Friday: Kennywood Park A HUGE Amusement Park with rides for children of all ages and a Serbian Day Program at 6:00 featuring the SNF Person of the Year Award and dancers from various Serbian colonies.
In 2009, the young dancers came from Windsor, Ontario, Canada! People love to come for all the above AND the barbequed lamb! Umm!
The lamb’s good, even in the rain!
The Sargeants & Friends
Afterwards, it’s down to the American Serbian Club on Pittsburgh’s South Side where hundreds and hundreds of people gather to eat chevapchis, socialize with friends they haven’t seen in a long time and dance their hearts away to very late at night!
Click lower rt. corner to enlarge.
Saturday: Boat Ride on the huge MAJESTIC up and down Pittsburgh’s 3 Rivers: The Monongahela, the Allegheny and the Ohio! Nothing like dancing the Kolo and listening to Tamburitzan music while viewing sights like PNC Park, Heinz Stadium, good ole South Side, etc.
World-famous Heinz Field, home of the NFL Champion Steelers!
The ship starts boarding at 12:00 NOON and leaves the dock promptly at 1:00 for a three-hour cruise. Off at 4:00 PM, you have time for shopping at all the stores located in nearly Station Square, and then afterwards, its dancing once again down at the American Serbian Club on Pittsburgh’s South Side.
Sunday: Church services at Holy Trinity (10:00 AM) followed by the huge family-style picnic up at Holy Trinity’s St. Sava Cemetery/ Picnic Grounds on Hamilton Road in Castle Shannon, Pittsburgh, PA.
John and Rox Lovrensky of CA
Click the lower right hand corner to enlarge this photo. You might even hear them sing “Kazi Leno” or “Zora Je!”
Ako Bog da!
Dane wrote: “Here is the final version of ‘Twas the night before 3 Day.’ Non-rhyming comments are no longer subject to ridicule. If you missed the story, this started with one simple verse followed by comments from fellow poets Mira Andrich, Mel Bard, Bob Topich, Jovo Nada Potkonjak, Sandi Radoja, JT Kordesich, Roger, Von Trbovich Orlich, Lexy Vudrag and Mim Bizic. well done friends!”
Sto Srbin Imade!
Goldsmith par excellence!
Dan Dubois and son
I don’t usually like tatoos, but I loved this one!
Can’t think SNF (or basketball) without thinking of the Medichs!
Our Bobik-Grese Girls, Alayna and Alexis Jo.
Their mother Michelle and Dad Blaise, met while working in Kennywood!
Mike and the Milanovich girls!
Sophie Kovachevich Samardgia and Son from Canada now, but we claim her as “Ours,” an Ambridge-Aliquippa St. Elijah beauty!
The Stepanovs were there too! Alexander, Roman and Demetri kept their Moms busy while waiting for the LOG JAMMER water ride!
It’s official! He’s taken!
Our Alex Brnilovich is engaged!
Jim, BJ, Marsha, Sarah, Kathy
Thanks Tiho! The LAMB was absolutely SUPERB this year! Ray agrees and Mike’s there in the back making CEVAPS!
Working just as hard as her great +mother, Bunny Belich, did!
Paul and Larry discuss yesterday’s GOLF game!
The Eli Peichs and Bozji Bajich
Our Debbie Backo listens to Radost Orchestra entertaining the crowd. John Kasich is in the foreground. He is a great historian for Farrell-Hermitage in SNF affairs!
Here’s a better one of Debbie!
Seeing happy Tamara always reminds me of the good times with her mother, Millicent!
Kathy, Sladjana, Natasa & Halle!
Cera on crutches in the middle, surrounded by Uncle Tom Trkula, Aunt Kathy Loverich, cousin Adam, and Robby Stone!
Two great SINGING Serbs!
Thanks to Ron and Rella Cvetican of WV for always making the Boat Ride raffle so much fun!
Look at the parking lot! All the “grass” was taken, front, side and way in the back! Great picnic!
The “Kitchen” did brisk business!
We’ll end with this magnificent photo by Milana Capuzzi, of the Serbian flag taken in front of Steve and Natasa Capuzzi’s house!
PROUD SERBS ALL!
A great big “Thank You!” to KDKA’s Jim Graci for having news about our 97th Annual Serbian Day at Kennywood announced on the radio. He made a lot of people so happy!
Thanks a lot, Jim!
Let us share with you some historic moments from Kennywood history we’ve found in old newspapers from across the Tri-State area of Pittsburgh, so that you can feel the joy too! We’ll be sharing more details with you about this year’s celebration as they become firmer…. but in the meantime…. Enjoy!
Just a few corrections here: Stevo BABIC was Chairman, and Bozo MAMULA, was Secretary of the Arrangements Committee. Stevo went on to hold that post for many, MANY years…..
For the American SRBOBRAN:
The Early Days: Serbian Day at Kennywood Park
By Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic, Feb. 16, 2016
The Thursday, August 2nd, twenty-eight page evening edition of the Pittsburg Press newspaper in 1917 was only TWO CENTS. That’s the time when newspapers were sold in the morning and evening, and Pittsburgh didn’t have the “h” at the end of its name. But that edition was very special to all Serbs. It carried the FIRST report of Serbian Day at Kennywood, thanks to very enthusiastic Chairman, Stevo Babic of McKeesport, PA and Secretary of the Arrangements Committee, Bozo Mamula, of Pittsburgh’s South Side.
Probably, in all their glory of seeing a most successful event around them, one of them found time to call into the newsroom, as from the report, it says that “There are many Serbians located in Pittsburg and surrounding towns and few, if any, were absent from the park today.”
That’s how we hope that all Serbians throughout the USA will find the time to join in the festivities of the Serb National Federation’s Salute to Serbdom’s 100th Anniversary of Serbian Day at Kennywood as part of the 3-Day weekend, July 15-17, 2016.
Not only to come and help fill the ranks and file for this historic occasion, but to let your whole community know about what’s happening like the Serbs did, whether they lived in Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Uniontown, Masontown or the Beaver Valley.
Here’s an entry from 1936, the 21st Serbian Day at Kennywood Park!
(Click lower right hand corner to enlarge image!)
Translation: 1936 Kennywood Memories—
(At the top: She was sorry that Uncle Chappy -George- was in the army and couldn’t be with them. She wrote that EVERY day!)
“I got up early. Joe (son) went to work, but Nikola (husband) and Batalo (border) have vacation. And we, God willing (Ako Bog da), are getting ready to go to the picnic.
Everyone came, our Joe at 9:00 to our house as he’s going to the picnic (later after work.)
At 10:00, Marta (Daughter), Beba Latinka (youngest -Baby-Daughter Laura) and Sophie Buncic went early. Marty took them in her car early because they’re on the committee.
At 1:00, Nikola, Milica (Daughter) and I will go on the bus with our whole Lodge (#11-Vojvoda Stepa Stepanovich!).
Joe isn’t going to work in the afternoon so he’ll be coming later.
“At the picnic there was everything you could think of, everything! They brought in the flags and sang the American and Yugoslav national anthems, and there were priests from all over, and a Gypsy orchestra.
There was no way it could be an any better Serbian Day than this one because I saw so many of my friends from all over (Svih strani!) so I was so pleased and happy.
“Marty worked the whole day and night until 11:00 at night. She’s really exhausted, but when she wants to work like that, let her.
“However, my heart is broken, but I can’t tell anyone how I feel that my two children (George in the Army, Rose in Belgrade) aren’t here with us. I saw so many mothers with their children, and mine are so far away from me.
“My Josip (Joe) came about 4:30 in the afternoon. I thought when I saw him that the Heavens opened up and an Angel came because he looked so handsome!(Later on in the late evening)
“We got ready to go on the bus as happy as could be. It couldn’t have been a nicer Serbian Day, everyone was so happy! “Dobro Dosli! (They arrived home safely!)
