Gus Bizic, Francza and more good stories

+++++Gus and Mim on Serbian Christmas Eve Day, January 6, 1963

Made for each other! 

That’s what people said who saw us! 

This was down at the Bizic’s property, at the end of Valley Road, in Ambridge, where they owned 41 acres. 

Behind us is a lean-to, where Uncle Joe Bizic and Papa Pete Bizic (and my Gus!) were roasting a pig for Serbian Christmas.  All I did was watch with my youngest sister, Alexandra, and my Dad, and eat the “mochi bread” (Pogacha with the great pork drippings!)

My professional photographer father, Milan M. Karlo, took this photo.  It was taken 6 months after we met, five months before we got married on June 9, 1963.


January 28, 2020

Posted in memory of +Gus Bizic, gone 20 years now.

Gone at 65, he would be 85. Vjecnaja pamjat!

Gus lives on in our hearts and souls.

His “Korean War Bride”

Gus was 7 years older than his “Korean child bride wife,” but he always had a creative, fertile mind, the wisdom of a sage and we all looked up to him.  

Oh, the incredible stories he could weave, telling people he was in the Korean War and that he found me abandoned as an orphan, and that the only way he could bring me back to the States was to marry me!

(If you study the photo above, his 100% American Serb wife DOES have some Oriental-looking eyes! Probably due to those Turks in the distant past.  Ha!)

I Loved My Legionairre!

He was a tremendous joke teller and you’d believe it when he told you the story of how he was a Commander with the French Foreign Legion stationed in a remote outpost in Africa  when a new recruit came in—- the punch line about RIDING the camel to town leaving us all in stitches.

Gus and Francza, Our Kuma Anne

God has a plan…. for 7 years this lady, “Francza,” told me she had the perfect boy for me. At 13 or 14 years of age, I would almost run in the opposite direction, away from the conversation she had with my Baba. In fact, I remember being in my Baba Andja’s kitchen when she started talking about this and running to the bathroom, locking myself in until she left. At 13 years old, boys were far from my mind!

In the meantime, she was in Ambridge telling Gus’s wonderful family living at 610 Pine Street the same about me.

Everyone thought of Franza as being like a gypsy. She wore such colorful, “different” clothes with lots of scarves of red, yellow and orange, some around her neck, others around her waist, all hanging down in colorful cascades. And she always had large gold earrings dangling.

Francza Ostaman Munchen was the daughter of my grandfather Nikola Mamula’s childhood Croatian friend, Petar (Peter) Ostaman, whom he saved from drowning back in the “Old Country” way before Nikola came to America in 1897. 

In fact, research shows that Francza was born in Butler, PA on September 20, 1893.  Butler, PA is where my maternal grandfather’s MAMULA cousins wound up. Losing her mother early, Francza always respected my grandmother like a daughter would.

Living in a very small one-room home she built herself in a valley near Legionville Hollow in Ambridge, Francza would take two buses and a streetcar to visit my grandmother on Pittsburgh’s South Side, filling her ears with news of “the perfect boy for Milana!”

My grandmother loved her dearly too, always inviting her for every special occasion—Serbian Christmas, Slavas, etc.

I guess my mother and Aunt Peep saw something special in +Gus too, recognizing an “outsider” from our weekly Sunday picnics up at Castle Shannon. It was SNF Vidovdan day (right before we combined it with 3-day!) and people came in buses from all over:Johnstown, Aliquippa, Steubenville, Steelton, Cleveland, Akron, etc.

I could care less. I liked Sammy for a long time, and he finally liked me. We were kolo dancing away when ole Laurie (my Mum, the Salvation Army Queen!) says, “Come over here, Mimi, there’s someone I want you to meet!”

History! History!

Then I saw him at Serbian Day at Kennywood, right by the glorious Merry-go-round. Francza saw Gus and me talking together. “This is who I wanted you to meet!”  

Francza was in her glory, beaming more brightly than ever! I saw him again at Shadeland Camp, and met his family for the first time. The Ambridge ladies always had a booth with the Serbian donuts for sale! I took Gus on a tour of Shadeland, because I always felt like I owned it, being one of the original campers!  

Francza later married a Serbian man, Stanko Popovich and converted to Orthodoxy, with my Aunt Marty and Uncle Paul Belosh as her Kumovi. The Popovichs donated the large stained glass window on the right hand side of our St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, the same one Gus and I were married in 6/9/63!

Only the window inscription says donated by Stanko and Anna Popovich. “Anna,” as she had changed her name from Francza, because it sounded “more Serbian.”

I know they’re all up in Heaven laughing at my writing this… and I am sure that someday we’ll all meet again up yonder! So, “Happy birthday dear +Gus!” You were always so special!!!!!


Gus, Ellen Bednar & Wedding Ring #5

Memory Eternal to my fellow Quaker Valley teacher, Ellen Bednar, who passed away, November, 2020.  I always enjoyed a laugh with her.  She was an excellent teacher and I’m proud to say she was my son Nick Bizic’s fourth grade teacher, and did a lot to teach American history and patriotism.

My favorite memory of Ellen happened during Teacher Appreciation Day, probably 1980.  I went out to my front yard at 350 Willow Road in Ambridge, and dug up a large begonia for Nick to take to her to show how much we cared.

How surprised I was when she called and said how much she loved and appreciated the flower, but she didn’t believe I wanted to give her my ring too!

My gosh!  I had no idea it was missing until she called!  How shocked I was that it was safe!  We laughed at every teacher in-service meeting after that!  Memory Eternal dear friend!

In total, I had lost five wedding rings.  This may have been number 3.  But Gus jokingly told me on #5, if I lost this one, we were getting a divorce!  I couldn’t help it.  In cold weather, my fingers contracted and it just went right over my knuckle.

What happened when I lost #5?  I was feeling depressed for a week or two.  One day, my mother-in-law, Dorothy Bizic, was walking up our creosoted, railroad-tie steps up our hill and saw something shiny in the orange daylily flowers I planted on both sides of the steps. It was my ring!  Thanks be to God!  She had marvelous vision!  She could walk in a field of clover and pick up a 4-leaf clover any time!

She was sure special and I loved her very much! A perfect mother-in-law to have!

More Gus Bizic stories 

Posted: Veterans’ Day, 2020

Happy Veterans Day in Heaven, Chief Petty Officer, USNR Gus Bizic!  We had a great run from the first day we met!  Memory Eternal.

BTW, if anyone remembers the story of my five lost wedding rings, the hill behind us is the one my mother-in-law was walking and found that last one!  

The photo left is on Christmas Eve Day 1963-January 6.  The Bizics were roasting a pig for Christmas in a lean-to next to that shanty.  They had 41 acres of an old ball park and a huge “shop” that would have been in front of us.  Many great memories there and in the cornfield behind the shop where we all played baseball after husking and freezing the corn for winter.

Being a city girl, I didn’t wear a heavy-enough coat.  +Gus found this extra jacket in the shop for me to wear.  People later remarked, “You’re right in style now, Mim!” 


*Gus died 20 years ago on January 28, 2000.  We were married for 37 years—33 like a Fairy Tale, 4 hard years since he suffered a massive stroke while we were in Chicago for my father’s funeral. 

Everyone loved Gus, and I can’t say enough about our wonderful community and doctors who did everything they possibly could to help me.


Remembering St. Zenobia and also Zenobia Jurkowski, Justice of the Peace in Ambridge, PA. 

A few weeks before our wedding, +Gus and I stopped at Zenobia’s office to get our application for our Marriage License.  We had spent the morning buying small gifts for our wedding party. 

Before, licenses were only $2.00, but unbeknownst to us, they had gone up in price to $5.00!  My +Gus only had $3!

So,  I had to put in the remaining $2.00! 

I never let him forget it, but I always said it was the best investment I ever made! 

God bless both my +Gus and Zenobia Jurkowski AND to marytr St. Zenobia for sending me this beautiful memory!

Gus, Sister Sandy, and the Little Sewikley Creek Raccoons who lived near Valley Road in Ambridge

My youngest sister, Alexandra, is 12 years younger than I. She was about 10-12 years old and would come stay with us for a few days all the time.  Gus would enthrall her with tales about the raccoons that lived on the Bizic property.

He would weave wonderful tales for us, sitting near twilight on our back porch, telling about how the Rachel Raccoon family was enjoying a hot dog/ marshmellow roast at the creek down below our hill.

The older raccoons were roasting hot dogs on the stick by the campfire, or some were toasting marshmellows to a brownish tinge.

The teen-age raccoons were splashing about in the creek, some of them emerging and wiping themselves off with white towels that had a “South High School” logo on them, or some walking nonchalantly to the campfire, fixing the S.H.S. towels around their necks, ready to sit and enjoy the warmth and friendship.

All of a sudden, a Raccoon sentry on watch would shout out, “Food on the Hill!  Food on the Hill!””Bizics have FOOD ON THE HILL!”  and all of the raccoons on the creek bed down below would leave what they were doing and rush to get to the Bizic homestead at 350 Willow Road. 

Gus timed these stories perfectly.  He knew what time the mother “Rachel” raccoon and her five or six young ones would come head first as lookouts peeking over the mound, and then come scrambling to find some of the food we left out for them for Sandy’s sake.

