Pittsburgh SNF Three-Day 2010!

Get ready now for the NEXT Pittsburgh SNF 3-Day!

     July 17, 18, and 19 2009 is but a memory, but it’s time NOW to start making plans for NEXT year!

It’s usually the 3rd weekend in July, so book your airflights early!  This past year (2009) we met new people from Washington, DC,  various places in Ohio, Kansas, West Virginia, Arizona, Lackawaanna New York, Houston Texas, Steelton PA, and all the way from California and Wyoming! 

Look at these tremendous young Americans so proud of their Serbian Orthodox heritage.

They’re already making plans for next year too!

Click the lower right hand corner of the photo to enlarge and see their super T-shirts better!

 Lots of weddings coming up with this great gang! By SNF 2010’s 3-Day, Jana and Anthony will have tied the knot.  And a little afterwards, Danny and Stephanie will give us time to get to DETROIT for another great celebration!


 Eliot Maravich lives in Florida now, but tells Sally and Louisa he will never miss taking his grandkids to Kennywood!  His T-Shirt says: “Grandpa is my name and SPOILING is my game!”  

 Old Serbian Day Kennywood Veterans already!  
Born into it!

SNF President Pete Borkovich at the mike, getting ready to call on His Grace Dr. Mitrophan of the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese to invoke the prayers before starting the program.



Start making YOUR travel arrangements now….. and get hugs like these from everyone!

 Medich / Rajkovich Team work HARD each 3-Day!

 These ladies LOVE John, who shared some of the photos you see on these pages with all of us.  All three of them also have W&J in common!

John sings “Kol Slaven” like an angel. We’re so lucky to have him in St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church Choir!  He also is VERY active with all of the SNF Sports Tournaments.


 How can anyone measure this lady’s WEALTH?

 Is that the Aliquippa gang on the 2nd tier there?

 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!


Tailgating and playing “Serbian Cornball” before the boat ride on Saturday!


Susan, Georgette, Jessica and Joc ready to go on the boat!
Below: Dancing Kolos on the Boat.


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.

 80 yr. old Dance Director from Windsor, ONTARIO never sat out one dance!  He led every Kolo!  SNF President Pete Borkovich promised that he could be captain of the ship next year!


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!

Pittsburgh SNF 3 (4) Day 2013

The Bajich cousins from Kansas City and Kentucky, along with Jocey Bizic of Texas with Cowboy Bob!

Another wonderful 3-Day Serb National Federation has come and gone, so if you missed it THIS year, mark your calendars for the next, as we always have such a wonderful time welcoming people from all over the country and Canada back to Pittsburgh! We saw friends from California, Phoenix, Kansas City, Utah, Cleveland, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, West  Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, NY, Massachusetts, Windsor and Hamilton, Canada and MORE! 🙂

Joceyln Bizic, of Texas, on the Mistovich’s SNF 4-Day Serbian Flag driveway, Thursday, July 18.

Sometimes we call it 4-Day, as George and Linda Mistovich get things started with their HUGE home party-picnic the day before, making sure the week-end starts out happy and the revelry lasts! It DOES, until the last Serb out closes Kennywood, finishes kolo dancing on the Boat Ride, and partying at the 1,000+ person picnic at Castle Shannon’s Holy Trinity St. Sava picnic/cemetery grounds.

2013 SNF 3-Day began with the 97th Annual Serbian Day at Kennywood on Friday, July 19, 2013.  The Senior Group from St. Sava’s Cathedral on Broadview Heights, Cleveland, OH, provided the entertainment on the Kennywood stage and did a tremendous job with their intricate Serbian kolo dance moves, like true professional dancers!  Thank you, Cleveland!

Senior dance group, St. Sava Cathedral of Broadview Heights, Cleveland, OH

His Grace, Dr. Bishop Mitrophan, welcomed all with a spiritual blessing and gave thanks to the pioneers who kept this ethnic heritage alive and well for us for the past 97 years.  He BEGGED us to make sure we had 10 times the amount of people present for the next few years, when we will celebrate our 100th Kennywood Anniversary!

George Klipa served as MC, while Bishop Mitrophan looks on approvingly.  Both the American and Serbian flags were on display at Pavillion #5, Little Serbia.

George Klipa was wonderful, as usual, in his role as “Domacin” or Master of Ceremonies, recalling all of the names of the people who worked so hard in the past, especially past SNF Presidents (Dushan Ljubenko, Robert Stone, George Martich, Peter Borkovich, Dan Pjevich, and now Mike Marjanovich.)  Too, you could almost “see” the performers he remembered from times past that graced the old Kennywood stage:  “Vinka,” the popular Svedalinka songstress, the famous “Popovich Brothers” from Chicago, “Edo Lubich,” etc.

