eyes as we miss him daily. We cut firewood together (then shared his home-made cherry hooch:-), chased down an abandoned rooster (Mom was in town), shared pics of vacations and texted each other for advice, ideas, projects or concern for the others well-being.
    Jaylin, Thank You so much for letting us know about Michal’s passing! We know it took a lot of strength! So glad that your father was there to support you! Please remember that we will be here for you. Having you and Michal as neighbors and friends has been a blessing!

    1. He named that rescue rooster Gustavo and was elated to find him a forever home. Michal was such a compassionate soul; I’m grateful you got to experience his companionship for everybody that did was made better.

  10. We are so saddened to hear this. Michal will always be remembered as kind, fun and a great friend. May he rest in peace.

    Rohini & King.

  11. Dearest Jaylin. I am so sorry to hear about Michal’s passing. What a beautiful tribute you did for him. I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. My name is Mimi, Bobby’s wife. I met Mike during his residency at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Mike, Bobby, King, Rohini, and Fahad were a tight group of friends. All five of them helped support each other during their tough residency program. Mike, King and Rohini were all new to America, and together they navigated their lives as immigrants and medical residents. Then there was Bobby.

    Bobby, a social and charismatic guy, brought everyone together. That’s when I came in. Bobby and I were dating, so when his fellow residents were done with their shift and ready to relax ,I was invited to join in. We always end up walking along Diversey Parkway looking for a place to eat, but end up at Duffy’s Tavern for drinks. “ Duffy’s!” we all scream after a rough week.

    During those times Mike, Bobby, King , Rohini , and myself would share stories about our day. We laughed and sighed together. One thing for sure, these group of friends were determine to make it through residency and become doctors.

    I knew Mike as Mike. We did not talk about medicine, since I was not in the same career path as he was. Mike was a good friend. He was kind, cheerful, honest and wholesome. He spoke about his life in Poland, people he left behind and how he missed his pet, a giant rabbit. I asked tons of questions about his pet and when he spoke of it, his eyes would widen and he grinned. That was the first time I saw Mike’s gentle side.

    Mike also told me he loves photography. He was the one who took a candid picture of my husband opening his acceptance letter for fellowship. I bet it was taken at Duffy’s! Till to this day, that single shot Mike took of Bobby still sits on my husband’s desk. It was a reminder of hard work, fortitude, strength, and friendship. This one photo that was captured by Mike symbolized what these five friends endured and accomplished together.

    By husband remained a close friend to Mike. Whenever he was in Colorado, Bobby was always with Mike. As for me, I heard stories of Mike’s accomplishments. For instances, Mike learning veterinarian oncology for his sick dog and carpentry to build an elaborate dog run and a home for his wife.

    Mike, Bobby and I love you. We were there for each other during your residency. We just wished we there in the end, to keep you strong.

  13. Jaylin,
    Our sincere condolences. Knowing Michal was a true privilege. After you text a couple weeks ago, I thought maybe we would be planning a surprise for Michal. The next day I heard the news. It’s been unbelievably hard to wrap my head around. Michal had such a pure heart. He literally gave me the shoes off his feet one day (no exaggeration). He was a skilled physician and I enjoyed taking care of patients along side him. We were so honored to share our wedding day with you both and then to be there for your wedding day. He really loved you and lit up just talking about you . Rest in peace my friend. Please let us know if we can be there to help and support you in any way!

  14. Jaylin,
    There are no words that can express how deeply saddened I am to hear of Michal’s passing. I cannot imagine the pain you and all the family are going through. I remember meeting Michal when he interviewed and then came to work with us when we were Sound Physicians way back when. The thing that I remember most of Michal is his smile and kindness- he never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Michal never lost sight of who he was and where he came from and love for his family both human and furry. I was so honored to share in you and Michal’s happiness on your wedding day it was always clear that he loved you and that you were the light of his life. While I am no longer working at Porter and not living in Colorado anymore I hope you will reach out if there is anything that I can do to help in anyway????