Sandy (Alex, she prefers now!) thought Gus was magic in the way he knew exactly when those raccoons were coming.  But he just kept the stories going until they did!



My sister, Rose Karlo Gantner always loved Gus too, enjoying many a Nature Photography excursions together.  One time they were down at Waukala Springs on a trail and Rose was determined to find an eagle’s nest to photograph.

Gus had seen signs warning of wart hogs on the trail, but Rose was oblivious and focused solely on finding those eagles to capture on film.

“Mayble we should turn back,” Gus tried to persuade, but Rose forged ahead and +Gus followed. Gus swore he heard grunting noises, but Rose went on. 

Look out!  Hogs! Run, Rose, Run!”

Before finding the birds, the giant hogs found them, hell-bent on guarding their territory, running towards the two amateur photographers furiously!  The two humans ran for their lives, back to the area of the hotel and safety, the only thing they had captured was a tale to tell for the rest of their lives!


Obituary from the Sewickley HERALD

Gus Bizic, 65, teacher, craftsman, after long illness.     

Gustav “Gus” Bizic, 65, passed away peracefully after suffering from multiple illnesses, in Sewickley Valley Hospital.

Born in Ambridge, PA, he was the son of Dorothy (Klaich) Bizic and the late Peter Bizic, Sr.

     He was a retired OVT (occupational/vocational/technical) teacher for the Pittsburgh Public School District, teaching at Conroy Junior High School and Greenway Middle School.

     Previously, he taught metal and wood shop for Center Area High School and welding in the evenings to adult classes.  He was a superb craftsman, learning the art of woodworking from his father and his Uncle Joseph Bizic, of Bizic Brothers Cabinet Shop in Ambridge.

     Mr. Bizic served in the military, retiring after 23 years of service in the Air National Guard, and as Chief Petty Officer (CPO) of the U.S. Navy Reserve.

     He was a member of the St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, Masonic Lodge 701 of Ambridge, the Valley of Pittsburgh Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, the American Serbian Eastern Rite Brothers (ASERBS), the Sewickley Senior Men’s Club, American Federation of Teachers, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers and Retired Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, and the Sewickley Sunshine Stroke Club.

     Gus Bizic was also a former member of the Leet Township Planning Commission, was Vice President of the Little Sewickley Creek Watershed Association, served on the Quaker Valley Council of Governments, and was a member of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society, as well as a member of the SewickleyNET Board of Directors.

     Surviving in addition to his mother, are his beloved wife, Milana “Mim” (Karlo) Bizic; a devoted son, Nicholas Bizic of Ben Avon; a sister, Anne B. McClure; a brother, Peter Bizic Jr.; sisters-in-law Danica Bizc, Dr. Rose K. Gantner and Alexandra K. Nolan; three nephews, Peter Bizic III, Mark Gustav Bizic and David McClure; and three nieces, Mary McClure, Elaine McClure Arazawa and Angela B. Nolan.

     A service was conducted at the St. Elijah Serbian Church in Aliquippa with the V.Rev. Fr. Stevan Stepanov officiating.

     In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Serbian Relief Fund, c/o 1617 Davidson St., Aliquippa, PA 15001.

     Arrangements were handled by the Wayne N. Tatalovich Funeral Home of Aliquippa.
It should be noted that in addition to flowers, many donations to St. Elijah Seribian Orthodox Church and St. Elijah Choir were VERY generously given; however, more than $4,500 was sent to the orphans in Banja Luka in +Gus Bizic’s name.  We thank our dear friends, neighbors, everyone who gave so willingly to help the less fortunate.  It was sincerely appreciated by our family.

+Gus & Mim Bizic's Wedding Photos

The new Mr. and Mrs. Gustav Bizic June 9, 1963

View of the church ceremony from the Choir Loft. Be sure to note the two witnesses with the couple with theirSerbian flag tri-colored (red/blue/white) sashes. One is the “KUM” or “Best Man,” and the other is “STARI SVJAT” or “Older Celebrant Witness.” 

Also notice the small altar table that is in the middle of the church.  It was made by +Gus’ father, +Pete Bizic and his +Uncle Joe Bizic in memory of +Fr. Tomich’s son lost in the war, and in honor of now SAINT Bishop Nikolai, and to mark the date inside where the crowns are kept with 6/9/63 in PENCIL, just in case the wedding didn’t work out! 🙂

They brought the altar table to the church just one hour before the ceremony because they wanted to make sure that Gus and I were the first to use it. Previously, that same busy day there had also been a funeral and a baptism.

Here you can see how our hands are tied with a kerchief cloth, representing the two are now ONE.

Note, we both are wearing crowns, professing that now as a couple we are King and Queen of our own Household, crowned in the glory of God. Behind the couple, the Kum and Stari Svjat are holding Lighted Candles to proclaim the Light of Christ, whose life we are to emulate.

Here as the Royal Couple united in Christ, we are walking around the altar table THREE (Holy Trinity!) times, representing ETERNITY, following the priest, taking our first steps together as husband and wife, following in the footsteps of Christ.


There was nothing that Gus could have done more. He was always looking out for me, not only here, but for the rest of our lives together. In front of us are Gus’s sister Anne Bizic McClure’s two children, Elaine McClure Arazawa and David McClure.  Elaine is ready to retire from Hershey and Dr. David McClure just recently retired from all his responsiblities as a Medical Doctor Administrator of several hospitals. 

The Line Up

Gus’s mother, Dorothy Bizic, welcoming me into the family while Gus looks on, and our Kumovi are talking to Papa Pete and the kids.

While Gus shares a special moment with his wonderful mother, Doorthy and our Kumovi and her little grandchildren in front, I had just finished talking to one of my students from the Philip Murray School in Pittsburgh, where I had taught 2nd grade.


There’s so much magic going on at this time.  The bride and groom have just exited the church after reeiving and thanking all guests for attending, the orchestra is playing away and hearts are filled with love and the desire to break into a kolo afterwards.

See the St. Elijah icon above?  It was made by Jelena Kolarovich, the daughter of the man who “wrote” the icons we have in our church, the wonderful iconographer, Aleksandar Dzigurski.

Happy bedlam!


Posed Photos for Posterity

Wedding Party and Our familes

First row:  Pat Aurelia, Rose Gantner, Alexandra Karlo Nolan, Elaine McClure Arazawa, Dr. David McClure, Fr. Vlastimir Tomich.

2nd Row:  Cousin Dennis Astorino, Dad Milan Karlo, Mom Laura Karlo, Gus Bizic, Milana Karlo Bizic, Papa Pete Bizic, Sr., Baba (MIL) Dorothy Bizic, Kuma Bessie Roknick, Stara Svjatica-Aunt Irene Klaich.

Back Row:  Kum Al Roknick, Stari Svjat Milosh Klaich, and good friend, John Shatlan.


Ujak (Uncle) Mike Klaich and his wife, Irene Klaich, Gus Bizic, Proto Tomich, Mim Bizic, Kuma Bessie and Kum Al Roknick.

2nd Row: Sister Rose Gantner, Cousin Lou Astorino, Good friends, Pat Aurelia and John Shatlan.

In front:  Davey and Elaine McClure



 +++++++ And then, At the Hall……

 Always so attentive! Whispering nothings…

+Gus was always so special, and he always seemed to give me goosebumps whenever we danced together!  I think you can readily see how happy we were.

Here we are with our Mother and Father’s dear friend, Vlajko Lugonja, from Chicago.  “Lugonja” was the one who started the Serbian Singing Federation and its Festivals. My mother, Laura Mamula Karlo, in the background, wrote in her teen-age diary about when Lugonja came to Pittsburgh to help form the Philip Visnich Choir from St. Sava’s Church on 21st and Sidney Streets on Pittsburgh’s South Side. My father, Milan Karlo, as Editor of the American SRBOBRAN, published all of Lugonja’s articles about the choirs in the paper, helping to support the fledging organization. So, they knew him even before I was born. But we ALL loved him, all generations! 

Gus surprised me by swooping me up at the Hall when we were ready to leave.  I was shocked, because I’ve never been a “Skinny Minnie!” Once again, Gus was the perfect Groom, making everyone so happy!

Here we are, leaving for our Honeymoon after our wonderful wedding.  Look how the orchestra serenaded us all the way to the car.  Two young adults with no idea what Life held in store, just knowing that it would be good to go through the next phase as true Partners, Friends for Life.


So many people commented on our wedding photos on Facebook when I posted them for the Virtual Zabava wedding project, I thought I would create a permanent page so more people could see the beauty of our Serbian weddings.  5/31/2020

The St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania   United States of America


How did we meet?

Every Sunday our family would drive up after church to the St. Sava Cemetery and Picnic Grounds on Hamilton Road near Castle Shannon, PA and enjoy the company of our church parishioners and lots of barbequed lamb, green onions and pogacha (bread). There would always be an orchestra playing, usually Danny Kukich’s orchestra.

But every year, once a year, the Serb National Federation held a special SAVEZ Day, near Vidovdan (June 28- and this has since morphed into Pittsburgh SNF 3-Day).  That’s when buses would come from all of the Eastern colonies, like Johnstown, Steelton, Lackawanna, Steubenville, Aliquippa, Monroeville, Farrell, McKeesport, Cleveland, Akron, you name it.