George called Cissy Rebich to the stage as Director of the SNF.  He lovingly calls her “Lastavica,” like a swallow, who left the Pittsburgh area, but returned! Cissy also introduced her SNF office crew of Cheryl Leidig, Milos Rastavica, Susan Hayden, and all the SNF Board members in the audience.

SNF President Mike Marjanovich, SNF “Person of the Year, 2013”-Milan Momchilovich, and his beautiful daughter, Morgan.

Then it was SNF President Mike Marjanovich’s turn to welcome the people in the audience, and to announce this year’s SNF Person of the Year, Milan Momchilovich,  President of Lodge #171 (“Djurdjevdanski Uranak”), of Schererville, Indiana.  He is a lifelong member of the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church there, the son of parents Vidoje and Irena Momcilovich, and husband to Alice Rivich, with children Marc (26) and Morgan (22). He always participated in SNF athletic and cultural events as a child, and is now very active in making sure these wonderful traditions continue by continually being a top producer of the SNF and its benefits. He works tirelessly for his church, serving on the boards. He surely was worthy of this great honor!  Nice to see Morgan accompany him too! Milan has worked at Arcelor Mittal Steel for over 40 years as a CNC machinist, supervisor, programmer, and trainer.

SNF Person of the Year Mike Momchilovich, giving his acceptance speech, urging more young people to sign their families up into the Savez, and at the end, he gave a nice donation to the SNF Scholarship Fund.

Winowich Cousins at Kennywood


 Strong families enjoying their day at Kennywood!

Top Photo:  The Medichs from Duqesne, PA

Bottom Photo:  The Klaichs from Ambridge, Sewickley, Moon, PA and Houston, TX!

The program is always at the large pavillion, number 5, so make sure you bring additional guests next year as we build to have more than 1,000 people again in the pavillion for our 100th Anniversary!


Welcome to baby boy, QUINN LAWRENCE DeLUCA, born to parents Jana (Stipanovich) and Anthony DeLuca of St. Nicholas S.O.Church in Monroeville! Born Friday7/19/13, 8 lbs., 12 oz.!  Yes, ANOTHER SNF member for sure! First grandchild of John and Sue Stipanovich!  Let’s hope for many more!!!!

QUINN joins Sonja Capuzzi (21) and Marissa (Bobik) Trklja (3) as our special SNF Kennywood babies!  

Marissa Trklja, Michael Trklja, Jocey Bizic, and Nicholas Julius Trklja!  Marissa is our “Serbian Day at Kennywood” birthday girl, age 3 here!


Thank you, Lackawanna guys and friends! 


Saturday was the Boat Ride on the Majestic, the big boat in the Gateway Clipper Fleet. The TAILGATING is a wonderful addition, brought by the Aliquippa girls (Kathy Loverich, Cheryl Leydig, Eileen Mrkal, Elaine Zavada and Joanne Ridjanek).  The Lackawanna, NY Serbs make it SO special for their Pittsburgh friends as they always provide the entertainment. (And the red/blue/white table flag too, always adds great interest!). They are GREAT orchestra players, but my favorite has to be of them singing Chuckie Popovich’s, “Ali-quippa, I love stuffed cabbage, take me home, country roads!”

The famous Lackawann-Pittsburgh 3-Day table!

These three believe “No one sings like the Serbs do!”

(At the Majestic Boat Ride Parking Lot tailgate!)


On both Friday and Saturday nights, the American Serb Club was rocking with great bands… Sokoli and Osvezenje Bands played.  Djuro Klipa’s orchestra played at the picnic in the pavillion, and Radost in” the Dungeon!”

Sunday, July 21, 2013: Each SNF Sunday starts out with Church Services either at Holy Trinity Cathedral, or the local Serbian Orthodox Churches in the area (McKeesport, Monroeville, Steubenville, Carmichaels, Aliquippa, Hermitage, etc.)  Then, its on to the Holy Trinity St. Sava cemetery grounds for a memorial service for Draza Mihailovich and all deceased SNF members. 

The cemetery is well-cared for.  These are the pioneers who built our churches, and stuck together to help each other with Insurances, providing eternal resting places, etc.  They showed great foresight!

Afterwards, the PICNIC!

This year’s picnic had to be one of the NICEST,   friendliest, biggest picnics in a long time. 

First time in “the Dungeon” for little Danica Tomich, but we’re sure it won’t be her last!  Not with these happy “Teti” and “Kuma”beauties surrounding her and her mother, Julie Tomich!

The Verlinich family of McKees Rocks!  Their grandparents were STAUNCH SNF PIONEER supporters and the traditions continue!  There are 2 Visnick beauties too!

The Visnicks (Joyce and Milan from Washington, DC, and Romilda Lovensky from California! Romilda is the wife of SNF longtime Board Member, John Lovrensky, who flies in to Pittsburgh quite often. We’re all grateful!