I got up early and Pi (her son-in-law, Paul Belosh) went to work and I was working around the house. Milica (Daughter)got up early too and went to see Latinka (youngest daughter who had baby Milana only 2 days ago!), but they were all sleeping. My Chappy (George) is still sleeping too. He was very tired and he’s so dark from the sun that he looks like he’s a Cernie. I’m waiting for Milica so that she can tell me how my babies are, one and the other. (Latinka was the baby in the family).
Today is Serbian day. I don’t know if I will be able to go. Something always comes up that I can’t do what I want.
Marty (oldest daughte married to Paul Belosh) and Pi (P.B.) and I got ready to go to the picnic. It was so nice. Milica, me, and Marty, but Marty was always with other people surrounding her. She was like a peacock amongst the birds. (“Kao paun medju pticima!”). She couldn’t be more beautiful, and she was dressed so expensively magnificent. I saw many of my friends and we all talked so beautifully. I rode some and I walked around a lot. My dear Vladimir. (Thinking aloud about her grandson in Europe.) We came home at 12 o’clock midnight. Milica went to see the baby and I went to bed.”
Kennywood 100 speech on History of Serbian Day 7/16/16By Mim Bizic
Happy 100th birthday! Happy SLAVA to all of you here today who chose to help celebrate this historic moment, one beautiful birthday party commemorating our pioneers’ efforts to create a SERBDOM that has guided and sustained us all these years!
Bask! Bask in the glory of knowing that you are here today—descendants of those early pioneers. We are the FIRST such ethnic group at Kennywood Park to reach this great milestone!
Happy 100th! The first event was recorded for history in the early evening edition of the Pittsburgh Press of Thursday, August 2nd, 1917, carrying the report of Chairman Stevo Babic.
Helping him on that original committee, also from McKeesport, were Nikola Mrvos and a fellow whose last name was Pavlovich. Steubenville was represented by Milan Kukich and also on the first committee were Sam Verlinich of McKees Rocks, and Božo Mamula of Pittsburgh’s South Side. (I left this out for time’s sake.)
That 1917 Pittsburgh Press newspaper account read: “There are many Serbians located in Pittsburgh and surrounding towns, but FEW, IF ANY, were absent from the park today!” How smart they were to make sure all of Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas knew of this great accomplishment of the Serbian War Orphans Relief Committee!
How did the first Serbian Day at Kennywood start?
War was raging in Europe, and thousands of Serbian children were left orphans, as the Serbs lost almost ½ of their male population and between ¼ to 1/3 of their total population from which they have never recovered. While +St. Bishop Nikolai was asking for help speaking to thousands at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, great physicist scientist Michael Pupin of Columbia University in New York was heading up the Relief Efforts throughout America and Canada. Pupin called upon his good friend, Stevo Babic of the Greater Pittsburgh area, to help.
Stevo’s good friend, Mr. Joseph McSwiggen, was the owner of Kennywood Park.
Babic asked McSwiggen to donate the use of the park for the day, and he agreed to let the Serbs garner a percentage from the sale of tickets for the amusement rides, thus leading to what we now know as Kennywood’s famous “Nationality Days” for all ethnic groups.
Throughout the years that followed, so many great projects occurred because of you, your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
Besides the proceeds helping the war orphans of Serbia, we were also able to help fund:
1.The Serbian/Yugoslav room here in Pittsburgh at Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning.
2.The late Lt. Col. Mitchell Paige, awardee of the Congressional Medal of Honor, helped raise one of the biggest amounts of money for American War Bonds during WWII.
3.More recent donations from Serbian Day at Kennywood were used to help fund Vracar Cathedral in Belgrade and
4. Scholarships here in the USA.
Collectively over the years, we have witnessed Beauty contests, athletic events, choirs, folklore groups and tambura bands from all over the USA here at Kennywood, all the while having fun and such a good time. And now, TODAY, we all are part of history! Thank you EVERYONE for being here! Ziveli, SRBI!
This year’s 2016 Chairman, Dane Topich, came up with this fun activity called TRANSLATE KENNYWOOD contest to get the kids excited about this year’s event:
If you click on the lower right hand corner, you’ll be able to enlarge the image above. Many people are participating and some as far away as the Netherlands, hoping for a chance to win a free admission to the park.
“Most look up to admire the stars. A Champion climbs a mountain and grabs one!”
Read more about the history of Kennywood here:
Get Yourself to Kennywood for July 16, 2016!
! If Plan “A” doesn’t work, there are 25 other letters!
The Pittsburgh Press on July 27, 1952, p. 7, wrote that the Serbs were holding their annual outing, and that “Tomorrow over 15,000 Tri-State American Serbs will gather for their traditional feast. At least 100 lambs will be prepared for the 35th meeting. Gavrilo Medic of Duquesne is head chef. A beauty contest, open to any American girl of Serbian descent, is scheduled at 7 PM with Mildred Hayes, of McKeesport as Chairlady. The St. Sava Tamburitzans of Johnstown will give a concert at 5:00 PM sharing honors with the Wilmerding Male Chorus. Lou Balta is chairman of Serbian Day with George Brenlov serving as Honorary Chairman.”
Then there was this post from the Morning Herald in Uniontown, from July 19, 1973.
“The aroma of BBQ lamb, home baked bread and fresh green onions will herald the 56th Annual Serbian Day at Kennywood. Sponsored by the SNF, this is one of the largest reunions of Balkan people in the country. Hundreds of lambs will be BBQed for the occasion as has always been the custom, this being the traditional Serbian Festival food.
The program will be held at the Starvue Plaza at 6:00 PM, to feature nationality music and gaily costumed dancers. The main speakers for the program are Mr. William Salatich, President of Gillette Razor Co. Also speaking will be Leonard Staisey, Allegheny County Commissioner.
“Reverend Nedeljko Lunich, of Indiana Harbor, will receive the Serbian Man of the Year Award. Special music will feature Vinka Ellison of Ventura, California. She is known as the “Queen of Sevdalinka” and Mr. Ted Erdel, a member of the Pittsburgh Opera Chorus. The talented Tillie Klaich and his Balkan Serenaders of Lackawanna, NY will join in the festivities. In full native costume, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Jr. Tamburitzans of Wilmerding will play, sing and dance. There are 38 youngsters in the group. President Robert Rade Stone will preside.
Going back to August 2, 1921, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on p. 14 it said,
“Today will be Serbian Day at Kennywood Park. Steve Babic, Chairman of the Serbian Relief Committee, will be in charge. All Serb peoples from Allegheny County will celebrate this holiday. There will be an athletic meet with prizes. Folk dances and native songs will be featured. Picturesque peasant costumes will be worn. The park will be decorated with American and Serbian flags.” That was the 5th S.D. at Kennywood!
Here’s one of my favorite finds. It’s from the Pittsburgh Press of July 30, 1944, during WWII.
“Mitchell Paige, Congressional Medal of Honor winner from West Mifflin (Charleroi!) will supervise a bond rally at the Serbian Day outing at Kennywood Park tomorrow night.
“Nick Pavlovich, Chairman, yesterday announced the hero’s appearance would highlight the program which begins at 6:00 PM on the open air stage. About 25,000 district American Serbs are expected to attend. The program will include speeches from L.C. Christopher, Gary, Indiana, President of the Serb National Federation, and Steve Babic, Duquesne, Chairman of the first Serbian Day 27 years ago.
“The Marijana Singing Society of Steubenville, OH and Nick Kosanovich’s Neven Tamburitzan orchestra will entertain. Folk dances will be performed.”
This reporting should bring back many happy memories. My father always thought the Neven Orchestra with Milan Shatlan, was one of the best! Seeing that there was a “Marijana Singing Society of Steubenville” makes me think about the four Maksimovich Brothers who appeared at the first Serbian Singing Federation Festival in Akron, OH, where they first introduced the song to an enthusiastic crowd in 1936!