So it was on that Savez Day, 1962, is when I met Gus.  But I wasn’t too happy about it then!  How things change!

I liked this fellow named Sammy, and he finally liked me.  I had just graduated from Pitt and had a promised job for the City of Pittsburgh teaching that fall at the Philip Murray Elementary School. 

In the meantime, I also worked that summer for Brashear Camp. (My mom thought I should get a paying job, whereas I was a Shadeland counselor for free for 3 years.)

I was suntaned and looked nice in a white eyelet dress I had also worn for my Pitt Graduation and Lantern Night.  I was dancing lots of kolos and also slow dancing with Sammy.

My mother and Aunt Peep were sitting on one of the benches lining the dance hall, watching everything. 

In comes Gus who had traveled from Ambridge, PA to the picnic with his Uncle Steve Yorgin and friend, Bernie Janicki.

Recognizing that Gus was “new,” the two Salvation Army Queens started a warm conversation with Gus, peppering him with questions. Next thing I knew, they were calling me from my fun times to meet this new “friend” of theirs.

Oh, I grrrrreed under my breath and gritted my teeth, but I went over and said “Hello.”  Gus asked me if I would like to dance.  By now the orchestra was playing “Suze Liju.”

I accepted. It was so hot, Gus kept lifting his glasses back up on the bridge of his nose because they kept falling down from sweat.  He said, “Terribly middle class of me.”  And I, taking his hand back again, said as I batted my eyelashes so sheepishly, “That’s OK. I wear contacts!”

Next thing you know, 2 days later, Gus showed up at the camp.  Sammy had been there the day before.

Our first date?  A movie in downtown Pittsburgh. He bought me almond candies.  What movie did we see? “The Brothers Grimm!” I should have known then he was perfect, especially after he purchased a Patsy Kline 33″ record… with “I Fall to Pieces….”

Gus sang in his Ambridge High School Chorus and his St. Elijah Choir, so he often sang in the car he borrowed from his sister and brother-in-law when he would come to pick me up. One happy memory was his singing. “I’ll be loving you, ALWAYS, with a love that’s true, ALWAYS.”

He sang that one right in front of the Giant Eagle Center in Leetsdale as we were on our way to meet his parents.

And the rest is History! Eleven months later, we took this trip down the St. Elijah Aisle!


To enlarge ANY photo, just click on the lower right hand corner of the photo.

Here are +Gus and his Kum, Al Roknick.  Al’s father, Marko Roknick, was Kum to Gus’s father and mother, Pete and Dorothy Bizic. 

Kum Al Roknick and Stari Svjat Mike Klaich (Maternal Uncle to Gus), also served at the wedding of Gus’ brother, Lt. Col. Peter Bizic and his wife Danica, from Windsor, Canada.  They also got married in the St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, PA.


Here is a series of TWO Kiss photos after the ceremony.

You can see that V. Rev. Stav. Fr. Vlastimir Tomich was already telling Gus, “That’s enough, Gus!” Ha!

Everyone was smiling away!

Then an even bigger and stronger embrace!  By this time, my father, Milan Karlo, is laughing and pointing his finger towards us, and the whole church was laughing!   A good beginning! 🙂 



My father took this one!

The Table:

V.  Rev. Stav. Fr. Vlastimir Tomich, with Gus and me after the ceremony acknowledging the gift of the small altar table to the church from Gus’ family. How proud we always were to proclaim we were the FIRST to walk around the table three times as Bride and Groom. There have been numerous other lucky couples after 57 years! (2020)


Coming for the Bride!

My in-laws had a caravan from Ambridge to Pittsburgh, and they escorted me to the church in Aliquippa.

Great people!

It was a most beautiful cake, but everything had been put “on tick.”  Gus and I promised to pay everyone after the wedding and of course we did. Serbs do not give presents per se.  They give money. So even after paying for all of our expenses (the band, the food, the cake, the orchestra, etc.), we still had $1200.00 to start our lives together.  That was a lot of money then, almost 1/4 year’s wages for me as a first year teacher at $5000.

This is funny.  When I married Gus, and moved to Beaver County, I took a pay cut.  If I had stayed teaching in the City of Pittsburgh, I would have gotten $5,200.  But I was lucky to get a job from wonderful Superintendent, John Milanovich, in Hopewell-Independence-Raccon School District for $4500.00!  That was a $700.00 difference.  But I always told Gus he was worth it!


Here’s my Dad presenting us with our wedding present which was the sum of his entire pay check for the month:  $462.00 working at the Serb National Federation as English Editor of the American SRBOBRAN.

He also took care of the photographs and made us a most beautiful album to boot.  We were always so grateful for everything!


Update:  Our dear Gus passed away in 2000, four years after suffering a massive stroke that left him totally paralyzed on his left side.  This massive stroke happened while we were in Chicago for my father’s funeral. Thanks to the help of supporting family and loyal friends, my dear colleagues at Edgeworth Elementary and incredible neighbors, son Nick and I were able to make it.

In Gus’s name, $1,000 in money was given to the church, and some more for the choir, and there were floral bouquets, but most important of all, $4,600.00 was given to our Bishop to give to the Serbian Orphans in Banja Luka, a fitting memorial.

May his memory be Eternal!

Andja Mamula's Folk Costume /Arrival in America

Andja Mamula would have known this version of “Boze Pravde” during her years in America. The label is courtesy of Steve Kozobarich of Cleveland, OH, to whom we are so grateful!



Although I know this clothes my Baba wore when she came to Pittsburgh, PA in Nov. 1900 should be in a museum, I’m reluctant to part with it.  It’s been a part of my life ever since I was at least 10 years old, which is now more than 50+ years ago, when I would wear Baba’s folk outfit as my Halloween costume year after year!  How delighted I am to be able to share this with all of you in this special way!

Andja’s full woven cotton skirt, with the pull-tie waist.  I always said they were ahead of us with the “permanent press” factor, as no ironing was ever needed with this woven design.


The heavy woolen apron was folded over in half at the waist and attached with a simple red ribbon at each end.  The apron was colorfully woven, but used “coarse” woolen materials.  The design is native to the Slavonian region.


Unfortunately, over the course of 108 years, the moths have found the apron very appealing, too.


Here’s the back part of the apron, with not as intricate a design as the front, just an easier to make, striped design.  (Looks like the moths liked this side even more!


Andja’s blouse was hand-made from the loomed cotton.  It featured very puffy sleeves with lots of room, with woven colorful woven panels attached for decoration. A draw-string neckline with a small amount of decoration both at the top of the blouse and some crocheted work at the bottom, finished it off.


 Crocheted work at the neckline.  There was also some of the bottom of the sleeves.


 Woven panel decoration coming down the side of both sleeves; crochet work at the end points.  Note the blouse was made of the same “permanent press” type of woven cotton.


At the time of the 1900 Census, Nikola Mamula was living as a boarder.  Although Andja arrived that same year, the census had already been taken.

The 1910 Census & Andja & Nikola Mamula

Thanks, as always, to Cousin Marti Grimes, our family genealogist, for the Census help. If you click on the photo, you can make the image bigger!

Ten years after arriving in Pittsburgh, Andja (29) and her husband Nikola (37) had three children listed on the census, Joseph (7)Stephen (2)and Martha (1). The census doesn’t show the agony felt when the couple lost 3 children in between Joseph and Stephen.  (See Andja crying over her infant’s grave 1943 on the Pittsburgh section of this website.)  Children who died were Milosh (1902-1903); Marta I (1903-1904); Ruzica I (1904-1905).

Besides their own children, living with the Mamulas were Andja’s brother, Rade Mamula (22), Paul Curudia (30), and Stanley (25) and Peter Kosanovich (22).  These boarders were always treated as close family members.

Important!  All of them were listed as Aust-SERVIANS!

The couple, their children and boarders lived in the REAR of 2527 Sarah Street.  By now, Nikola was a FOREMAN in the mill. Three of the boarders were Laborers in the mill, but Stanley (Stanko) was a brakeman.  All were educated.

MAMULA notes from the 1910 Census, where it says that the Mamulas were married 10 years already:

Nicholas (37) Head of Household
Paul Curudia (30) Border came in 1906, b.1880
Annie (29) Wife
Stanley Kosanovitz (Kosanovich) (25) Nephew Border
Rade Mamula (Andja’s brother) (22)
Peter Kosanovitz (Kosanovich) (22) Nephew Border
Joseph (7) Son
Stefan (3) Son
Martha (1) Daughter
(Six children had been born to them by this time, but 3 died young, only 3 surviving:  Milosh (1902), Marta (1903) and Ruzica (1905). Ruzica was the first child buried in St. George’s cemetery in 1905.

Nikola was already a Foreman in the Jones & Laughlin (J&L) Steelmill.

They were ALL Servians but the Father’s and Mother’s birthplace was listed as AUSTRIA.

They lived at this time at the REAR of 2527 Sarah Street.
The Census said that both Stanley and Peter Kosanovich were able to read and write and were never out of work.