Brnilovich-Karlo Family.  Every year, same spot!


The Danny Kukich-Capuzzi Families share a feast!


Julie Tomich shared this photo of brilliant Grant Mrvos’ SNF 3-Day Shoes!  He should market these!


One of the most unique things this year was the exciting time finding out Baby Benusa‘s gender.  Boy or Girl?  A “HE” or a “SHE” coming in December? The cake told the tale when Halle (Belosh) and Matt Benusa cut the cake and found the cake batter was BLUE!  We’re sure little Nikola Fisher Benusa will be an SNF member as soon as he’s born!  His great-grandmother, +Martha Mamula Belosh, was SNF “Woman of the Year” in 1988.  Grandparents Paul and Kathy Belosh can hardly wait!

   It’s blue! A BOY!

Happy “Campers” with their cigars of joy!


 The joy of generations being together for 3-Day cannot be expressed enough in words or photos. It has to be FELT in the heart!  It makes THIS grandmother’s heart do FLIP-FLOPS!

3 Generations: Dad Nick, Baba Mim, & Jocey! 🙂


To view ANY of these photos in a larger size, just click on the bottom right-hand corner! 

Dane and Bob Topich

worked on this Pittsburgh 3-Day Poem, 2013

with credit to Clement Moore’s “Night Before Christmas”


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!”

‘Twas the night before 3 Day and all through the kuca
It was so stinkin’ hot there was no need for rakija vruca…
Jovo said to his wife, feeling courageous and bold…
“Donesi mi pivo and make sure it’s cold!”
The tamburas rock it at Misto’s who roars…
what’s better than 3days?…well how about four!
and when we all land nice and snug in our beds
we’ll have visions of cevapi dancing in our heads
Nada wishes she were there – but no need to fear.
This year it’s Greece and 3-Day next year!!!

It all starts with the Jackrabbit and Thunderbolt at a park named Kennywood
This is the 97th time we’ve done it so you know it will be good
Djuro Klipa arrives at the Club, accordion strapped to his back
The next morning some go to a golf course and take a big hack
On Saturday we cruise a river like the Drina
You see old friends and make new ones like Mico, Andrija and Kristina
When up on the top deck there arose such a clatter…
why everyone kolos…that’s all that does matter.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear…
the fountain at The Point that is my dear.
The sun of the mid-day had everyone sweating…
it’s summer so that is the weather we’re getting.
On Sunday it’s church in the morning, the cemetery at noon,
lamb right afterwards and kolos real soon!

The kolos were raging so lively and quick,
our Greek friends joined in, it’s Nikki and Nick!
More rapid than the wave pool those kolo kids came…
and we whistled and shouted and called them by name!
“Ajde Bosko, Ajde Aco, Ajde Dusan i Bato…
On Mira, on Ljubi, on Ruza i Kato.

You can read all about it in Sandi’s column of Reflection
Just like her mother, that’s what she does for the Serb National Federation.
We danced and we laughed and enjoyed the libations,
and then we agreed “These are the best celebrations!
It’s the highlight of summer, what a great way
to hear Dane Topich say, “I LOVE THREE DAY”

To the end of the picnic grounds to the ends of Serb Hall,
now kolo kids, kolo kids, kolo kids all.
So up to the picnic grounds these kolo kids flew,
with a trunk full of pecanja and a few other things, too!
And then in a twinkling I heard a sweet sound…
of course Djuro Klipa laying more kolos down!

As I look to see more and was turning around,
I spy Andrija Bajic who came into town!
He was dressed in his nosnje from his head to his toes…
and with brother Toma sang everything he knows.
A frula was tucked in his shirt pocket tight…
when he pulled it out playing he had it just right.
His eyes how they twinkled his band was so fun…
look it’s Randy and Bobby and Fouch on the drum!
They sang and they played an all nighter of course…
with all the crowd singing it left everyone hoarse.

From Arizona, to the ‘Burgh, they all come
It’s always a good time with a helluva lot of fun
It should be in plural and referred to as Three Days,
but we call it “Three Day” since we’re set in our ways.
It’s a long time tradition that gets better each year,
and we can hardly stand waiting as it draws so near.

Another AJ JOI, we must learn how to rhyme,
‘twas said by the boy who started this time.
If I wasn’t excited well now I’m ready to go…
let’s get on with 3 Day I’m looking for mo’
Roger wishes he was there, claims too far from home…..
We’ll raise a glass, Roger, and call on your cell phone!

I must end my banter as I’m off to prepare…
for the big crowd on Sunday that’s sure to be there.
This should be posted in the dungeon in time…
to show all of Serbdom how well we can rhyme.

At one point Vonnie reminded us all to be nice to our mother
There is nothing like a srpska majka – there is no other
And mama in her babuska and I in my sajkaca…
just chillin’ in the AC waiting for her gibanica.