  15. “Best friends are the people in your life who make you laugh louder, smile brighter and live better.” — Unknown
    Despite our disparate backgrounds, we were kindred spirits and shared many interests. I will miss Michal’s presence. He was a fabulous physician: caring, inquisitive, and conscientious. We would often talk about new advances in medicine, different approaches in managing illness, and the best ways to get the patients under our care feeling better and healthier.
    But many times our discussions would just be about other things, a brief respite from the stress and busyness of being physicians. Whether is was about his dogs, my daughters, our wives, travel, marathoning (which he crushed back in 2015), biking, home remodeling, sharing a joke, fretting about national and international politics, enjoying most of the Marvel super hero movies (sorry my friend but anyone toying with the idea of a pet racoon should think the Guardians of the Galaxy is awesome), our brief talks would just make the day that much better.
    We shared the same affinity for ramen, dim sum and, “Chinese broccoli” and will remember him whenever I partake.
    The 29th wedding anniversary trees he helped Julie and me plant we be a living reminder of his friendship. The burr oak and autumn blaze maple are still thriving in our yard.
    Jaylin, our heart aches for you. May those around you support you during these hard times. May you cherish the many memories of Michal. May you have the strength to live for two. May you take comfort in the knowledge that Michal touched many lives, and that those lives are all the richer for it. Despite his absence on this surface, his legacy continues.

  16. Too many thoughts, feelings, emotions. So much sadness. For your wife, your families and friends, and mostly for you.

    Michal your heart was far too big for this world…the ones that knew you, and especially your beautiful wife, my best friend, got to see and experience the magnitude and depth of your infinite love.

    Bask in the peace. Let it surround you. See your light. Feel the love that you are. Recognize your infinite worth that we’ve always been witness to.

    Taking us way back to early 2012, I can still recall like it was yesterday, seeing Jaylin’s ear to ear smile as she walked towards us hand in hand with her “coffee date”. We had dinner where she laughed at basically everything Michal said, it was endearing. Not far down the road, I received I phone call from her bearing news that he proposed, and in one of the most romantic and sweetest way. She radiated with pure joy. I knew Michal to be so thoughtful and meticulous in everything he did and he did it all, with love and care.

    On the other side of pain is power. And that pain is only felt at the equivalence of the care and love that existed. Steering our ships through the angry sea, the waves, the current, pulling us back and forth. Stay the course, and be optimistic – there is land ahoy. I love you Jaylin.

  17. Friday, March 2, 1979

    I was a Senior in high school preparing to attend the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament the following week in St. Paul. Our hockey season ended a week earlier. I probably dusted off my baseball glove and golf clubs that night, hoping to find a few patches of grass amid the melting snow so I could practice during the weekend.

    Meanwhile, a little guy named Michal was taking his first breaths in eastern Poland.

    What were the chances we would one day cross paths?

    What were the chances his courage, intellect and kindness would one day enhance my life?

    What were the chances we’d one day become family?

    It was all impossible.

    Yet, the impossible happened. What a blessing it was.

    What would I tell him if I had one day—one more day, to visit with him? I don’t think one day would be enough for that conversation.

    If only we had the chance.

  18. Michal, you will always be remembered for your warm smile, and for the kindness you showed to all. Your gentle soul is back with your fellow angels, and we are better because you shared the world and your essence with us. Thank you for the gift of joy. Goodbye and rest in peace, until we meet again.

  19. I’ll never forget the first time I came to stay with Michal and Jaylin. They had graciously allowed my friend and I to stay there a few days; and on night one they took us out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. One thing led to another and I found myself sitting in front of the largest margarita I’ve ever had; and across from me I see Michal toting one too, smile on his face.

    I, being 23 at the time, did my best to inhale the the 64 ounce drink before he could but despite my efforts, I couldn’t keep up.

    Unfortunately I ended up a little drunker than anticipated and wound up throwing up on my shoes on the way out of the restaurant.

    Michal was quick to make a joke and not make it awkward or let me feel uncomfortable. I’ll always remember how kind and thoughtful of a person he was.

    Rest in peace Michal.