Citizenship Papers

Nikola Mamula, born Sept. 25, 1871, left his home in Ogulin, through the port of Antwerp on the 27th of November, 1898, arriving on the vessel FINLAND at the Philadelphia Port (NOT Ellis Island) on the 24th of December, 1898

Nikola declared his intention for citizenship on Sept. 17, 1913. His citizenship papers were finally signed on Nov. 15, 1915, although there was a date indicating that he had tried to do so earlier (Jan. 1902 which didn’t meet the 5 year living in the U.S.A. requirement). Nikola’s two witnesses were Joseph Wilheim (liquor dealer) and Bozo Kosanovich (laborer), his best friend and KUM.

In order to become a citizen of the USA, Nikola had to renounce being a subject of FRANCIS JOSEPH, EMPEROR OF AUSTRIA AND APOSTOLIC KING OF HUNGARY.  (Previously, someone had stamped VICTOR EMMANUEL, KING OF ITALY, which had been stamped out.)

Two clerks, J. Wood Clark and B. Hoffberger signed the papers making it official.

At the time, Nikola was married to his wife ANNA, and had 6 children: Joseph, Steve, Marty, George, Rose and Millicent.  Laura (Latinka) was not yet born. Interestingly, most of the birthdates listed for the children were wrong.

At this time (1915), the address was given as 2817 Jane Street.  But by the time President Roosevelt visited Pittsburgh, the Mamula’s home was on 2716 Sarah Street where they lived on the 2nd floor only.  Below, rented out on the first floor, was the SWOC— the Steel Workers Organization of America.


Andja and Nikola’s granddaughter and great, great granddaughter share their cookie recipe with you!
1/2 lb. butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
if you want, 1 teaspoon of rum or whiskey!
1 cup finely chopped nuts
Mix the butter, flour, sugar, and salt.  Work well.  Then add vanilla (and rum or whiskey too if you want!) and the nuts and mix, mix, mix well.  Roll into balls.  The oven should be heated to 350 degrees.  Bake for 20 minutes. 
Let cool and then shake into a bag of powdered sugar until all covered as Jocelyn and her Baba are doing here.  The longer the butter balls sit around, the better they taste, but we warn you ahead of time, they don’t last long!

Here’s our Baba Andja, front and center as President of the Majka Jugovic KSS of St. George Church on S.16th Street, Pittsburgh’s South Side.  Behind her is the priest, Rev. Fr. Alexije Savich.  To Andja’s left (our right) is Andja’s oldest daughter, Martha Mamula (Belosh).  Click the photo to enlarge.


Baba Andja’s Diary entry from March 27, 1941

“It is now 4:30 AM. I got up early because Paj (Paul Belosh-son-in-law) has to go to work early. I went back to bed for a little.  Milca (daughter) went to work and I am working on chores around the house.

“At 9:00 AM, my (son) Stevo called me and asked if I know what happened in the news.  I replied, “No.” He told me that King Peter II ascended the throne and took control.  I couldn’t be happier, I couldn’t even talk from such joy! I thought my heart would burst. The Serbians never let anyone take what is theirs.  I’m praying to God that He helps our dear and wonderful King Peter II………”

King Peter II kissed her hand in the Schenley Hotel’s Grand Ballroom in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, June 22, 1948!  At the very large banquet gathering, the always sure of herself matron stood up and said to the whole assembly that she would like to kiss King Peter’s hand for being so brave defying Hitler and preserving the Karadjordje name.

“Mrs. Mamula,” 
he said,
 “it is I who wants to kiss YOUR hand for all your kind words, etc.” 

I have always loved that story!

Was it true?  Did I have the right date?  Tonight, Thursday, June 5, 2013, at 10:53, I searched out Baba’s diary from 1948. 

Baba has it all written down! 

“Sada 6 sati jasam ustala i tako i moju Marta. Deca danas dobili karte od skole i nece vise u skolu do Spetembera.  Zvala moju Ruza. Onace doci ove.  A mi idemo da vidimo nasega Kralja Petra.  Daj mu Boze Srecu i napredak.

“Mi smo prosle vec je Halu bila jako napunjena sa Svetom.  Ali smo dobili lepo mesto. Dosao nas Kralj i neje moglo lepse da bude.  On se sa svakim rukovao i prosli smo svi u Senli Hotel.  Bila Bogata vecera, Velike Govornci i nas Kralj jako lep govorijo.  On je 3 puta pozdravila, i on je ustao i podigao casu vine u moje ime pod sav narod pozdravio!

I got up early at 6 AM, and Marty did too. The kids (that’s us-grandchildren) got their report cards today from school and don’t have to go back until September.  My Rose called and will be coming here.  We’re going to go see our King Peter.  May God grant him good fortune and Leadership.

When we got there, the Hall was completely full like the whole world was there, but we had good seats.  Our King Peter came in and couldn’t have been nicer.  He shook hands with everyone in the Schenley Hotel.  We had an exceptionally rich meal and afterwards, our King spoke very well. He “Long Live”” 3 times and he rose with his glass and in front of everyone raised it to me in cheer!


Photo of the Mamula Headstone taken on May 18, 2013, Holy Trinity’s St. Sava Cemetery

Cemetery lots at St. George Cemetery in Pittsburgh’s Carrick section: Nicholas Mamula bought them in 1929, certificate #107, lots 7&8, Section H, plan book vol. 24 pp. 64,65, for 320 square feet.  (Even though Ruzica was the first child buried at St. George Cemetery in 1905).

Born             Died

Nikola Mamula                 3/6/1871 –  3/27/1950

Andja Mamula Mamula     9/1/1877  –  1/15/1963


Joseph (Josip) 9/6/1901; Stephen (Stevan) 10/21/06; Martha (Marta) 10/1/08; George (Djuro) 3/6/1911; Rose (Ruza) 5/22/1913; Millicent (Milica) 8/16/1915; Laura (Latinka) 9/12/1918.

KRSNA SLAVA: Sveti Jovan-St. John’s Day-Jan.20th


The Mamula Crest — Tesla Memorial Society

by Nick Kosanovich, Executive Secretary/Treasurer

“The name ‘Mamula’ is of Turkish origin.  It seems to have been Serbianized in the 15th or 16th centuries.  Most Mamulas are of Serbian extraction.

“The name means “Attractive, alluring or seductive.” The Mamula clan is found in great numbers in the Gorski Kotar and Lika regions of the Cordun Militaire or Gornja Krajina or Military Region (now simply Croatia.) 

“The Mamulas are found in the villages of Koanovici, Tuk, Srpska Moravica, Hambariste, Vrelo Jasenacko, Ogulin, Hajdine, Vrbovsko, Severin na Kupi, Ogulin and Musulini.

“The crest was given to one Manojilo Mamula (Emmanuel (or Moses) Mamula) of Ogulin who was a Major in the Military Frontier by Austrian Emperor Leopold I, August 29, 1790, in Vienna.

“A Lazar Mamula was also granted a Crest of arms on January 9 (St. Stephen’s Day), 1857 by Emperor Franz Joseph I.  Lazar was the Military Governor of Dalmatia.

“The colors of the Coat of Arms are blue for the horizontal linered for the vertical line, gold for the dots and silver for the field.

“The people of this region were recruited to defend Europe which was being invaded by the Turkish armies that have conquered most of the Balkan Peninsula by the 15th century.  They were given land and guns and were settled along this perimeter known as the Cordon Militaire which affected the geo-demographic process of migration of Serbs to Croatia from Hercegovina and Montenegro and Serbia.

“The people who came here were given land and guns and were never feudal serfs under this arrangement.

“Origin of patronymics are of many sources;  Musulini, Italian; Mrvos, Wallachaian (Roman), etc. Most of the Serb patronymics are originally Serbian and have been named after geographical areas: Kosanovich comes from kosa, mountain ridge; trades, Oklabdzija, armor; etc. “


Andja Mamula Mamula and her grandchildren @ 1956, St. Sava Cemetery in Castle Shannon, PA;

FR seared (L-R): Nick Mamula, Lorraine Bobik (Moon), Paul M. Belosh, George Zoroya.

Back (L-R) Marty An Zoroya, Rose Karlo (Gantner), Jules Bobi, Ronald (Vladimir) Zoroya, Joseph Bobik, Peter Zoroya, and Milana (Mim) Karlo (Bizic). 

The youngest  (Alexandra Karlo) is missing, she was running around.


Marsilala in Serbian Cyrillic

Марширала, марширала краља Петра гарда,
марширала, марширала краља Петра гарда,
корак иде за кораком, а ја јунак за барјаком,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије.

Гледале их, гледале их београдске даме,
гледале их, гледале их београдске даме,
корак иде за кораком, а ја јунак за барјаком,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије.

Клекле доле, клекле доле па се Богу моле,
клекле доле, клекле доле па се Богу моле,
корак иде за кораком, а ја јунак за барјаком,
бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије,

бој се бије, бије застава се вије, за слободу Србије. 

Our dear “Papi!” (Puh’-pee)

Nikola Mamula making his beeswax candles for Serbian Christmas.  1948.  Photo by Milan M. Karlo.

American Serb Life Magazine, Jan/Feb. 1948. 