SNF Past President +Bob Stone looks down with pride
Knowing that his vision of 3 Serbian Days is thriving and alive
He and his kum were always on their feet
Saying “IF you are not a member of the SNF, come see me!”

Monday morning arrives and we open our eyes, “Novi dan je!
Necu nikad piti vise…ni manje!
Monday morning came too soon and too sunny
My eyes hurt, my head hurts, and my stomach feels funny
I could have left earlier, but I had no fear
Three Day comes only once every year.
But we closed down the grounds from a great 3 Day treat,
Only to remember we’ll do it again at golf in two weeks.

If you believe in 3-Day, repeat after me…
“Happy 3-Day to all… and to all… ZIVELI !!!

Niko Nema

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!



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!

Historic Serb Days -Kennywood 1917-2016

Excitement is building as we prepare for the 100th Anniversary of Serbian Day at Kennywood Park, 1917-2016, on SATURDAY, July 16, 2016 as part of the Serb National Federation’s 3-Day weekend, July 15-17, 2016.

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.



Baba Andja’s Diaries and Kennywood Memories, Monday, August 3, 1936

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—

Today is the Serbian picnic.

(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!)


Baba Andja Mamula’s report of Serbian Day at Kennywood on Aug. 1, 1941

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.”


Speech Given by Mim Bizic

at Kennywood, July 16, 2016, right before we all lined up to make the 1,000 person KOLO line around the Lagoon!

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!

100 Years of SERBDOM at Kennywood!

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!


Singing in Canada


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!

Arbutina Families of Freedom, PA

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:

High Flight

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.


Distinguished Air Force Cross Medal- Awarded TWO TIMES!


            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.

A Dynamic Career

            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.

Educational Union Activist

            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!

        Strong Work Ethic, even as Senior Citizen

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.

Draza Mihailovich Connections

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.

Millard’s sister: 

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.


The William Vicary Mansion

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.[1]  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!


Hello Mim,
            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 Babic from 1903....

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:


Helen Delich Bentley's 40 Day Parastos 9/24/16

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!

  • Sept. 24, 2016, Columbia, MD

  • How excited we all get when we first spy this sign!

  • Friends come a’ calling…..

    Former U.S. Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley’s (November 28, 1923-August 6, 2016) 40 day parastos was served at the Orthodox Church of Saint Matthew in Columbia, MD on September 24, 2016, officiated by Rector Fr. Constantine White and Deacon Sergius Miller.  (Read more about the parish here: http://www.stmatthewoca.org/).        