UNITED WE SING:
St. Elijah Choir of Aliquippa, PA, helps Northern Neighbors celebrate the 59th Anniversary of St. Sava’s Choir in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
By Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic,
October 24, 2014
Canada has always been special to me. Ask any kid who has ever been to Shadeland Camp, and he or she will probably say the same, since every morning we sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” then “O Canada,” ending our morning flag ceremonies with “Boze Pravde.”
It was exciting as a 12 year old to have an international pen pal, age 13, from Canada, and what a friend to have: the brilliant Olga B. Markovich, of Toronto, who was the 1986 SNF Woman of the Year for her unending research on the Serbian people of the USA, Canada and Serbia. Our childhood penpal letters back and forth always shared a Serbian proverb or two, at Olga’s suggestion.
And because of Shadeland, my first love (one way!) was from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. At 15 years old, my American girlfriend, Barb, and I made a little green wax record at Conneaut Amusement Park (located 17 miles from Shadeland) singing, “Wake up Little Susie” and at the end, Barb excitedly finished our 3 minutes with only a second or two of recording time left in the little booth with a rushed,
“Mimi just saw Knobby at Shadeland and she’s all shook up!” It’s fun to know I still have that record from almost six decades ago and the memories of Youth/Canada it holds.
Canada was special to me because as a 16 year old (1958?) on my first official choir trip to Canada with our St. Sava Philip Visnich Choir from Pittsburgh, I had the thrill of a lifetime. Out from the curtains we proudly stepped onto the stage, to a packed audience in a local high school, with even the balconies filled to capacity. Professor Boris Dobrovolsky
received a big round of applause as he stepped forwards after us, as his directing abilities were recognized throughout Europe and North America.
Up went his hands and we had only sung two words (“Dol-i-ne Tut-ne”) of Adam Popovich’s arrangement of “Ratne Pesme” out of our mouths, when the packed-hall audience erupted, rising from their seats, clapping and stomping their feet to our music! It was phenomenal, and as you can see, my heart STILL remembers the intense feeling of joy for Canada. I just LOVED it, thinking my heart would surely BURST from the excitement.
Who wouldn’t love Canada with all its great VIDOVDAN celebrations each year? How many times as a child I traveled north with my Dad as he covered these events for the American SRBOBRAN, and a little later in life with my dear +Gus to enjoy the magnificent programs put on by the Canadian Shield Society under maestro Bora Dragasevich’s supervision, listening to Mica Petrovic and his Chetnik orchestra.
Also very memorable was the day Alex Malich, young Peter Bizic and I traveled north to Niagara Falls, Vidovdan, to MAYBE do some matchmaking with a special Canadian Serbian girl named Colleen Payne, with the help of Alex’s sister, Christina Gacesa. Hey! It worked! Instant rapport! Yes siree, I’ve always had a special fondness for Canada! We earned a whole new family for our efforts and little Amelia Bizic to boot!
So it was with great happiness I found myself traveling in Cheryl’s husband Tom’s new Honda on Friday afternoon, October 17, 2014, north on Rt. 79 from Pittsburgh, with driver Cheryl Leydig of the SNF and Laurene Maravich (our U.S. A. answer to Canada’s Lepa Jankovic!).
Our St. Elijah Choir of Aliquippa, PA, was the invited guest choir for St. Sava Choir’s 59th Anniversary. Along with our St. Sava Canadian hosts, the Russian “Christ the Savior” Choir under the direction of Elena Eremeeva would also perform.
Joyfully we passed the American and Canadian flags on the Peace Bridge. And with only great memories as our baggage, we surrendered our passports and happily answered questions at the border. “Who’s Milana Bizic?” “I am!” I proudly announced!
Our hosts had arranged for us to stay at a nearby hotel, wherein I saw that my roommate, Marlene Shatlan Volitich, had already checked in. Not surprisingly so, I entered our 4th floor room to find Marlene ironing away, one of her first activities anywhere we travel. Grandson Mike Volitich always has the best looking pressed shirts, and our white (drat that wrinkled linen material!) choir blouses soon followed. “Keep that iron on, Marlene!”
Then out to dinner we went, after Pittsburgh based-Canadian-born Sasa Trklja suggested to his Aunt Joanne and Uncle Bratso Wuchenich the local Serbian restaurant unceremoniously called McAdam Place Restaurant at 5659 McAdam Road. Don’t let the name fool you. The Serbian food was out of this world, great and plentiful. And although there was only one fellow on the keyboard, it sounded like a whole band playing as we sang and danced along to many a recognizable song. Highly recommended to all who travel to Mississauga! Like cousin Jennifer Trklja beams, “It’s the BEST!” We had a tremendous evening for our first night in Canada!
The next morning we took a stroll to the local mall and I was dumbfounded at the high prices of everything. No wonder why the Canadians love shopping in the lower USA!
As soon as we entered the hall, we were so
Then it was on to “All Serbian Saints Serbian Orthodox Church” complex where our St. Sava Choir hosts were awaiting us at Noon.
Adam Loverich and I first went to check out the church. Oh the beauty! I was in such awe from the moment we opened the metal doors with all of the saints beckoning us inside, to the vastness of the sanctuary in front of us that quickly put me in mind of our beloved monasteries in Kosovo.
This was a new Gracanica, but with brighter colors not muted by the centuries, and with saints that didn’t have their eyes gouged out from Kosovo Albanians. It was so breathtaking beautiful, my eyes didn’t know where to look first, and I just crossed myself in pure joy and happiness. I hope the attached photos give a glimpse of that magnificence.
Then it was onto the hall itself, a grand lady with historical importance. She started life as a schoolhouse for the agrarian society there in the 1930’s, then became the auto-driver’s licensing center in the ‘60’s, complete with a huge driving course that now serves as a great parking lot. In the 1980’s, the Serbs were far-sighted enough to purchase the property. And what property it is, right along Queen Elizabeth Highway.
You can’t miss it, coming from the USA, it’s on the left-hand side, with the two flag posts proudly flying the Canadian and Serbian flags. And for double measure, in between the flags, there is an elevated, HUGE horizontal wooden flag painted with the Serbian tri-colors with a golden cross and the 4 C’s, atop the playground area for the children!
On leaving St. Sava’s late on Sunday afternoon, I loved watching the young ones on the see-saws joyfully playing and counting away, over and over:“Jedan, dva, tri….” under those flags and the golden cross. Oh my heart, my Serbian heart! It was a moment for sure to remember!☺ But I’m getting ahead of myself!
Just minutes later, we were surprised by a magnificent food spread in the adjoining room. My gosh, was this lunch AND supper? It sure looked like that, but you know Serbs! How we were laughing saying we were going to BURST in Canada! Not only from joyous friendship and patriotism on display, but also from the food! (See photos).
Back to the hotel we went for a quick rehearsal with our director, the talented Snezana Lazich,then we changed into our choral costumes, and back to the hall, that was now starting to fill with guests from many surrounding areas of Toronto, Kitchener, Hamilton, etc.
Before long, the hall was filled in anticipation and we were happy to see so many familiar faces everywhere we looked. Niko Nema! Niko!
But first we ate again! And this time, a whole pig graced the middle of the sumptuous table! It was better than any Thanksgiving feast! The amount of food prepared was beyond description, just look at the photos to see!
Draga Dragasevich, always one of my favorite Canadian teachers (think Bora, Olga Markovich, Paul Pavlovich, Ambassador James Bissett, Scott Taylor) was Mistress of Ceremonies, and the program got underway just a little after 5:30 PM with the singing of the three national anthems, this time with the Canadian one being first!
We (St. Elijah Choir) stayed on stage as the others filed off, going first on the program as the guest choir. Although we didn’t have our full choir with us due to a big wedding in Aliquippa that day, I’m sure with our appreciation for all our Canadian hosts did for us that day, we poured out hearts out under the direction of Snezana, who is such a delight to watch! Her eyes, her hands, her hips are all in full motion, urging us to give our best. And we tried to deliver! “Ko pjeva, Zlo ne misli!” Who sings, thinks no evil.