All the Mamulas were/are VERY proud of their American SERB heritage.  Here, the late+Laura Mamula Karlo displays a book written, edited and published by Bill Dorich of California.  Bill gifted every member of the U.S. Congress with one of these books so that they knew more about the horrible mistake they made in the Balkans, siding AGAINST the Serbs, their loyal WWI and WWII allies.  There is tremendous documentation in this book about what happened in WWII and again to the Serbian Orthodox people in the Krajina, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Kosovo regions of the former Yugoslavia during the last 20 years.  Laura was the youngest child of Nikola and Angeline Mamula.


M/Sgt. George Mamula, the fourth child, and third son of Nikola and Andja Mamula was born in 1911 and died at age 63 in 1975.  A career soldier, he was known worldwide for his bravery in action, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross in Korea, along with 18 other combat decorations and awards.  He was a member of the distinquished Merrill’s Marauders during WWII.He belonged to the Legion of Valor and his deeds are enshrined in Pittsburgh’s Soldiers and Sailors Hall of Valor in Pittsburgh.

Amer. Presidential Unit Citation
Korean President Citation
Combat Inf badge with 2 Stars
Distinguished Service Cross
Bronze Star /Oak Leaf Cluster  V
Purple Heart-3 Stars
Good Conduct Medal/5 loops
American Defense Service Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign M/4 *
World War II Victory Medal
Army Occupation Medal (Japan)
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal/3*
United Nations Service Medal

“George Mamula was the most knowledgeable and experienced soldier that I ever met during my 28 years in the Army! During WWII, he was assigned to Merrill’s Marauder’s during their famous incursion into Burma. During that operation, George was presented with the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award for combat action next to the Medal of Honor.

“Later, during the Korean War, MSG Mamula served as a 1st Sergeant in the 2d Infantry Division. Again, he was honored for gallantry in action and presented with the Silver Star. Later, George was assigned as 1st Sergeant of 3d Infantry Regiment, Ft. Meyer, Washington DC. 

“Everything important that I learned about the Army was a result of “being under the wing” of MSG George Mamula! At 19 years old, I was accepted to attend Infantry Officer’s Candidate School at Ft. Benning, GA. In 1976, after having served 3 combat tours in Vietnam, I was promoted to major and was on a TDY trip to Wash DC. George had retired and was residing at the Old Soldier’s Home, Washington DC. We spent about 2-3 hours on our last visit.”  

Charles E. Whittle, Colonel, US Army, retired.

Message Board,, 2 Jan. 2014.


Both Andja Mamula and her husband whom she married in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, were from Vrelo, Jasenak, Ogulin, Lika, by the Gormije Monastery.  Here are some maps to help orient you as to where they lived. 

The Karajlovichs were from Primishlje, near Terzic, Slunj, Kordun and weren’t that far away either, as the map shows.


MAMULA notes from the 1930 Census:

Nicholas (59) Head of Household; his home at 2716 Sarah Street was valued at $4,000 in 1930.

Angelina (52) Wife

Joseph (28) Son (Rigger in J&L Steel Mill)

Stefan (23) Son

Martha (21) Daughter

George (19) Son

Rosa (15) –Ruža -Daughter

Mildred (14) –Milica- Daughter

Laura (11) –Latinka- Daughter

Nellie Trbovich (15)–niece, born @ 1915

Aunt Nellie (Mamula Trbovich) came to live with Baba when her mother, Marta Mamula Trbovich died.  Baba Andja always considered her another daughter.


Andja Mamula Mamula was my grandmother, someone I loved with all of my heart and was so proud to call “Baba.” 

(You read it right.  Mamula, Mamula.  She was a Mamula who married another Mamula, but they were no relation.  Serbs don’t approve of any cousins marrying, nor could those of marriageable age even begin to think of two brothers marrying two sisters or a combination thereof. Goodness gracious, you couldn’t even marry your (no blood relation) Kum’s sister or brother because once your family became KUMOVI, you were “related for life!”)

Andja Mamula was a former elementary school teacher (grades 1-4) from the little Serbian village of Vrelo, Jasenak, Ogulin, located not too far from her beloved Serbian Orthodox Monastery “Gormije,” where the villagers celebrated their important Feast Days, all then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s “Militaire Kordun” or Military Frontier, (Now just “Croatia”).

Andja’s parents were Marko Kovachevich and Angeline Evosevich Kovachevich.  

Her parents were Rade Mamula and Rose Kovachevich Mamula.

Andja’s brother, Stevo Mamula (1874-1948) was the first in their immediate family to go to America.  He worked in the Pittsburgh steel mills, finally saving up enough money to send for his oldest sister who had taken such good care of them all “in Stari Kraj” (the Old Country) after their own (Andja, Stevo, Rade, Marta) mother died young.

Andja arrived in Pittsburgh, PA, USA via the train station that now houses the “Grand Concourse” Restaurant at Station Square in the former P&LE RR Station.

There was a whole contingent of Serbian immigrants out that day to welcome their friend Steve’s older sister, and as with any crowd, were happy and boisterous. The brawny and strong young men had eagerly watched as the people on the arriving train had deported, scattering here and there with relatives and friends. But where was Andja?

Stevo was glad Andja had Milica Mamula (a friend) for a traveling companion on the 13-day journey to the New World. 

Milica had been welcomed to Pittsburgh wholeheartedly by the many men present, especially so by her loving husband, Radan Mamula.  Soon, they would be traveling together to his residence at 2700 South 27th Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side, finally as husband and wife once more.

Many other Serbs lived tightly together in the neighborhood, Radan knew Milica would feel right at home. 

Why, Stevo only lived only 1/2 way around the block at 2814 Carson Street, so Milica and Andja could STILL be the best of friends.

But where was Andja? 

Milica took time out from all the excitement surrounding her to explain to Stevo that there was a little trouble at the end of their trip.  Andja didn’t want to get off at the station! 

Stevo had to board the train to get his recalcitrant sister off the conveyance that had brought her from New York City where she had been prior to arriving in what became known as the “Smoky City.”

Stevo expected a smiling Andja, and had hoped to hear his 22 yr. old sister’s trip from the port of Antwerp was trouble free once she landed on Ellis Island in New York from aboard the SS (Steamship) Noordland, Nov. 30, 1900.

So unlike the confident Andja he left behind, Stevo was baffled by his sister’s shy behavior this day.  Hiding behind her dear brother’s coat tails, she stood fast on the train’s platform, reluctant to let go of the hold she had on the metal pole in front of her. Perhaps she knew her fate, her whole future, was about to be decided.  Soon.  Real soon.

Andja could see the swarm of young Serbian men, gathered as in a hive on the RR tracks, all waiting to eagerly please the soon-to-alight “Queen Bee. ” Each masculine J&L Steel Drone wished to be “the chosen one,” the lucky man to win her hand.  For years, the young Serbian men hadn’t seen any of their “own” women in America, and most were slaving away in the mills.

Slavic women in Pittsburgh were a real rarity in those days. These young and virile men worked 12-16 hour days seven days a week, many living as boarders in rooming houses that could hold “extended” families of 10 or more people living in cramped quarters. 

Each of these men would dream about the day they too could get married and start a family of their own. 

Coming forth soon from the   P & LE RR station was “one of their own” —one who could speak their language, cook their food and clean their clothes, and sing Serbian lullabies to their children.

Beforehand, Stevo had promised that whoever could pay his sister’s fare of $50.00 might have her hand in marriage, perhaps thinking this would show desire and industriousness on the part of any suitor, and perhaps a way for Stevo to recoup his investment wherein he could then send for another member of the family much sooner than expected.(Rade came in 1909.)

Andja saw the band of eager young bucks waving their $50 bills in the air.  No wonder why she was frightened.  She didn’t want any part of it.

Stevo was trying to reason with his sister, to reassure her these were all good friends.

“No, no, no…” she cried.

But just then Andja saw a head sticking out, up from the crowd.  Nikola Mamula, standing 6 ft. 1″ tall at the turn of the last century was almost a head taller than all the others there. 

No wonder why his nickname back in the Old Country was “Nikola SUSAK.”  Not only because there were a lot of Nikolas in their village and this would be one way to distinguish him from the others, but ALSO because he was as tall as a tree in the forest!

Andja’s glaze focused on the tall fellow.  She didn’t know Nikola at all personally, but she had seen him before!  She recognized him as being from the town where she would go for water and other necessities.  The two had never formally spoken, but at least his face was one she knew, some one with whom she could have at least something in common.

“Oh, let it be him!” she pointed out the tall stranger to her brother.

Stevo knew Nikola well from working in the mill, and already being a leader of the men. 

But there was a problem for our heroine and her brother!

Nikola wasn’t one of those waving his money about.  He didn’t HAVE any money to barter with as he sent much of his earned wages back to the Old Country to his family left there.  And besides, he liked to have some good times with his buddies after work too, in the many bars that lined E. Carson Street where the mill gates were.

But hold everything!  Upon making eye contact with Andja, our up-’till-now reluctant hero, Nikola started  pushing his way to the front, shoving aside many of his young friends just as Moses parted the Red Sea.

Nikola’s “manhood” kicked in. Suddenly he decided he didn’t want to just be there to see this “Srpkinja” coming in, but he, too WANTED this woman as his wife!