  • The beautiful parastos was arranged by Greek lawyer, Michael Kosmas, Helen’s lawyer and confidant.  Helen always thought of Michael as an adopted son.   It was Michael who hosted a delicious “banquet” at his home afterwards, not only with the food and wine, but with the viewing of his magnificent home, full of valuable icons and other Greek treasures.  Michael had prepared two pans of koljivo(wheat) mixed with parsley, nuts, pomegranate seeds and sugar, and decorated on top with almonds forming Helen’s initials: “+HDB.” He had the huge pans blessed in the church before serving to guests in his home in Helen’s memory.  
  • It is always such a pleasure to meet up again with Stephanie Lalich Adams, the daughter of the famous WWII hero, Nick Lalich, of OSS fame, who with the help of General Draza Mihailovich and his Serbian Chetniks, rescued 512 U.S. airmen from behind German occupied lines in the former Yugoslavia.  Stephanie was accompanied by her fiancée, Craig, and her lovely daughter, Alexandra Rose, who had no trouble at all in making friends with the Malich children: Philip, Luke and Sophia.  Stephanie recalls how it was Helen Delich Bentley who made sure her parents’ wedding was covered in major newspapers, internationally!  When the honeymooners arrived in Rio de Janiero, they were surprised to find themselves on the front pages of the newspapers there, thanks to Helen’s quick work as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.
  • After the parastos service at the church, we were able to meet with John Jaggers, the campaign manager for all of Maryland for Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump.  Key Kidder, Helen’s biographer was also present.  Key is a descendant of Francis Scott Key (Star Spangled Banner lyricist) and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Alexandra Brkic Griffin was present with her family.  Alex worked for Helen in her office as a staffer and relayed how Helen had given her to guard, 26 filing cabinets full of things Helen did for the Serbs!   (Draga Dragasevich, former English Editor of the Voice of the Canadian Serbs, was so sorry she was unable to be in attendance, but she recalled meeting Alex Brkic and Helen at American Serbian Days in Washington, DC in the 1990’s.)  
  • We were happy to see Bosko and Evelyn Vucenovic of Farrell-Hermitage and York, PA there, also representing the Serbian Chetniks of Hermitage.  Their Greek friend, Pano, accompanied them.
  • Multi-talented Danielle Sremac, President of the Serbian Institute was there, (www.serbianinstitute.com/), as well as Drina Vastelic Rajic, the Executive Officer and Senior Advisor at the Republic of Srpska Office for Cooperation, Trade and Investment.  Both ladies live in the Washington area, as does Drina’s son, Sasha Rajic, who was also in attendance.
  • Nikola Loncar, wife Maureen, and Zvezdana Scott, drove in from Philadelphia, all Tesla Science Foundation members.  (http://teslasciencefoundation.com/)  President Loncar recalled how Helen Delich Bentley had been a main speaker for the 200 Year Celebration of Serbs in America, held in Philadelphia on Vidovdan, 2014.
  • After a quick Siri mistake detour to Baltimore (it was ok, we got to see THE sign!), we arrived just a few minutes late, happy to see many people we recognized in the church, including David and Ginger Vuich.  They are prominent lobbyists in Washington, DC.  Ginger has held executive positions in Washington for over 30 years and was also former Chief of Staff for John Kasich and a staffer for Helen.  David, who once headed up the now defunct SAVA organization, has compiled over forty years experience in the defense, aerospace, security, energy and transportation related industries. He has held executive positions with several U.S. and International firms, including currently serving as Chairman of the Board at xCube International Corporation .
  • Her good deeds for America were endless.  But she also helped her Serbian people in numerous ways, and rightfully so, many Serbian organizations were in attendance at this moving parastos ceremony via representatives, including our Dane Medich, Vice President of the Serb National Federation, see: snflife.org.  Dane is the co-owner of Napa Auto Parts in Etna, PA.
  • ·      (Bizic, Milana Karlo. Helen Delich Bentley: Godmother of the Port of Baltimore, Kuma to All of Us. American SRBOBRAN [Pittsburgh, PA] 19 July 2006, pp. 8,9. Covers tribute to Helen Delich Bentley by the Ports of Baltimore during the 300th Anniversary of the Port, an event in which Bentley served as Chairperson. The tri-centennial maritime signature event was celebrated in the newly unveiled $13 million cruise ship terminal in South Locust Point. Governor Erhlich presented roses to Bentley before surprising her with a plaque noting the official name change of the terminal to The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore.)
  • And I am excited to relate that I was present at the Tricentennial (300 year anniversasry of the Ports of Baltimore) when the Governor surprised Helen, who was Chairperson of the event, by officially proclaiming the “Helen Delich Bentley Ports of Baltimore” complete with an official green and white sign, a model of the sign that people who use the Beltway in Maryland to Baltimore see each day!  At the gala, the Governor later remarked, it’s the first time he ever found Helen speechless!  I was so happy that I was able to capture that moment for the American Srbobran!
  • Helen backed numerous “Buy America” campaigns. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan eulogized her, saying “She was a rare breed in politics and a role model to public servants across Maryland.”  Her fierce advocacy for the port of Baltimore led to the ports being named in her honor. 
  • Helen really knew how government worked, was a skilled mediator between labor and management, had decades of experience dealing with decision-makers in Annapolis and Washington, DC.  They loved and admired her, but many also feared and disliked her tongue and tenacity! Bishop Atanasije once watched her in action in Congress and proclaimed that she was a lion.   Once she punched in the stomach a fellow member of Congress who did not vote for the Serbs as she had advised him.
  • It  is important to note that upon her 1969 appointment as Chairman of the Federation Maritime Commission by President Richard NixonHelen became the fourth-highest ranking woman in the history of America’s federal government, the HIGHEST ranking woman of the Nixon’s administration and the FIRST woman to serve in a key governmental position in the maritime field.
  • A story goes that once Jerry Falwell’s Christian coalition visited Helen in her Congressional office and told her that they really liked her voting record, but they were concerned because they heard she cursed too much. Helen responded that she just could not imagine who would spread such vicious rumors.  Then when they left, she slammed the door and exclaimed “Can you believe those God damn p—– asked me that?!!”
  • Wikipedia and other biographers relate how Helen was an American politician, a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Maryland, serving five terms, from 1985 to 1995.  Before entering politics, she had been a leading maritime reporter and journalist, the first woman ever to cover an American Federation of Labor convention!  She was able to hold her own against any man, with her colorful and cantankerous, gruff styled raspy voice. The official House history says, “Her demeanor and presentation were as salty and as blunt as the sailors and stevedores about whom she wrote in the maritime industry.”  
  • After the Memorial Service, we meet with former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes and his son, U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes, along with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. House.  (https://www.democraticwhip.gov/)  What was it that made these famous American legislators and so many more prominent non-Serb people of the Baltimore area find time to attend this parastos for their friend and colleague?
  • Love for Helen….

  • Friends forever….