Who would not feel elevated singing “Sej Den” (This is the Day that the Lord hath made) and “Svi Jazici” with the angels flapping their wings in joy? And the now familiar St. Bishop Nikolai’s “Znas Li Ko Te Ljubi Silno” and Mokranjac’s “Kada Mi Se Radoslave.”
Vinska Pesma and More!
All choirs sang familiar liturgical hymns and starosrbijanske pesme, those songs that make you feel as if you’re part of a larger Slavonic world.
There were many heads in the audience singing along with our ending number of the happy “Vinska Pesma “by Isidor Bajic and Dragie Cuculjevich. Bring that wine glass here! ☺
Our host choir, under the very capable direction of Janez Govednik, who at one time served as a conductor of Moscow Conservatory’s Opera Studio, and later the Belgrade Opera House, and conductor of the National Theater (opera and ballet!) in Novi Sad, and Assistant Conductor to the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, sang “Hvalite Imja Gospodnje,” (Aleksandar Arhangelski) “Dostonjo Jest” by Cornelije Stankovic, and “Dve Starosrbijanske Pesme” by Marko Tajcevic before ending with a rousing “Aliluja” by Janez Govednik. You could FEEL the joy they brought to this anniversary concert!
The Russian Orthodox Choir sang familiar tunes to us: “Vidihom Svet Istinji,” “Angel Vopijase,” “Dostono Jest’, and the “Ballad of the 12 Razboinikov” before the soprano conductor, Elena Eremeeva sang a solo.
In between all of the songs, St. Sava Mississauga surprised us all with Radomir Micich reciting “Cerska Bitka” in memory of the 100th Anniversary of the first victory of WWI by the Serbian soldiers at the Battle of Cer. He was magnificent in his delivery, and I couldn’t help but think of how much he must have delighted his audiences (AND his teachers!) at his St. Sava’s Day recitations (Declamatcias) every January 2 7 when he was a young lad! Superb. So wonderful!
And then M.C. Draga Dragasevich turned to the audience, asking all of us to stand and to join in the singing of “Tamo Daleko!” with the choir’s orchestra. Oh, what a crowd pleaser that was!
And the rest of the evening proved likewise as the popular orchestra “Boemi” (Bohemians) played for our listening and dancing pleasure. It was such a delight to see really large kolo circles sometimes three and four people deep circling the floor and singing along to popular tunes. Everyone was so happy!
Sunday morning we were up early, enjoyed the breakfast our hosts provided at the hotel, lit our candles in the church’s sanctuary down below, and then it was onto the high climb up the stairs to the choir loft that reminded me of being in Holy Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh, wherein the priests and parishioners look like a miniature scene below. No, you wouldn’t need a Kleenex for a nose bleed, but perhaps to wipe away a tear or two as you behold the magnificence of the beautiful icon walls surrounding you, enveloping you, helping you really live the Bible’s story with every turn of your head. Icons are called “Windows to Heaven,” and we were as close to being in Heaven as could be!
The parishioners below thought they were in Heaven listening to George Milosh sing his famous “Oce Nas” solo while Donna August directed for George, who otherwise directed us that morning. We are so lucky to have such talented members step forth, just like John Lukich, Marina Milojevic-Daoust and Bosiljka Paich do for St. Sava’s Choir of the “All Serbian Saints Serbian Orthodox Church.”
Was it time to eat AGAIN? Who could believe that another feast for the eyes awaited us? What phenomenal hosts our Mississauga people were!
Again, Draga Dragasevich acted as hostess for the little program that followed, with Bora Dragasevich being a speaker on behalf of the choir. He praised the association our two countries had because of the formidable cohesiveness of the Serbian Singing Federation, thanks to the foresightedness of Vlajko Lugonja, Paul Bielich, and those who followed. He spoke of their choir’s traveling to Pittsburgh and Aliquippa for the SSF Concerts in the past, and the camaraderie that always followed.
A little more about Bora is a must! I was thrilled when Bora gave me a photo of himself bedecked in all the recent medals and honors he received from HRH Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevich (the Order of the Crown with the Great Cross, First Degree (blue sash, medal on his chest, medal at his hip!) and with Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal with the red ribbon, authorized in the Queen’s name by the Governor General of Canada and presented to Bora by a Greek Canadian Member of Parliament at a reception in the Consulate of the Republic of Serbia in December, 2012. Above the red ribbon is the pin of the Srpska Narodna Odbrana (the Serbian National Shield Society). These are orders of the FIRST CLASS, and usually reserved for Serbian Kings, Princes, Prime Ministers, Diplomats, and NIKOLA TESLA!
Congratulations, Bora, and Draga too. Together, they have worked as a team to provide the latest and historical information about the Serbian people in both Serbian and English through their work with the radio program, Serbian Day, the newspaper “Glas Kanadskih Srba,” lectures, etc. Congratulations Sir Bora and Dame Draga Dragasevich!
Bora is also the author of the book “Stopama Predaka” or “In the Footsteps of my Forefathers: Autobiography.” The work has received high praise in both the new and OLD country. While we were having Sunday lunch, Bora received word that all 500 of the books sent to Serbia were already sold out!
Speaking of Serbia, be sure to read the book, JOHAN’S SERBIAN HEART available on the Internet at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/JOHANS-SERBIAN-HEART-Mico-Popovic-ebook/dp/B00IQWSB82.
(I purchased this book in the hall, and read parts of it aloud on the way home.) Emir Kostunica is making a movie based on this true story, and hence, has become a person non grata in today’s Albanian Kosovo, an honor he wears proudly.)
Diane Volitich, president of our St. Elijah Church Choir presented our hosts with a small check to help with the cost of our stay and enthusiastically thanked all for the exceptional hospitality shown.
A happy “Ziveli” followed! But it didn‘t end! As we were leaving, we each received a CD of St. Sava Choir’s wonderful Christmas CD and a bag full of delicious beef, ham and cheese sandwiches and SO many cookies to eat on the way home! Everyone who had anything to do with hosting us, and even escorting us to our cars like Alex and Mira Brkic, should earn an ABCD Award! “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty!” Thank you, Mississauga! We had a great time! Thank you!
Movers and Shakers:
The Arbutina Families of Freedom
Real SNF “Braco Jugovici” Freedom, PA Lodge Members
Millard (Milutin) Arbutina, Michael Arbutina, and George Arbutina, all buried very close to each other in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Freedom. A huge contingent from the Beaver County Special Unit conducted full military honors for Millard, who died on St. Sava’s Day, Friday, Jan. 27, 2006, and was buried the following Monday, with V. Rev. Stevan Stepanov conducting the services.
By Milana (“Mim”) Karlo Bizic
This story appeared in the American SRBOBRAN on Wednesday, April 19, 2006.
(With thanks to the Memoirs of Millard Arbutina)
I first saw him as I went to record my name in the Visitor’s Book of his deceased uncle, Millard Arbutina, at the William Murphy Funeral Home in Rochester, Pa. He stood tall and handsome in his Air Force blue, full-bird colonel’s uniform, with a military polished look that right away gave away his background.
“You’re the Arbutina who graduated from the Air Force Academy,” I extended my hand. “I’m Mim Bizic. My deepest condolences on the loss of your uncle,” I said sincerely. Then I added, “Your Dad was my principal at the Sewickley Elementary School in Quaker Valley, and later, was our Assistant Superintendent.”
“Yes, I’m Dave Arbutina, “I heard as I watched him break into a winning smile, his large hand warmly meeting mine.
“When you and your brother received your special nominations to the Academies (George Jr. went to the Coast Guard Academy), everyone of our faculty felt a source of pride that only comes from extended family feelings. It wasn’t only your Q.V. family,” I continued, and I could feel my chest heaving up in pride, “but your entire Serbian family as well, and that’s a family that goes from coast to coast. If one Serb makes it, we feel we ALL made it! We’re all very proud of you!”