    1. I remember once when leaving our hospitalist office, hearing someone really wrestling with the doorknob to the 1960s era bathroom across the hall. While offering my assistance, I recognized the voice of the entrapped as Michal’s. He seemed quite calm and collected for someone who had been stuck in there for probably 15 minutes! After a few minutes trying to help him, we both made some calls and he was ultimately emancipated.

      Michal was known in our group as someone incredibly intelligent with a constant thirst for knowledge, often sharing his recent medical readings with the rest of us. He communicated directly, but was quick with a compliment, and consistently advocated for his patients. I will truly miss his perpetual smile, and the way he inspired us all with his dedication to better himself and those around him. His absence was immediately felt among the Porter hospitalists, and our hearts are with Jaylin and the rest of his family.

      1. Hi Jaylin and Mike’s family. I’m so sorry for your loss. I was unaware of Mike’s passing until now. I didn’t know Mike that well but we worked together for years at Porter hospital though I was with a different group. He and his wife invited me few years ago on a hike with our dogs and to check out their beautiful home in which he did this amazing crazy renovation in the mountains. Later I invited Mike to go play disc golf with me, it was his first time not sure if he enjoyed it but we had a good time. I remember his inmense love towards his wife Jaylin and his many dogs for which he built a kennel for them and remember they took them everywhere when they traveled out of the country. One time all three of us bumped at Liberia Airport in Costa Rica just by chance and I remember their love for my home country. I could tell he adored nature, wildlife, exercise, remembered he told me was doing intermittent fasting and had lost some weight and was training for a marathon.
        At work you could tell he was above most doctors and he was always up to date with the latest articles or treatments.
        He loved to joke and make new friends and have meaningful conversations and he was very kind and friendly with me and I’ll never forget that. Prayers to his wife and family. Rest in peace Mike,

  20. I met Michal in July 2007 when we were both interns at Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago. My initial interaction with him occurred when I was on my ER rotation and he accompanied his injured friend who was rolling blading on Lake Shore Drive and fell. He was incredibly gracious throughout his friend’s ordeal and although I recognized Michal’s face from around the hospital he didn’t try to use his status to get any special treatment. First impressions mean a lot and my first impression of Michal as a sweet, caring and humble man remained true throughout the years. When I visited Denver for a job interview in July 2011, Michal was gracious enough to show me some of his favorite parts of the city (including his favorite spot to get spiced vodka!). Even though I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, it was like we hadn’t been apart at all. That’s just how nice he was and that’s what so many people enjoyed about him … a genuinely friendly and kind soul. Michal and I kept in frequent contact with each other over the years and the love and admiration he had for his wife was evident from the get-go. I got to hear about the sweet stories he would occasionally share with me when they were first dating. I enjoyed them all! Jaylin, I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you but I know that Michal will live on in our memories and we’ll never forget him. Michal, I miss you so much, friend.

  21. Everyone loves Michal. He was/is such an intelligent man and brought awe to all who saw his abilities to complete his tasks I am so happy he and Jayin had such a beautiful eleven years of love and memories. Michal always made you feel welcome and made their home so welcoming. Jaylin and Michal were an adorable couple. Michal will be missed.

  22. Jaylin,

    I am profoundly sorry to hear of the death of your husband. From the comments, he seemed to be a remarkable man and such a loving husband. I wish you strength, care, and love as you move through this devastating time.

    If I can do anything for you, please ask.

    with prayers, Judy Fowler

  23. I had the pleasure of working with Michal during his residency in Chicago. I remember his kind and gentle spirit. It was an honor to know him, and I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing. My deepest condolences to his loved ones.

  24. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this ever so difficult time. I was at a loss for words when I heard the news. I worked as a nurse with Dr. Stotler at Porter, and most recently as a nurse practitioner. He welcomed me to my new role without hesitation and made me feel confident. He was incredibly smart and took time to teach and help others, including myself. He always treated patients with such kindness and compassion— I can say this as a colleague and as a family member of a patient he cared for. I found my way to Porter because my grandfather had cancer and was a patient on the oncology unit dozens of times. Dr. Stotler happened to be on one of those times and I will never forget the compassion he showed to my grandfather, grandmother, and myself during one of the most difficult times of our lives.