  • I must have thanked Dane Medich a hundred times (105 by the time we reached Moon Township), for being so kind, picking me up in my home and delivering me back home again, a long day (9:00 AM-10:30 PM, even longer for Dane who had to return to Irwin, PA).  But I can honestly say when he dropped me off by my garage door, headlights on so I could see the automatic opener, I excitedly turned around and told him that instead of feeling tired or exhausted, I was indeed energized, my entire being was feeling so “Joyful!” having been able to participate with Dane on such a memorable day, representing the SNF and the SRBOBRAN, honoring such a fine lady who did so much for her Serbian people.  And then, recalling as a Super Bonus, to  ability to share great Dane Medich/Mim Bizic stories all the way down and up the Baltimore/Columbia MD expressways and back.  He’s a fine man! A true gentleman!  Our Vice President of the Serb National Federation, Dane Medich!  
  • Helen certainly did that and so much more.  Helen, who made the “big time” with a full-page spread in the New York “Sunday News” of December 7, 1947, at age 25, never quit working for America and her Serbian people.  What an honor and privilege it was to be present for her parastos.
  • Mentioning the SNF scholarship fund made me remember how Helen Delich was a journalist for my father’s short –lived, but so important American SERB LIFE magazine of 1948.  The monthly not only documented Nick Lalich’s WWII diary word for word, but also contained one or two of Helen’s articles in each issue, wherein she would recall LIFE IN A MINING CAMP (Ely/Ruth, Nevada, where she lived close to the famous Popovich Brothers family of Chicago) or give advice to the Serbian youth, asking them to outstep all other youths in America, to willingly give a lift to anyone who is making an effort to get ahead.  “Give extra support, “ she preached.   “Extend your hand.  Help anyone of your own kind get ahead, no matter what field.”
  • Alex remembers her being a delegate of the Las Vegas SNF Convention in Windsor, Ontario, in 2006.  At that convention, Helen proudly displayed her parents’ lodge badges,  lovingly recalling their hard life but good deeds.   He also recalled that Helen had gotten her start with an SNF scholarship.
  • Malich said her advice to the newcomers was that despite economic decline, there was still the most opportunity here and that they can still make it in this country, but have to work very hard.  Another sage bit of advice was to the next generation of Serbs, the old Serbian saying, Never do anything that you would be embarrassed about if your parents ever found out.”
  • Knowing that Helen was quite ill, Alex visited with her on Vidovdan, June 28, of this year, as he knew the day would be meaningful to both of them.  Unable to sit up, Alex said she blew him a few kisses, repeated a few times that God has been very, very good to her, and her last words of counsel to Alex  were, “Stay Serbian!”
  • Alex Malich and Helen Delich Bentley had worked together on many projects ranging from Serb Net to Serb Relief.    While working as a journalist in Belgrade during the war, Alex remembers personally witnessing Helen urging the American journalists to be more fair in their coverage.
  •  One of the first to donate was Alex Malich of Cranberry Twp, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The personable Pennsylvania lawyer was present at both the church service and dinner, along with wife Zora, and children Philip, Luke and Sophia.  The Malichs also brought along with them, Dr. Natalie Pavlovich, retired Director of Nursing at Duquesne University.
  • The American SRBOBRAN of September 21, 2016, states that donors can make checks payable to “The Friends of Mount Athos.”  Write “HDB Hilandar” on the memo line and send to Dr. Robert W. Allison, Secretary for the Americas, the Friends of Mount Athos, 45 N. Saunders Road, Greene, Maine, 04236.
  • On how best to memoralize Helen, Michael Kosmos had consulted with Abbot Methodios of Hilandar, Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, and representatives of the Serbian people on the Holy Mountain, .  It was decided to help restore the ancient Cell of the Transfiguration, a short walk from Hilandar.  This Cell dates back to at least the 13th century, and was the home of the Serbian monk Domentijan when he wrote his famous hagiography of St. Sava in the middle of the 13th century.  In modern times it has fallen into disrepair and is not habitable, but the fathers of Hilandar would like to restore this ancient site for prayer and habitation by Serbian Orthodox monks.  
  • Alexander Radichevich, retired meteorologist for the U.S. Commerce Department’s NOAA National Weather Service, proudly displayed his SLOBODA newspaper from the Serb National Defense, heralding raising funds in Helen’s memory for Hilandar Monastery in Greece and sharing his “Doctors without borders” map with his markings showing Washington, DC, Serbia, and Hilandar.  Mr. Radichevich brought a donation with him, as did many present.  But its not too late if YOU want to help too.
  • News from Canada….