The next time I saw him only a few minutes later, he was reading a tribute to his Uncle Millard, a poem that both of them must have heard many times. Entitled HIGH FLIGHT, over the years it has become a mantra to pilots. Written by Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee, RCAF, and killed 11 December, 1941, it goes like this:
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high un-trespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Before us was Millard Arbutina, my old Quaker Heights neighbor when I lived in Sewickley. Although I admired and loved Millard, somehow I was disappointed, too, reading his obituary, almost angry because I never knew what a real hero he was, and I lived only a block away! Too many of our Serbs have done outstanding things and should be recognized, but people don’t know enough about them.
Millard was a Major in the Army Air Corps. He received the highest award you can get in the Air Force, the Distinguished Flying Cross. Not once, but TWICE! It’s a real honor to get that award, yet alone getting it twice! He was also decorated highly by the Nationalist Chinese Air Force, but let’s back up a little.
Millard was born August 6, 1921, in Freedom, PA, the son of the late George and Stanica Tepsic Arbutina. After graduating from High School in 1939 (where Dani Pevac said he was cheated out of being named President of the Class because of his background and living in the poor “Canadian” side of Freedom even though overwhelmingly elected by his classmates), the brilliant Millard entered the Civilian Conservation Corps, and from there, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Any of you familiar with the Civilian Conservation Corps know that it was a way for poorer families to exist during and after the Great Depression. One child went to the CCC camps, and 95% of the money earned was automatically sent home to feed the family. Others I know personally who did this were also famous heroes: WWII fighter pilot Vic Lumovich and Gus’ uncle, “Ujak” Milosh Klaich, of D-Day fame.
Millard transferred to the U.S. army Air Corps where he earned his wings as a pilot, later becoming a command pilot in December, 1942. He was a veteran of WWII, the Korean War and was then involved with the Berlin Air Lift.
During WWII, he flew transport aircraft over the Himalayan Mountains between India and China which at the time was considered the most dangerous “hump” flying that could be done. This was due to terrain, weather, and enemy aircraft.
In Korea, he flew B-26 aircraft and flew 68 voluntary combat missions. For five years, before retiring, he was an aircraft commander on the RB/47, a six engine jet aircraft. He was also trained as a navigator and a radar bombardier.
Among his many decorations and campaign medals were: two Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star, four air medals, two Presidential Unit Citations, a decoration and a pair of pilot wings by the Chinese Air Force. His campaign medals covered the American and Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns. He had the Army of Occupation Medal (Germany) and Korean War Service Medals.
After retiring from the Air Force, he entered what is today known as the University of Central Arkansas to pursue a degree in education. He completed his studies in two years, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. During this time he was a Dean’s List student, and was inducted into the Phi Delta Kappa Educational Fraternity and the history fraternity of Phi Alpha Theta.
He returned home to Pennsylvania and taught for Freedom (1) and Western Beaver School Districts (4) years. He often said that his teaching years were his golden years, but he felt he could make more of an impact on the profession by joining the staff of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA).
He became a field representative for the union and opened the first field office for the union in Pittsburgh.
My Kum, Milan Markovich attests to the importance of Millard’s help. Hopewell school teachers never had a contract in those early years, or even the right to negotiate salaries. Milan was President of his Association. John Milanovich (another Serb), was the Superintendent, and there was Millard Arbutina, backing up Markovich and the Hopewell Education Association. It wasn’t easy, but it worked!
Millard devoted many stressful long hours in organizing and negotiating for teachers in order to improve their economic well-being, both from a Pittsburgh office, and then afterwards, in Harrisburg as a Director in Field Services, from which he retired. But he wasn’t finished working!
Millard became interested in real estate and went on to earn a real estate license. He worked at Valley Realty Company in Ambridge, and in his own words: “for over 15 very joyful years.” For most of those years he worked as an appraiser and became certified as an independent fee appraiser.
Millard is survived by his wife of 56 years, H. Noreen (Hamm) Arbutina, with whom he traveled the world, including Yugoslavia.
Millard left behind a rich legacy to his son Millard Jr. (Lynne of Gaithersburg, MD), and daughter, Lisa Arbutina Fedorko. (Michael of Ewing, NJ), three step-grandchildren and several adorable foster grandchildren.
Lisa retired from AT&T as a Client Business Manager (Viacom, OBS, UPI), then became an independent contractor for three years before joining Johnson & Johnson where she is the Clinical Project Manager.
Lisa shared an important story with me about Draza Mihailovich. While she was working in California, she met Fran Grossman, who has turned out to be a lifelong friend. Upon announcing her Serb background, Fran mentioned how her pilot father had been saved by a Serb during WWII when his airplane was shot down over Yugoslavia.
After the war, Mr. Grossman owned a very successful company in Columbus, Ohio. One of his first acts after establishing himself was to send for his savior Serb in Yugoslavia, sponsor him and his family, and make the fellow Supervisor of the plant! Lisa was sorry she couldn’t remember the name of the Serb, but said she thinks he was related to the Bulat family in Freedom.
Lisa is very proud of her brother Millard’s educational and musical accomplishments too. Millard holds a Masters in Psychology and works as a Chaplain in Gaithersburg, MD.
More Connections: Lance Sijan
Later on in the day of the funeral, I again spoke to Dave Arbutina (George Arbutina’s son, Millard’s nephew). “Being a graduate of the Air Force Academy, did you ever hear of Sijan Hall there?”I asked.
“Lance Sijan?” he queried and my heart thumped at the positive recognition.
It turns out that Dave, who is now the Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Mt. Nittany Medical Center in Penn State, (State College) PA, graduated from the Academy in 1976, the year of our nation’s Bicentennial. Dave Arbutina was Chairman of the Bicentennial Committee and one of the most important things the Committee wanted to accomplish was to get special recognition for Lance Sijan! Is it a small world or not?
Sijan (Dormitory) Hall is named after American Serb Captain Lance P. Sijan (class of 1965). Captain Sijan was the Academy’s first and ONLY graduate so far to receive the Medal of Honor. He received it posthumously for his heroism in Vietnam.
Dan shared that there have been further recognitions: The Air Force Academy Library has a special display of Sijan memorabilia, including his headstone from Vietnam. The 440th Airlift wing in his hometown of Milwaukee has a replica of Sijan’s F-4 at the base entrance where the dining hall is named after him. In 2003, a 10 ft. marble monument in the shape of a stylized F-4 pointing upwards was erected at Arlington Park Cemetery. Sijan Circle at Langley AFB in Virginia is named in his honor as is Sijan Street at Whiteman AFB in Missouri. There’s a Lance P. Sijan Chapter of the Air Force Association in Colorado Springs where the Academy is located, and the AF ROTC from Boston University has a squadron there. Each year the Air Force bestows the Lance Sijan Award for Leadership.
Mildred Arbutina Pappas
Millard (Miladin) was the middle child in the Arbutina family: Danica (born in Europe), then Milka or Mildred, Miladin, Michael, then George and Demetro (died young). Mildred is another Arbutina who was a great humanitarian and woman of conscience. Her good deeds and works were acknowledged by Educational Television (PBS) WQED Magazine in its December, 1999 issue when it listed her as a “Pittsburgher of the Century.”
Mildred Arbutina Pappas:
When she was living in Washington in the 1970s, this Beaver County native heard that the historic Vicary House in Freedom was to be razed for expansion of Route 65. PennDOT had already purchased the stone mansion built by sea captain William Vicary around 1826. However, her aggressive campaign and dogged persistence over several years finally succeeded in having alternative plans drawn up and the landmark was saved. Today it is being restored by Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation and is open for tours.
A little more about Vicary Mansion from its official website: http://www.bchrlf.org/history__of__the_vicary_mansion.htm
“Sitting atop a gentle knoll overlooking the Ohio River in what is now Freedom, Pennsylvania , sits the stately old mansion built by Captain William Vicary. Long a source of wonder, its unusual construction and elegant style speak of the wealth and status of its former owners.