    Sending helping energy to your family.

  25. I went to the recreation center this morning to exercise. In my thoughts, Michal was there with me. He would have been supportive of my efforts to live a healthier life. I’m sure he’ll often be with me during future sessions at the gym, while riding a bike, or out on a hike. One of my favorite memories with Michal was when he took us to Lazienki Park in Warsaw. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful country. Without Michal, I would never have experienced it. I will always be grateful.

  26. Michal was and always will be like a brother to me. He will always hold a special place in my heart and I will always cherish every memory of the time we have spent together. He was a beautiful soul with an even bigger heart. Always there to help and listen. I will miss you so much Michal!

  27. When asked “what to you do for a living?” Michal would respond with some version of, “I go hiking, biking, travel, take photos, do home projects, and hang out with my wife and pups.” He was not defined by his education or career path and expressed incredible modesty, downplaying his brilliance in medicine. Many of our friends didn’t even know how he spent his work hours. Even though his occupation flew under the radar, I was always impressed by it, by him. During a memorial at the hospital I learned throughout his career he met with more than 50,000 patients. 50,000! 50,000 lives touched and saved by my dear husband.

  28. One of my favorite memories started with you sending messages and photos of a white Pekingese shelter pup throughout the workday. You were sad about how long he had been at the shelter- on multiple occasions-and said he couldn’t leave your mind. You were devastated when you called and learned he was already adopted. Your head hung low when you walked through the door of our home that night. It was the first time I saw sadness in your face and I immediately wanted to replace it with a smile. “I have a surprise for you honey!” I exclaimed as I ran to get the pup; “We’re the ones that adopted him!”

    You fell to the floor with your puppy and rolled around with such elation, “my precious baby white seal; you’re so beautiful.” Throughout the evening you watched the pup’s every move commenting on his intelligence, naivety, and demeanor. “He reminds me of Butters from South Park so that’s what we’ll call him.”

    You adored Butters for 9 years and when he fell ill you administered IV fluids under the skin each night, prepared him home cooked meals, gave him routine medications, and cuddled with him from the moment you came home in your scrubs to bedtime. Since you’ve been gone I’ve been trying to take your place the best I could but today Butters left this world peacefully laying upon your scrubs from your last day of life. The only comfort I have is that he’s with you my dear husband. Our home and our pack will never be the same. Our love for you is never ending.

  29. When Jaylin brought her boyfriend to visit us In OK we went midnight bowling and the whole place was lit up with black lights, strobe lights, etc. Michal and Jaylin were beginners but tried their best and had a good time trying different moves. At one point my husband and I started cracking up, just uncontrollably laughing. Jaylin wondered what was so funny and when Michal turned around we all saw it. Michal had spilled a beer on his lap and the whole crotch of his pants was glowing! He looked down and laughed right along with us. He was a good sport. Every time we got to be with Michał we saw a good man, a kind man.

  30. The first time I ever stayed with Michal and Jaylin, him and I were working on the back pergola for the dogs. He had bent down to put in a rock, and it was somewhat heavy so when he bent down and bent over, he bent in a way which all of his gas came out at once; he had farted so loud that it spooked the squirrels. He then turned around and gave me the most. Michal smile, and said “I don’t know man.” This was probably day 3 of knowing the guy, so knowing how small michals circle was. It’s an honor for him to have that reaction and be that comfortable with me. We laughed and got back to it of course, but even in his passing he paved a way for me to experience life in a whole new way. He was my sisters life partner, biggest fan, and best friend. He made sure to always put her first and make sure she was always happy and never had to struggle. Family extends farther than blood. Family is those you trust your secrets with, hope and dreams, and your life. Michal will always be my family, my brother.

  31. Michal was an exceptional person, always spreading kindness and generosity wherever he went. Even though he lived far away from his family, he was always close to our hearts. We feel a huge emptiness now that he’s gone, and we will forever cherish the precious moments we spent with him. Words can’t describe how deeply saddened we are by his loss. Michal will always be remembered and greatly missed as we move forward in life without him.

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