    October 5, 2016
  • Draga Dragasevic, former English section editor of the Voice of the Canadian Serbs, reminded me that besides being with Helen at the Serb National Federation Centennial in Pittsburgh in 2001, on the invitation of Bora Dragasevic, then President of the Srpska Narodna Odbranu u Kanadi, Helen was the main speaker at Serbian Day in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in 1990 and 1991.  Bora also paid tribute to Helen, “our Kosovka devojka,” in his autobiography “Stopama predaka”.  The SNO paper, the Glas Kanadski Srba (Voice of Canadian Serbs), wrote about Helen many times, including a 90th birthday tribute from the pen of her old friend, Olga Markovich.  And when Draga Dragasevic was president of the now defunct Canadian Serbian Council, a banquet was held at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre in Helen’s honour, also in 1990.  The Canadian Serbs were also very proud of Helen and the few times she visited them in the great north, hundreds and hundres of Serbs came to greet her and shake her hand.

Memories of Helen, Just a Short List


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.

Photos of HDB’s parastos in MD.

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!  

Bishops of Eastern America, Mitrophan and Irinej

We have been fortunate to have had in our midst, His Grace, Dr. Bishop Mitrophan of the Eastern American Diocese for twenty five years.

From the Diocesan website, I have this information on Bishop Mitrophan:


His Grace Bishop of Eastern America Dr. Mitrophan (Kodic) was born in 1951 in the village of Ljusa, Sipovo, in Bosna. His elementary studies he completed in 1966 and the Seminary at Monastery Krka in 1971. He received the monastic tonsure on the eve of the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple in 1970 and on the following day was ordained as a hierodeacon by Bishop Stefan (Boca) of blessed memory. He completed the Theological Faculty in Bucharest, Romania in 1975. In 1977, after completing his studies, he was assigned as supplent of the Seminary of the Holy Three Hierarchs in Monastery Krka. He passed his professorship exam in 1979 and was assigned as assistant Rector of the Seminary at Monastery Krka in 1980 and as Rector in 1987. He was elected as a Vicar Bishop of Toplica in 1987 and appointed as assistant to the Administrator of the Diocese of Midwestern America, Dr. Sava of blessed memory. He was appointed as Administrator of the Diocese of Midwestern America in 1988, where he remained until he was appointed as Bishop of Eastern America in 1991.

In 1997 Bishop Mitrophan successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade on the theme: “The Mystery of Christ According to the Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians of the Hopostle Paul”. 

Besides the above mentioned dissertation, Bishop Mitrophan has published many theological works. He translated from the Romanian, Professor Dr. Dumitru Staniloae’s “Community and Spirituality in the Orthodox Liturgy” three volumes of “Orthodox Dogmatics”, “The Immortal Image of God”, “Orthodox Moral Theology”. Also from Romanian he translated “The Romanian Patericon I and II” and the “Dictionary of Orthodox Theology” by Hieromonk Joankije Balan. His own book, “The Teaching of St. Apostle Paul on the Church” published in 1991 in Chicago, has been translated into English.

His latest book “Introduction to the Holy Scriptures, the New Testament” has been released this year. Also, the translation of the book “The Gospel Image of Christ” by Professor Dr. Dumitru Staniloae is being prepared for print.

Bishop Mitrophan is Professor of New Testament at the St. Sava School of Theology in Libertyville, Illinois.

The information below about His Grace Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand being Bishop Elect of Eastern America comes from the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand website.



Having taken into consideration his significant diplomatic accomplishments, amongst all else, it was determined by the members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops that he be entrusted with the eminent Diocese of Eastern America with its See in New York City. The rebuilding of the St Sava Pro-Cathedral in Manhattan, recently destroyed in fire, will be the most formidable historic task awaiting the new Bishop as he assumes the Throne of the Bishops of Eastern America.

On 25 May 2016 the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected by acclamation Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand to the Throne of Bishops of Eastern America following the election of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America to the Throne of Bishops of Canada.

Bishop Irinej was born Mirko Dobrijevic in 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, to his father Djuro and mother Milica (nee Svilar). His elementary and secondary education was completed in Cleveland, Ohio. After studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1973-1975, he attended St Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania from 1975-1979, where he graduated with a Licentiate in Theology with the academic distinction maxima cum laude. In 1980 he enrolled in St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York and graduated in 1982 with a Master of Divinity degree with Honourable Mention for his master’s thesis Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich: A 1921 Mission to America. Following which, he entertained studies at the Athens Centre in 2000 and 2003 receiving levels I and II certificates in contemporary Greek language.

The future Bishop spent most of his early career in the field of education, lecturing at Loyola University in Chicago, and at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade. For many years he was the co-editor of The Path of Orthodoxy, the official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada.

His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher of Midwestern America ordained him deacon on 15 January 1994 at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois. He was tonsured a monk on 18 January 1995 at the St Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, receiving the monastic name Irinej after St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons. Thereafter, he was ordained hieromonk on 27 January 1995 at the St Sava Cathedral in Parma, Ohio, USA. He was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite on 18 June 2006 by His Grace Bishop Justin of Timok (presently of Zhicha), a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops, at the request of Patriarch Pavle.