“Captain Vicary, a retired Philadelphia merchant sea captain and land speculator, moved with his family to his land near Big Sewickley Creek. Looking for land deals, Vicary most likely scouted this area of Beaver County in which to construct his family home. Finding the correct spot, Vicary purchased 604 acres of land, lots #33, 34 & 35, from Mark Wilcox on February 18, 1826 on which to situate his mansion. Within a few months following the purchase, Vicary hired John Moore to do the actual construction. The original contract called for Moore to erect a stone dwelling measuring fifty two feet long by thirty eight feet wide along with a stone smokehouse, necessary, and spring house to be finished in December of 1826 for the sum of $2,450. He was also to construct a barn for an additional $650.
“Faced with the impending destruction of this historical structure, a one-woman letter writing campaign was begun by Mrs. Mildred Arbutina Pappas. A former Freedom resident, Mrs. Papas conducted her campaign from her new home in Washington , D.C.. Thanks to her efforts, and help from local organizations and governments, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation built a retaining wall to save the mansion. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 18, 1974, ownership of the land was transferred to Beaver County in the mid-1970’s, with the mansion being purchased from Nannah heirs, Gerald and Aloha Fehr Phillips, for $41,000 in 1982. In February of 1999, the William Vicary Mansion became the official home of the Beaver County Historical Research & Landmarks Foundation. Today, the mansion is being restored to its former grandeur and is open to the public for all to enjoy.”
Mildred’s husband worked with the CIA. About 45 years ago, while driving in Europe, a car crash almost ended both of their lives. Mildred suffered a broken neck and wasn’t expected to recover. Taken to a military hospital, she lay in a hospital bed with an iron ball suspended on her neck. Her perseverance and desire to live astounded all of her physicians. She did learn to walk again, albeit with a cane from then on.
Brother Millard was so proud of Mildred’s letters to governors, senators and other influential people instrumental in saving the Freedom mansion, he had all of her work bound into a book. He made extra copies, distributing to his family members, and also sharing with local libraries and historical societies. He also made sure a bronze plaque was placed on the mansion, mentioning her monumental work in preserving it.
The late Arbutinas were movers and shakers for America. They got things done. Although we mourn the loss of a neighbor as fine as Millard and other family members, we’re grateful there are younger relatives following in their leadership role footsteps.
Millard Arbutina’s medals
(Click bottom rt. corner to enlarge)
Flag from medal box above
Lisa Arbutina Fedorko & author, Mim Bizic
From an April 20, 2006 email:
Wow! I just finished ready this most incredible article. Mim, you are one heck of a brilliant writer!
Somewhere in heaven, the brothers Arbutina along with their sisters and parents are pausing to “Hvala Bogu” for you! The Arbutina’s on earth will all be toasting you and thanking God for you this Easter weekend!
Thank you, again, for all of the time and HEART that you put into researching, writing and making sure the article was published!
A grateful Serb,
Old early photo of family:
George & Stanica Tepsic Arbutina & two of their 4 children.
Millard leaving for service….
Millard’s daughter, Lisa, holding the above photo of her father in her hand.
George Arbutina was my principal when I taught at the old Sewickley Elementary School (no longer there.) We all loved learning about what George’s children were doing and were always excited when his boys went into the U.S. Military Academies. Well, watch what happened to George’s grandson! I loved receiving this note from George’s daughter, Susan!
I came upon your website and was so delighted to see my family highlighted in the “Arbutinas from Freedom”. It was with great pride that I read your article. I am the daughter of George Arbutina, sister of David (U.S. Air Force Academy) and George (U.S. Coast Guard Academy). I thought you would be interested in knowing that the military academy tradition has continued on down through George’s grandson. My son, Kenneth Asher Seamans, is completing his summer basic training at the US. Military Academy at West Point. It has been his life long dream to attend West Point and through hard work and perseverance, he made it.
It appears that the influence of that great generation of Arbutina brothers continues through many generations! His grandfather would have been so proud!
Thank you for your wonderful website.
Sue (Arbutina) Seamans
We LOVE to hear stories like this! Please keep ’em coming! We’re so proud of your accomplishments!
Vojvoda Golub Babić
I stumbled onto the name of Golub Babic when I was researching the 100th history of the American Serbian Club. I found him to be an interesting character and decided others may be interested in learning about him too.
I couldn’t get over the story about the uniform he wore!
See whole story here:
A tribute, by Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic
Michael Kosmas, Helen Bentley’s lawyer and great friend, relayed that when Helen was in Kosovo in 1989, for the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, the beloved future Patriarch +Pavle, then Bishop of Kosovo, gave them a tour of the area. As they were walking to Gazimestan, the Holy Field in Kosovo, Metropolitan +Christopher said that Saint Helen (Sts. Helen and Constantine) was known for building holy Christian churches and “our” Helen will be known for defending them!
She met with American journalists in Serbia to push for balanced reporting.
She helped the Yugoslav sailors stuck in the port of Baltimore during sanctions.
She traveled to Serbia numerous times and met with all of the leaders, and also met with and lobbied everyone in Washington to support the Serbs.
She gave C-Span speeches in Congress for the Serbs and lined up other members of Congress to support her.
She organized Serbian delegations to represent our side when there were Congressional hearings re Kosovo and Yugoslavia, and rallied American Serbs to attend.
She appeared on television new shows/debates to defend the Serbs.
When time for re-election came the Croats and Moslems rallied against her. No Serbian support.
She corresponded and constantly talked to Eagleburger and others pushing them to change their minds.
She helped many refugees.
She led the Serbs on Vidovdan 1989 in Kosovo and fought alongside Bob Stone to get the American Embassy to lend the American flag for display there.
She donated her collection of Serbian books to the Joe Buley Monastery Library in Grayslake.
She donated Serbian artwork to the Eastern American Diocese.
She employed Serbs.
She published editorials to support the Serbs.
She worked with the Bishops on the Serbian cause.
She backed and appeared at Serbian demonstrations in the United States.
She lobbied for the Serbs.
Just a few years ago she traveled to Montenegro to provide help and advice with developing the ports.
She supported the drive to recognize Draza Mihailovich as the savior of 500 downed American airmen.
She fought the Albanian lobby.
She helped form SerbNET.
She spoke at Serb events around the country, and makes an appearance on the film THE POPOVICH BROTHERS OF SOUTH CHICAGO (available on tv via Amazon).
She was the main speaker at the Mother’s Day Prayer for Peace at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh during the bombing of Serbia sponsored by the KSS.
She arranged for a donated bust of Nikola Tesla by sculptor Matt Rebrovic from Pennsylvania to be delivered via her friends in the shipping industry to Belgrade University in 2006, in time for the 150th anniversary of the birth of Tesla.
Gino Piroli wrote about this in the Beaver County Times newspaper: http://www.timesonline.com/piroli-rebrovic-made-sculptures-of-nikola-tesla/article_1e364517-5ec1-55b5-a9ea-ccdf2d4b2022.html
She is deserving of our praise. Vjecnaja Pamjat, dear Helen! Memory Eternal.
HDB : November 28, 1923 – August 6, 2016. There was a lot accomplished between that “dash!”
PA Attorney, Alex Malich, Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, and Dr. Nenad Janicijevich, in Philadelphia where Helen was a guest speaker, honored at the “200 Years of Serbs in America” Celebration, 2014.
Celebrating Helen’s 90th birthday: Rose Gantner, Mim Bizic, Stephanie Lalich Adams and Caroline Adams, 2014.
+ Zhito made for Helen
The 3 Malich children: Luke, Sophia and Philip Malich of Cranberry, PA in St. Matthew’s Church for HDB’s parastos on Sept. 24, 2016.
The beautiful ceiling in St. Matthew’s Orthodox Church.
Parastos for Helen with friends from far and near.
Friends gather after the parastos, including front leaders, Danielle Sremac of the Serbian Institute, and Nikola Lonchar from the Tesla Science Foundation.
Dane Medich, VP of the SNF, Alex Brkich Griffin who worked for Congresswoman Bentley for many years, and Bobby Vuchenovic of Hermitage, PA parish.