Soon Nikola was confronting Stevo, eyeball to eyeball, two chests beating and heaving closely together. 

“I don’t have the money now,” Nikola was almost yelling at Stevo who stood so close to him, “but I promise you, I will get it.  You know I am good for my word!”

Well, I don’t know what exactly followed after all the other angry and disappointed young men left the station, but from marriage records at the Allegheny County Court House, I do know that less than a few days later, Andja and Nikola were married. 

And yes, they did live happily (most of the time!) ever after.


The 1900 U.S. Census taken on June 2, 1900, shows that Nikola Mamula, who had served in Austrian Army under Emperor Franz Josif at the age of 21, was one of six borders living with Petar Vujnovich (it says Vujnowiz) and his wife Amelia, with three daughters, Mary, Sophia (9), and Annie (3), and a young son (age 2) named George, at 2721 Carey Alley (Way) on Pittsburgh’s South Side. The other borders were Sam and Stevan Mamula. The Census indicated that Nikola had been in the country since 1894 (or six years).  Only 5 months later, the 30 year-old Nikola Mamula was at the train station, and claimed Andja Mamula as his bride! 


(Also see various photos of Andja and Nikola scattered throughout this website, especially on the Christmas page, and the Pittsburgh History and Pittsburgh Steel pages.)


March 8, 1942

Andja & Nikola Mamula & their 7 month old granddaughter Mim Bizic (Milana Mamula Karlo) in front of their home at 2716 Sarah Street, Pittsburgh’s South Side.


By the time of the 1930 census, Nick was 59, Angeline (Andja) was 52; son Joe was 28 and a rigger in the mill.  Uncle Steve was 23; Martha 21 and working as a Stenographer at a Leather Shop, George was 19, Rose 16, Millicent 14, Baby Laura was now 11.  Also living with them is Andja’s niece, Nellie Trbovich, age 15. 

In the 1910 and 1920 Censuses, the Mamulas wrote they were from Aust-Servia, and that they spoke Servian.  By the 1930 Census, they said their country of origin was Yugoslavia, but they spoke Serbian.

For Andja’s Brother Rade,  when living as a boarder with his sister, he was recorded as being from Aust-Servia and speaking Servian.  However, the 1920 census has him as being from Hungary and speaking Hungarian.  In the 1930 census, the report says he was from Austria and spoke German!

It was a mixed-up time for most immigrants.

As cousin Marti, the genealogist says, census data can be misleading, just like when reading Death certificates. A lot depends on WHO gave the info and WHO the census taker was.  The other issue was the language as some immigrants were frightened and didn’t understand the questions being asked, sometimes giving info based on what they thought were in their best interests.

Records have to be checked and double-checked for accuracy.

For instance, if you look up Andja Mamula’s record of arrival in Ellis Island, there are several inconsistencies.  The electronic date says the ships’ date of arrival was Nov. 11, 1900.  However, upon further research, you will see that the original ship’s manifest, signed by the Ship’s Master, Frank Loesciwitz, states that the ship sailed from Antwerp on Nov. 17, 1900, so how could it arrive on the 11th?  The journey ended, according to the good captain, on Nov. 30, 1900. Someone wasn’t careful in recording the information.

Another error was saying that Andja was a male.  Another recorded Andja and Milica as not being able to read or write.  Andja was a teacher in her village, so it is safe to say she could do both!


The marriage certificate on file with says that Nikola and Andja Mamula were married November 13, 1900.


The Mamulas belonged to the Vojvoda Stepa Stepanovich Lodge #11 of the

Serb National Federation!


Andja’s Brother Stevo M.

Stevo sponsored all of his family members in his quest to get them all to America: sister Andja, brother Rade, and sister Marta. FINALLY, there were all together again, this time in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, far from their home in Vrelo, Jasenak, Ogulin.

Sadly, Stevo and Andja’s brother Rade died in an accident in the Steel Mill, and their younger sister, Marta, died not long afterwards following childbirth. 

So disappointed and overwrought with the tragedy that befell his brother and sister, Stevo went back to the Old Country, settling back in their old village.  However, he and his family had to flee to Belgrade during WWII, where some relatives still make their home.


Nikola Mamula

of Jasenak, Ogulin

(of the Vojna Krajjina or  Military Frontier),

Austro-Hungarian Empire,

Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the the Kingdom of Yugoslavnia

 had 6 brothers: Djurach, Radan, Glisho, Bozo, Sava, (Nikola) and Mile.

Nikola’s grandparents were Vasil and Sveta Hayden Mamula

Nikola was the youngest son of Josip and Marta Kosanovich Mamula before his mother died when Nikola was only 6 months old. 

However, Nikola was always proud to have been raised by a very kind stepmother who then had her own son, Mile.

Mile’s first son was Sava. Sava and his wife Ljuba had two children: Vlajko & Milena Mamula Danilovich. Vlajko recently passed away, but Milena welcomes her relative, Pittsburgh Milana, to Belgrade everytime she comes!

Djurach (George)

Simo, Rade, Josip, Koja, Mikica, Ljuba



Mirko, Goyko, Mile, Rade, Andja, Simica



Bogda, Mihailo



Josip, Simo, Kosa, Aika, Savka



Mara, Milka, Jovo, Milosh, Nikola, Olga, Marta, Sida, Jelka


Nikola (our Papi!)

Josip, Milosh, Marta 1, Ruzica 1, Stevan, Marta, George, Rose, Millicent, Latinka (Laura)



Sava, Mara, Nakica, Marko, Dushan.


To hear more old time Serbian records, be sure to check out the website of our wonderful contributor, Steve Kozobarich from Cleveland.


The recordings on the top of this page are also from Steve.

Puna Hvala!

Ja Sam Mala, Cura Fina!”

I’m smiling as I write this because I can still hear my +Aunt Peep singing it so happily for us….


Andja & Nikola Mamula

Photo by son-in-law, Milan Karlo 

Dear Baba and Papi,

This one is for you!  Your children are all gone now and with you in Heaven, but your grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren are still carrying on your love for this song!

(Click link below to hear an old version of Marsilala!)


Marsirala, marsirala Kralja Petra garda
Marsirala, marsirala Kralja Petra garda

Korak ide za korakom,
A ja junak za barjakom
Boj se bije bije, zastava se vije, za slobodu srbije
Boj se bije bije, zastava se vije, za slobodu srbije

Gledale ih, gledale ih beogradske dame
Gledale ih, gledale ih beogradske dame


Klekle dole, klekle dole pa se bogu mole
Klekle dole, klekle dole pa se bogu mole


And in English, as little Michael (Bobik) Trklja could sing both the Serbian AND English version from the time he was TWO years old: 

“They marched along, they marched along, King Peter’s Royal Guardsmen.” 

On Mother’s Day, 2013,  Andja’s great, great grandchildren (4th generation in America!) Michael (Bobik) Trklja and his cousin, Alayna (Bobik) Grese sang and danced with the Jedinstvo Folk Lore group at Baldwin High School. 

Baba Mim gave them pens with this image of King Peter and his Royal Guardsmen to commemorate the day!



My Aunt Marty!

Because of her lifetime of devotion, dedication and untiring efforts to the Serb National Federation, and everything Serbian, Martha was unanimously selected as the SNF 1982 


which award she received on July 15, 1983 at the 66th Annual Celebration at Kennywood Park, during the 3 Pitt Serb Days.

Born Oct.1, 1908 on Pittsburgh’s South Side, she was the 3rd of 7 surviving children (3 died early) born to Nikola and Angelina Mamula.

At age 16, because of her fluent knowledge of the Serbian language, got her first job at the Sloboda Society, with the late Branko Pekich.

Her father was Treasurer of the SNF Lodge No.6, “St. John’s,” one of the first SNF Lodges and her uncles, Stevo and Rade Mamula, were among the first Federation members.

Her mother was President of the SNF Lodge 18, “Majka Jugovica”- an all ladies lodge.

Martha was one of the first members of the Junior Order Kolo No. 1.  She was the third person to be signed up as her brothers Joseph and Stevan were ahead of her.  Joseph, who was first, later received a special SNF ring.

In the Jr. Kolo No. 1, she was an active member, and later served for many years as its Junior Order Elder, and as Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and Recording Secretary.

Later, she moved into the Senior Lodge.  First to the SNF Lodge 18–the all ladies lodge, where her mother was President, and later to SNF Lodge 11, “Vojvoda Stepa Stepanovich” in Pittsburgh.

She was elected to the position of Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Recording Secretary, a post she held until her death.

She attended the 1971 SNF Quadrennial Convention in Windsor, and in 1975 in Cleveland, OH.  At both Conventions, she served as English Secretary, while hearing both languages interchangeably.

She was a founding member of the SSS Philip Visnich Choir of St. Sava’s Church in Pittsburgh, a member of the church, and served on the Board during WWII. 

She was also a member of the Kolo Srpski Sestara.

In 1937, she married Paul Belosh (Belus) of Freedom, PA, and had one of the largest Serbian weddings anywhere.

To them, son Paul Mamula Belosh was born on October 18, 1947.

Husband Paul passed away in March, 1975.