The Very Reverend Archimandrite Irinej up until his election as Bishop of Australia and New Zealand was the Consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on International and Interchurch Affairs and Coordinator of the newly created Kosovo and Metohija Office of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate in Belgrade. Among his numerous recognitions, especially for his exemplary work in improving ties between the Serbian state and the Serbs of the Diaspora, and for his work in advancing relations between Church and State, in 2005, he was awarded the Order of Vuk Karadzich III Degree by President Svetozar Marovic of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and is a 2007 recipient of the International Heraldic Order of the Fleur de Lys; 2008 Major Feldman Award of the Serbian Bar Association for merit; 2009 Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ; 2009 Grand Cross of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ; 2011 Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ; 2011 Senator of the Grand Badge in the Order of Saint Queen Tamar; 2012 The Medal of Merit of the Royal House of Georgia by HRH Prince Davit Bagrationi Mukhran Batonishvili; 2013 Knight Commander of The Imperial Order of St Anne of the Imperial House of Russia; and 2013 The Imperial Medal “Jubilee of the All National Effort”, honouring the 400th Anniversary of the Imperial House of Romanov, 1613-2013 by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.

Among his many appointments, Bishop Irinej represents the Serbian Orthodox Church to the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee; is a member of the Jasenovac Committee and the Permanent Missions Board of the Holy Synod of Bishops; the Advisory Council of the Njegos Endowment for Serbian Studies at Columbia University; and the Editorial Board of the Tesla Memorial Society; and the Communications Committee of the Board of Directors of St Vladimir’s Seminary; a member of the Serbian-American Center in Belgrade; and an honourary Board Member for ZOE for Life! He is the Episcopal Patron for the Milosh Obilich Society of Serbian Chivalry and the Centre for the Study of Orthodox Monarchism, both in Belgrade, Serbia; Protector and Spiritual Advisor of Australia and New Zealand for the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Chairman of the National Heads of Churches of Australia.

Previously, Bishop Irinej was the Editor-in-Charge of the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church; Executive Director of the Office of External Affairs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada, located in Washington, DC; co-chaired the Orthodox Advisory Committee of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in Metropolitan Washington; was a member of National Council of the Churches of Christ Environmental Justice Task Force (NCCC Eco-Justice); and served on the Board of Directors of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC); the Executive Council of The United States Conference of Religions for Peace (USCRP), the Conference of European Churches (CEC-KEK), the Serbian Unity Congress, the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in Chicago, and the Chicago Human Rights Commission.

On the basis of the decision of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of 26 May 2006, the Reverend Hieromonk Irinej (Dobrijevic), Consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops, was elected as Bishop of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. He was consecrated on 15 July 2006 in the Holy Archangel Michael Cathedral in Belgrade at the hands of His Eminence Dr Amfilohije, Archbishop of Cetinje, Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, together with 16 other bishops. The Consecration of Bishop Irinej witnessed to date the single largest gathering of Belgrade’s Diplomatic Corps. He was enthroned on 21 October 2006 in the St Sava Pro-Cathedral in Elanora Heights, New South Wales as Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, with its see in Sydney by His Grace Chrysostom, Bishop of Bihac-Petrovac (presently of Zvornik-Tuzla) a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops. The following day, 22 October 2006, His Grace was presented as the Bishop-Administrator for the Diocese for Australia and New Zealand New Gracanica Metropolitanate at the St Sava Monastery in Wallaroo, New South Wales.

Through his endeavours in drafting a new common constitution for the administrative unification of his two dioceses, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on 23 May 2011 approved the proposed Constitution of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church, thus effecting the merger of the former Diocese of Australia and New Zealand and the Diocese for Australia and New Zealand New Gracanica Metropolitanate. The same were elevated to the dignity of a singular, unified Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand. Hence, His Grace was titled Bishop of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Bishop Irinej holds the distinction of having thus far served the Church in Australia and New Zealand as its longest reigning hierarch. Also, he is currently Chairman of the National Heads of Churches of Australia.

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 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!


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!


George Budimir/Canada



About George Budimir

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 Budimir Biography:

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.

George is recipient of Jovan Duchich Literary Award. 

Cherans: Cherished SNF Family

The Cherans:  Cherished SNF Families
By Milana (“Mim”) Karlo Bizic

    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 & Sara with their delicious Apple Strudel!

The Cheran Sisters

Their Dad, Petar Cheran

Zora loved telling stories about her Dad!

Zora, friend Laura, and Sara


Mom Laurie had a WONDERFUL visit with her old friends!
Steve & Rose Cheran’s Wedding