The Vucenovichs and Greek friend, Pano, Alex Medich, Mim Bizic, Stepahnie Lalich Adams and John Jaggers, the campaign manager covering all of Maryland, for Donald Trump. In front, Sophia Malich and Alexandra Rose make a “T” with their crossed hands to make us smile at their ingenuity!
Dane Medich, Democratic Whip, Steny Hoyer, 2nd most powerful man in the House of Representatives, and Mim Bizic, author.
Ginger Vuich, Helen’s attorney, Michael Kosmas, and Helen’s biographer, Key Kidder. Key is a relative to Francis Scott Key who wrote the lyrics to the “Star Spangled Banner” and to F. Scott Fitzgerald of literary fame.
Zora, Luke and Philip Malich and David Vuich, of D.C.
At our host’s, Attorney Michael Kosmas home for a luncheon dinner held in Helen’s memory. Drina and her son, Sasha, are in the background.
Drina Vlastelic Rajic, rep. of trade in Republika Srpska, in front of a few beautiful photographs of the late +Helen Delich Bentley in her earlier years.
Drina holds a copy of my father’s 1st AMERICAN SERB LIFE magazine which looked more like a glossy newspaper, but Helen made the front cover!
There she is! Making the big time in a New York newspaper at such a young age!
Here’s Mim, all excited about sharing her father, Milan M. Karlo’s issues of the American SERB LIFE magazine from 1948, where Helen D. Bentley had an article in each one! These magazine issues captured what was going on with the American Serbs that year, whether it was church building in Stuebenville, OH or marking an anniversary date in Gary, Indiana with the blessing of the WWII Memorial. Helen’s articles included what life was like in the mining camps of Nevada she knew, growing up. Most importantly, these magazines captured the story of the 500+ U.S. airmen rescued by General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks during WWII in Operation Halyard, which was covered up by our State Department for 60 years so as not to affront Communist Tito. Thanks to Captain Nick Lalich’s diary, the day by day story, complete with all photos, was able to be told befor the magazine was forced out of business.
Philip, Luke, Sophia Malich and Alexandra Rose Adams.
Zvezdana Scott tries to teach Mim and Nikola how to do a selfie!
Bishop Mitrophan was everywhere, north and south, east and west, but I think it would be safe to say his favorite place to be was at Shadeland with his beloved campers.
Saturday, August 6, 2016, it marked Bishop Mitrophan’s 25th year of service to our Diocese.
When addressing the crowd gathered there for the annual Diocesan Day that everyone looks so eagerly forward to, he mentioned how he took the time to count the number of children who had participated in camp during those years, and the number of 7,000 children was announced to great applause.
Here is a video called “Cevaps-Shadeland 2014” taken by Jovana Todorovic that I’m sure you will enjoy!
A more detailed biography of George Budimir will be forthcoming, but in an effort to get this page to my audience as soon as possible, let me just say that George Budimir is a living legend, both in his adopted Canadian homeland, and in the USA. George retired from serving the Ministry of Transportation in Canada. He was also the editor of th e English section of SERBIA, the Voice of the Serbian Fighters for Freedom newspaper.
George wrote the book Krajina: The Tragedy of a People written in 1998 which explains the Yugsolav War from 1991-1995 and the unfairness of it all. It has 191 pages and was published by the Canadian Serbian Council.
George also aurthored the wonderful book entitled: BEARING WITNESS.
Bizic, Milana Karlo. A Review: Bearing Witness: The Tale of a People and Their Legacy (An Immigrants Story) by George Budimir. American SRBOBRAN [Pittsburgh, PA] 1 Mar 2006, p. 26-27. Witnesses people living a vigorous, but almost idyllic village life of good times and bad by possessing the wonderful qualities of love, trust, tolerance and self-reliance. In the village, honor, reputation and your word were valued above all else and tales of the Kosovo Battle highlight the tale, along with beautiful proverbs, until evil strikes in 1941.
From the Grimsby, Ontario Library: Bearing Witness: The tale of a people and their Legacy, by George Djuro Budimir, another local gentleman who writes beautifully of his early life in Croatia, and his journey to a new life in Canada, then in Grimsby. More people should read this book.”
Was Voyvoda Djurich the Last of His Kind? Read it here on Aleksandra Rebic’s link:
George (Djuro) Budimir was born on March 23, 1928 in the village of Nadvrelo, Lika, Yugoslavia to parents Toma and Anka.
During World War II George was a member of Chetniks Dinara Division.
At the end of that war, like thousands of others, he left his country rather than to submit to communist tyranny.
In January 1948, after three years of life as refugee in camps in Italy and Germany, George moved to Great Britain.
In 1957 he emigrated to Canada landing in Hamilton, Ontario, where he happily immersed himself in Serbian culture. He was one of the founders of St. Nicholas S. O. Church, and an active member of Chetniks Movement of Ravne Gore serving as a long-time editor of newspaper Serbia (English Section).
George’s passion is reading and collecting books on the history of his culture and heritage for Chetnik’s Winona Library.
George received his education in Yugoslavia, Italy, Great Britain and Canada at Hamilton’s Mohawk College.
George retired from the Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation and Communication – Electronic Technology.
In addition to his technical articles and manuals, he has written many essays and stories for publications such as Serb World, American Srbobran, Voice of Canadian Serbs, Britic, and others.
He has published Nikola Tesla (for Landmarks in Serbian Culture and History), has authored the book Bearing Witness and co-authored Krajina, Tragedy of a People, and Rocks and Rattlesnakes, The Civil War in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for The Canadian Serbian Council.
Perhaps you’ve seen that terrific ad from Electrolux ICON gas, suggesting that there is no limit to what YOU can bring to the table. The message goes on to say:
“At my table I set a place for surprise, I serve opinion and sometimes fact; I simmer good conversation.”
It ends by adding,
“In the well-lived home, more than just eating goes on at the table. It’s a place for celebration, it’s a place for savoring; it’s a place where friendships are forged.”
Such a description would truly match the table in Sara Komljenovich’s home, where she lives with her sister, Zora Cheran (soon to be 92 on November 26), in the Swissvale part of Pittsburgh, PA, 15218.
Mom Laura Mamula Karlo and I accepted an invitation to dinner, but found “the well-lived home,” where we savored renewed friendships, lots of Serbian surprises and many great things to celebrate.
From the time of our arrival at their home at 2013 Lafayette Street, we knew we were in for a real treat. All the way out to the curb you could smell delicious aromas of the chicken and rice they were about to serve, along with the apple strudel dessert Sara had so lovingly prepared. Warm hearts and extended hands of friendship helped make the climb up the stairs easier for Mom Laurie.
Anyone who knows ANY of the Cherans knows they are super Serbs, super people! At Sara’s and Zora’s, I learned that not only their father, Petar Cheran, was lucky, but so was the Serb National Federation! You’ll soon learn why.
It seems that Petar had always dreamed of hitting the lottery, always telling everyone back in the old country that if he ever hit the jackpot, he would move to America. Well, that’s exactly what happened! He won big money in Europe, and used it to come to America. Not long afterwards, the 30 year-old Petar of Yukon, Pennsylvania met the 14 year old Milka Basara, and they were soon married in Wilmerding’s old St. Nicholas Church in 1909. (Monroeville -old Wilmerding-parish- celebrated its 100th Anniversary during Labor Day Weekend, 2005, honoring the memories of such early pioneers!)
I say the SNF is lucky too, because Petar and Milka had ten children, and they were all signed up in the SNF! Look at this roster of Cheran siblings: Alex, Steve, Mike and Roy Cheran, Zora Cheran, Dorothy Podbesek, Mildred Tishma, Ann Vranasevic, Sara Komljenovich, and Martha Simich. They are names familiar to most of the churches in the Pittsburgh area, where Cheran kindness and leadership skills greet visitors in Youngwood, Monroeville, McKeesport, Aliquippa and even St. Petersburg, Florida parishes.