PMB married Kathy Smith (4/23/50) and they have two children, Halle Anne and Jordan Paul, whom Martha loved dearly before passing away on Dec. 28, 1988 at age 80.

Halle (11/21/1983) married Matt Benusa (1/5/82) on  8/8/09; and Carli Hoehn (1/27/88)  became Mrs. Jordan Belosh (9/26/85) on 9/5/12. The family unit can be seen supporting all of the many Holy Trinity Cathderal affairs, or at SNF functions, working and helping, whether helping with the Fish Fries, or always taking the FIRST SHIFT at the bar on the at Castle Shannon’s Holy Trinity’s St. Sava cemetery/picnic grounds.

The whole family can also be found at Shadeland for the Annual Diocesan Days.

Congratulations to all!

Baba Andja would have been so proud!

 Jordan, Carli, Matt & Halle

From the two couples above, we have Grandchildren: Nikola (Niko) Benusa, and Sonja Grace Benusa.  And Jordan and Carli Belosh were proud to report another Belosh grandbaby should be here by March, 2017!  We’re anxiously awaiting that day!

Following in her Aunt’s footsteps, niece Mim Bizic received the SNF 


award at 91st Serbian Day at Kennywood on July 18, 2008.

You can see photos of the occasion and read more about that here:

Not Retired From Learning. 

Andja Mamula: Selected Diary Entries 1936-1963

March 8, 1942: Andja and Nikola Mamula in front of their home at 2716 Sarah Street, on Pittsburgh’s South Side, with 3rd grandchild, Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic


Andja Mamula Mamula was a strong woman, way ahead of her time, and a real leader of the Pittsburgh area South Side Serbians, respected by both the women AND men for her knowledge, her love for all things Serbian and Orthdox, and her beloved family. I’m so proud to be able to call her my “Baba.”  While here, I also want to honor the memory of my other Baka, Stana Batalo Karajlovich-Karlovich-Karlo.  She too, was a wonderful grandmother, but much more quiet and reserved.  Andja never hesitated to stand and give a speech whenever asked to speak what was on her mind, which she readily did!  

Andja’s KRSNA SLAVA was Sveti Jovan.  

Here are a few of her earlier entries on what happened that day, 1936-1941.

1936-January 20:  Sveti Jovan’s Day. She was sorry 2 of her 7 children were elsewhere in the world…”Oni su daleko u tudjem svetu od svoih roditelja i brace i sestara ali samo Boze daj njima zdravlje u svetu. Danas je Krsna Slava moga gospodara. (Today was the Krsna Slava of her “Boss,” –her beloved husband she teasingly called boss, as it was her old Slava too! “Sproveli smo vrlo lepo i imali vrlo lepu posetu dan nije mogla biti bolja. Ljudi svi moje stari prijatelji—Mr. Kosilja i Jim iz mlina (the day was wonderful, all of her old friends and Mr. Kosilja and all of my grandfather’s friends from J&L Steel Company (Mill), and Mr. Branko Pekic. It just couldn’t have been better, thanks be to God, that there were so many here. It was hard for me because my George and Rose were not with us, but thank God they are healthy. We all sat around until 3 o’clock in the morning when I decided to go to sleep. There was such a big snow today, the kind we rarely see–the biggest ever, probably, but there was no snow in OUR yard… because all of the men cleaned it. My Josip and Jim and so many others, even though George was not here to help them. Finished.”

Apparently, it was more than one day celebration…. The next day, Dragic came, Mr. Buncic and Mr. Musulin too! And Naka Trbovich.

  • 1937-January 20: Djedo Nikola took the kolach and koljivo and gave $6.00 donation to the church in Sv. Jovan’s name. (Uncle) Steve, her son, announced that he obtained a marriage license to marry his girlfriend, Ann. There were so many friends and Kumovi here, along with Mr. Pekic and Fr. Markovich. He talked a lot about beautiful things and it just couldn’t be nicer. Later in the evening, about 11 o’clock, many happy relatives of our Pi came, and I was so happy. Naka came then too, and helped me along with my kids. All of Latinka’s (Laura’s) gang was here too, coming at midnight. Milica (Aunt Peep) went to bed a little bit early, but Marta and Beba (Latinka-Laura) went to bed at 4:30. They really worked hard, and I’m finishing this diary very tired but happy.
  •  I’m laughing because Baba wrote the next day about how the house was “Sve blatno,” and smelled terrible from cigarette smoke!


1938-January 20: “Today is our holy St. Jovan’s day, the Krsna Slava of my husband. May God grant it to be lucky (sretna). Nikola (her husband) went to our Mother Church (mater crkvu) and took our Kolac and Koljivo with Marta and George. I’m working here at home with my other daughters. Marta brought home all kinds of cakes too, but everyone was raving about our kolach! Our priest was here….and friends from locations everywhere– “prijatelji sa svih strana!” Pi had to work, and I was so sorry about that. Joe didn’t feel well, and that was my hardest “briga.” Little Andji came with Tetak Dusan and his family and so many other friends.


1939-January 20: Today is our dear Sveti Jovan, our Krsna Slava of my husband and our home, and all of our family members from where I was born. (“Danas je Sveti mili Jovan-Krsna Slava moga gospodara i moje kuce i familije gdje sam se ja rodila.” May God grant that it is a happy and greetings to all who celebrate this dear day through the ages. (svi drugi ostali u godina dana). Today was a very beautiful day. The trees are lovely with their heavy snow-laden branches, like white wreaths from snow fallen several days ago. Milica is working and Beba Laura is in school, but she came home early. Our Josephine is helping in the house. George took our Kolach to our mother Church. He gave $3 and for $1 he bought a candle. Thanks be to God for our many blessings. Everything looks so wonderful around the house and any minute now, we’re waiting for our Kumovi and friends and for the rest of my dear children. Pi, Marty, Milica, they all game. At 8:00 PM came our priest and we all turned the kolach. And the koljivo was something so special. Our house was so full of happiness and love that I never saw such a wonderful time here… Our whole house was happy. Fr. Popovich I could listen to all the time. So many of our friends and kumovi were here, and I was so happy as you could hear us until 5:30 AM!. “Jako sam vesela da je tako bilo. Culismo do 5:30 AM! Beba Latinka (Laura) had to get up early to go to school, but she was so tired!


  • 1940— I looked to see what happened the day before Sveti Jovan. There’s Baba, January 19 saying, “It is now 5:30 AM, our “Sveto milo Bogojavljenje” —-isn’t she wonderful? So knowledgeable about all church things she loved! Teta Eva (Dusan’s 2nd wife, as his wife Marta for whom Aunt Marty was named, died very young.) made a lot of sarmas because I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t even open my eyes! Steve’s Ani is helping her too, as I’m laying so sick.


1940-January 20- It’s now 5 o’clock AM. I got up early to find a big cold outside. But it is our dear Krsna Slava Sveti Jovan. I don’t feel well, however, but I don’t want my children to know…I want them to celebrate this day in health, but my heart is breaking. My dear beba (Laura) is in the hospital. My Milica is far away. I have to endure. May God grant Marta everything good for how good she is to all of us. The priest came at 12:00 and blessed our Krsna Slava Kolach and then I went back to bed after we had a beautiful rich lunch. There were many of our lovely friends here, but I didn’t have my Milica or my baby (Laura). I’m so sorry.


 (Aunt Rose was helping her a lot the next day—and mopped the floors afterwards.  Baba was feeling a little better. “Ruza jako radi po kuci. Sve je posudje ocistla. Poselen je sve ribala. Jase malo bolje osecam. Ruza ide na drustvenu sednicu ako se odmaram.)  Rose is going to a meeting.

My dear Laura called.  Marti and Pi went to the show, while all of the rest of us at home were reading.  Some were resting.  Mr. Musulin was here and we talked very nicely (jako smo se lepo razgovoili) until he left about 10:00 PM.  I then went back to bed.  I’m so sorry that I felt like this because before I could jump around on my legs like a racing horse!


1941-Sunday January 19-Bogojavljene-


Rano sam ustala Sveta Nedjeja. Lepo jutro da ne moze biti lepse.  Pa o malen bel sneg a sve se dobra povani zamrzlo.  Skripi malen pod nogama sneg.  Svaki covek koji ima brkove-visimu ledenica kao o sveca niz brkove. 


Da nasnji dan toje Bogojavljenje.  Bogojavlenje mora leda a koga nema donesti ili a koga previse razbiti.  To je Srpska prca I toje tacno.  Bilasam u Bucarni.  Poslem ja mesila malo hlebai Liturgiju, deca spremaju celi dan po kuci spremamose za Krsnu Slava Sveti Jovan.  Daj Boze da dodje sretan.  Moja Marta malo lese osecise.  To mije naj milije.  Imam briga ali moram da prelazim preko nji.  Nije lako.  Al se mora savrsijem.


1941-Monday, January 20, 1941

Sada je 4:30 AM.  Jasam rano ustala.  Sveti Mili Jovan.  Osvanu o da nemoze lepse biti. Neki idu radititi fala Bogu I Svetom Jovanu.


Milica ide u mater crkvu, nosi kolac, vino I zito.  To se zove Koljivo.  Darovala $5 na mater crkvu I upalila vecu svecu.