Sara says her dad was a real businessman. Not only did Petar work in the coal mines of Yukon, but he started buying up property, too. He was one of the few who had a car or truck in those days, and so he rented himself out as a taxi, or hauled coal for people. Zora and Sara share girlhood giggles when they add that in 1942 he was also good at making moonshine, and was very successful at it.
Petar made Serbian hay, too! By that I mean, he let no grass grow under his feet. As soon as a child was born, whether a member of his family or not, he was always out there signing them up to be members of the Savez, mainly for Yukon Lodge that later merged into the Irwin Lodge #64.
“This was his life: his children, church and lodge. He loved the Savez!” said daughter Sara.
I say, “We need more Petar Cherans!“
Petar’s grandson, Dr. Michael Vranasevic, is Superintendent of the Apollo Ridge School District since 1997. He adds that his grandfather, Petar, was an Elder for the SNF. “He was very bright and knew the Insurance laws and Social Security laws well. He would patiently explain them to the coal mining immigrants of Yukon and Madison in the late 1930’s.”
Mike talked about how his grandmother Milka would have a baby in the morning, then get up and start taking care of her huge family, tend her garden, or clean the house by the afternoon.
He says his grandparents’ home was right in the middle of town, which had a diverse population of Eastern Europeans—Slovenians, Italians, Slovaks, etc. who all got along very well. He is proud of the fact that his Baba Milka was Godmother to Rudy Standish, known all over the world as “The Omelette King.” Even though he is Catholic, he was baptized in the Youngwood Serbian church. Rudy ran away from home when he was 14 or 15 and joined the circus. In between then and now, Rudy became a World Class Chef, who worked for the Scaife, Mellon and Kennedy families. About 10-15 years ago, Rudy came back to his hometown of Yukon. Even at age 90, he will still fly to Houston, New York, or wherever the famous families who love him, need him. Mike adds that Rudy has never let “his”Youngwood Ascension of our Lord Serbian Orthodox Church down. He always finds time to make his famous omelettes as fund-raisers for the church.
Mike Vranasevic, who received his doctoral degree from Duquesne University in 1997, said his Uncle Steve took the lead in the family. Steve left Yukon when he was eighteen to go work as a machinist in Detroit for the Ford Motor Company. Laid off a few years later, he returned home, and married the wonderful Lillian Ciganovic. Both of them were very active in the Youngwood Church where Steve served as Church President. (The Ciganovics -Lillian, Katherine, Andja, Helen, and Marko/Nedele from Youngwood), were tremendous SNF supporters too. At one time, Marko was English section editor for the SRBOBRAN, and more recently, Katherine worked extremely hard during the war against Serbia for the Relief Fund for years: collecting, labeling and sending care packages! What good Serbs!
During the Depression, Mike says that his Uncle Steve had a bakery business in Smithton, PA, very close to where the famous movie star, Shirley Jones’ father owned a brewery. Shirley would always come into the bakery store to shop when she was home visiting and would be treated to the traditional Cheran hospitality as well. Several of Steve’s sisters worked in the store.
“Steve would bake bread at night and deliver it during the day, but he also hauled coal. When Roy came back from the Marines, he and Steve opened a bar in Duquesne called the ‘Camp Grill,’ around 1947 and operated it until the late 70’s. Around 1957-58, they also had a tire business,” reminisced Mike.
“My Uncle Roy was president of the McKeesport, Duquesne parish with Fr. Popovich for ten or twelve years. That was in the late ‘80’s. And my Aunt Millie Tishma was very active in Florida’s St. Pete’s parish, after she left Pennsylvania in 1965.
(It’s worthy to note that sister Zora Cheran, just donated $1,000 to her old St. Petersburg, Florida church where she was a member for 36 years, and is so proud of the beautiful note she received in return from a grateful parish! Zora says some of her favorite memories of Florida is when all of the ladies got together to make apple strudels to sell for the church’s treasury. They even had Polish and other ethnic neighbors help because it was so much fun being together.)
Mike says that his Uncle Steve collected old license plates and that his son, Steve, still pursues the hobby inherited from his Dad. Some of them go back to the time when license plates were first made.
I remembered the older Steve’s passion for old cars. Mike said that his uncle had a 1911 Maxwell that was written up several times in the Sunday section of the ROTO magazine section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Steve also had an old Hupmobile. Mike thinks that the 1911 Maxwell was donated to the George Blanda (football star) Museum in Youngwood. George Blanda’s brother, Paul Blanda, was married to Steve’s daughter, Dorothy. “Dara’s whole wedding party drove to the reception at the Penn Albert Hotel in Greensburg in those old cars,” Mike recalled fond memories. “The scene was hard to believe and those cars turned a lot of heads in that town!”
In my father’s Serbian research files, I found a Pittsburgh PRESS article saved by Kay Ciganovic, dated Sunday, July 13, 1958. The title of the article written by David Kelly, Press Staff Writer was: “All Of Youngwood Goes To Wedding.”
“They danced on Youngwood lawns and on the sidewalks and on the streets today at the wedding of Dorothy Cheran and Paul Blanda. It was the biggest wedding hereabouts in 20 years. The jangling chords of tamburitazan music became the beat for the score or more volunteers who cranked up the brides’s father’s 1914 Model T Ford and even the rays of the sun were lost in the smile of 23-year old Miss Cheran.
“The bridesmaids followed in a 1921 Studebaker. There were 1000 guests from Chicago, California, Yukon and Yuma. Dorothy is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Cheran. They have planned 23 years for this day. They spared nothing to make it the greatest 72 hours in the town’s memory. “
I thought about the photos of those old cars my Dad, Milan Karlo, took when Helen Ciganovich married my mother’s second cousin, Bogdan Mamula. Little sister Sandy (Alexandra–four years old at the time!) was a flower girl, while Rosie and I were up at Shadeland Camp.
Talking about Shadeland, I can’t forget to mention how much work Mike Vranasevic’s sister, Joanne Vranasevic Vidnovic, and her late husband, Bert Vidnovic, did for Shadeland and the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese.
Or how Petar’s grandson, Roy Cheran, headed up the Publicity Committee for the SNF Centennial Celebration in 2001, using his talents so well on our behalf. His mom and dad, Olga and Roy Cheran, Sr., worked very hard for the Serb Net and Istina chapters in Aliquippa for Serbian Relief before passing on. It would be hard to find anyone nicer or kinder than Roy, Sr., and he was also a very faithful churchgoer.
Roy Cheran shared information about how his Dad, Roy Sr. and Djedo Petar were involved in a mine cave in, in Yukon and his Dad vowed never to go back in -which changed his path dramatically.
“The SNF played a major relationship role as my Dad met Mom at an SNF Basketbal Tournament in Cleveland. My Aunts Sarah and Martha, along with cousin JoAnne were the angelic Cherans in the Mckeesport choir for many years. Aunt Martha was known by many as one of the sweetest ladies ever and blessed with a marvelous voice. I remember many a Sunday and Holiday at Aunt Millie’s in Duquesne when they would all sing. The harmonies were mezmorizing. We carried on the SNF tradition as our entire family are currently members. And the boys have performed at the SFF many times as member of the Beaver Valley Jr Tammies.”
We are all so grateful to Petar and Milka for bequeathing us with such wonderful children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren! Just think about what they “brought to the table!”
Not only did we have great food at Sara and Zora’s “sto,” but just like Petar and Milka used to do at their farm, filling their visitors’ baskets with food or homemade wine, so, too, did daughters Sara and Zora fill us up with all remaining apple strudel! Going home, the car smelled so good and cinnamony, and we felt warm all over.
God bless those Grandparents-Petar and Milka Cheran for raising such a beautiful family of great American Serbs, friendly, kind and so loving.
Is it possible to ever recover those days —-or are they gone forever? Who knows? Maybe the SNF can hit the Lottery again. Soon!!!!!
Zora, friend Laura, and Sara