Mi se pripremamo za docek gosti. Nije moglo biti lepse I Bogatije.  Moj Stevan I Ani dosli u 3 sata.  Bilisu svi moji Kumovi, moji Prijateli iz friduma (Freedom, PA).  Dosta ljudi iz ofis Mr. Pekic, I Karlo’s Joyce, some Mervoshs, moja Nak, Ruza, Fraenk I cela familija.  Nije bijo moj Dusan, zao mije. 


Sve je bilo tiho I mirno, u lepu veselju I razgovoru.  Jasam jako bila zadovolja.  Bila ovde moja lepa prijateljim Mr. Markovich.


English translation:

19th: I got up early for Holy Sunday.  A beautiful morning that couldn’t be any nicer, A little white snow fell and everything outside froze.  It will be easy to fall when your legs touch the snow.  Men who have moustaches have ice on them like wax melting from candles.


Today is our Epiphany.  You need ice on Epiphany and who doesn’t have it, they bring it or they will break it too easily????  That is a Serbian saying and its true.  I went to the Butcher Shop.  Afterwards I mixed up a little Liturgy bread.  The kids and we were working all day in the house to get ready for our Slava of St. John.  May God grant that this day passes well.  My Marty is feeling better, and that’s my greatest happiness.


St. John’s Day: Monday, January 20, 1941.  It’s 4:30 AM.  I got up early as today is our dear St. Jovan.  Outside it can’t be a nicer day, thanks be to God and St. Jovan.  Milica is taking the kolach, wine and zito (wheat) to church.  That’s called KOLJIVO.  She gave $5.00 for our Mother Church and lit a huge candle for us.


We’re preparing and waiting for our guests.  It couldn’t have been nicer or richer.  My Stevan and Annie came at 3:00 PM.  Our Kumovi were here and our dear friends from Freedom, PA. (Uncle Pi’s relatives!)  Many people from the SNF office came… Mr. Pekic and Aunt Lepa (Karlo’s Joyce), some Mervoshs, my Nellie, Rose, Frank and their whole family, but our Dushan didn’t come, I was sorry.

Everything was quiet and peaceful and we had beautiful conversations.  I was so happy. My good friend, Mr. Markovich, was also here.





April 6, 1941:  Mike Bozic’s Christening and GERMAN WAR ON SERBIA


April 6, 1941, I read in Baba Andja Mamula’s diary: “Danas je Sveta Mati Nedjelja.  Ja sam rano ustala.  Ja spremam u mater Crkvu.  Ja, Nikola, Eni, moga Stevana.  Mi smo se spremali za pricast.  Dase izpovidimo i Gospodu Bogu pomolimo.”  (Today was Holy Mother Sunday.  I got up early and am ready to go to our Mother Church with husband Nikola, daughter-in-law Annie, my son Stevan.  We prepared for Confession and Communion and to pray to God.)

            “Nas vozi Marta.  Milica ostaje kod kuce kuvati uzinu.”  (Aunt Marty Belosh was taking them, and Aunt Millicent Bobik–“Aunt Peep”- was staying home to cook lunch.)

            “U crkvu nije moglo biti lepse I bilo dosta naroda.  Vidlasam dosta Prijatelja I Kumova.  Mi smo dosli kuchi.  Milica nas lepo docekala.”  (It couldn’t be any nicer in church and there were lots of people.  I saw a lot of friends and Kumovi.  Then we came home where Milica (Aunt Peep) had a lovely lunch prepared.)

Baba continued: “Poslen uzine, mi idemo u Okland na Veliki Koncert.  Nije moglo biti lepse i sveta vise.   I tuj sam vidla dosta Prijatelja.”  (After lunch, we went to a big Concert in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.  It couldn’t be nicer and any better.  There I also saw many friends.”  

 “Mene je Marta I Paj kuci dovezli a oni su prosli I Otac Petkovic na Krstano Kumstovo!”  

            Aunt Marty and Uncle Pi took her home, and then they picked up Fr. Petkovic to go to the Christening of their little Kum (Michael Bozic!)  (By the way, Fr. Petkovic was a wonderful artist and the SERB WORLD magazine did an article on him.)

            “Dosao kod nas Mr. Musulin.  Mismo dugo razgovarali.  Pai I Marta dosli u 2:30 AM.”  Well, it seems Mr. Musulin came to visit the older folks, but Aunt Marty and Uncle Pi must have had a grand time at Mike’s Christening because they didn’t come home until 2:30 AM!

Thinking only about Christenings of today, I forgot that many times in the past the Priest came to the houses to bless babies, especially if there were any worrisome health issues!  One mystery solved!  But not enough for my inquiring mind.

Baba and her friends attended a “Veliki Koncert” in “Okland” where she saw lots of Kumovi and friends. Where did she attend this concert? Who was performing? Was it at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland?   After exhausting my leads, I called the Carnegie Library for help.  Research confirmed that nothing was going on at the Carnegie Music Hall on April 6, 1941.  No mention of any war.


            A quick Google scan using the date and “Serbia” brought forth a slew of options, and Wikipedia confirmed that on that date, April 6, 1941, the Germans destroyed the Yugoslav Royal Palace built by King Peter I on King Milan Street in downtown Belgrade, and also the Royal Palace in Dedinje, built by King Alexander. Other main structures destroyed in which the Germans code named Operation Punishment were the Central Railway station in Belgrade, and the beautiful National Library.  Over 300,000 unique items, including priceless manuscripts, were destroyed in the bombing of the National Library.

            The Luftwaffe had bombed the city without any declaration of war on Palm Sunday, and continued bombing until April 10, the more than 500 bombing sorties coming in three waves from Romania where the German forces had assembled for the big attack on Russia.

            Of course, Americans didn’t have instant news like now. That terrible news came via the radio while Baba was cleaning the house the next day, and she cursed out “prokleti” Hitler in her diaries.   After Mrs. Vukelich from the corner had visited a little, “a ja opet po malo po kuci spremam—I slusam ove tuzne I zalosne vesti iz Staroga Kraja sto radi Prokleti Hitler od naroda.  Ali muse Srbin nece po pusti ti makar poginuli sve do jednoga.  Srbin je mnogo muke pretrpijo.  Pretrpilo muski I Junacki.  Bog ce dati pace take I sade.”  After Mrs. Vukelich’s little morning visit, “I went back again to cleaning a little around the house, and I heard this terrible and sad news from the Old Country about what that damn Hitler did to our people.  But Serbs will never give in, even if they all die, one by one.  The Serb endured so much tragedy thrust on our men and heroic soldiers.  But God was there then and He will be now.”

 There was a big threat of a steel strike. The CIO Steel Worker’s Organizing Committee had summoned representatives from Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation. Philip Murray and his lieutenants met in the Wm. Penn Hotel to hear Murray’s unsuccessful SECOND attempt to Big Steel for wage increase of 10 cents per hour, exclusive bargaining rights, etc.

How dare they ask for such an amount?  Because the Pittsburgh Press had an article that said that on April 4, 1941, it was DIVIDENDS AGAINST WAGES. Last year U.S. Steel paid its stockholders a million dollars. This year it should pay 156 million, but the Union is demanding a raise for its workers.”

The Coal Miners wanted a $1.00 a day raise. Also, the Southern operators were making 40 cents in wages less than their Northern counterparts.

Ford Motor Co. auto workers had shut down 34 smaller plants, with 125,000 out of work.

            “Up until 3 months ago, no Italian was ever heard to speak ill of the House of Savoy. In recent months, though, with bitter hatred as they feel Victor Emmanuel is bankrupt morally, following Mussolini. They say present Pope has condoned Fascism and has accepted a German victory as inevitable, but there is no evidence to back that up.” (Whitaker)

Remember me mentioning above how the Luftwaffe bombed the city of Belgrade without any declaration of war on Palm Sunday, and continued bombing until April 10, the more than 500 bombing sorties coming in three waves from Romania where the German forces had assembled for the big attack on Russia?

Ruth Mitchell (Sister of General Billy Mitchell, and the “Father of the U.S. Air Force” wrote in her book THE SERBS CHOSE WAR, how in the “Yugoslav” Military, Croatians had given the Germans all the exact locations of every air base and military targets, so the Germans had direct hits everywhere.

The German Luftwaffe was led by Alexander Lohr, dropping 218.5 tons of bombs, on the main post office, the telegraph office, railway stations, power plants and barracks.

They killed more than 5,000 (another article called STRATEGIC BOMBING DURING WWII in Wikipedia says 17,000) innocent Serbs, and destroyed thousands of buildings. Sir William Stevenson wrote “After 4 days of what the Germans code-named OPERATION PUNISHMENT, some 24,000 corpses were recovered from the ruins.

Why the bombing? Because even though Prince Paul had joined the Axis succumbing to pressure on March 25, 1941, the SERBIAN PEOPLE staged an anti-Axis coup, replacing Prince Paul with King Peter II on the throne. Hitler was so outraged, he took this as a personal insult, and without waiting, decided to destroy Yugoslavia militarily and as a nation. As a personal note, may I add, they’re still at it.

            The “Veliki Concert” Baba Andja attended was with the famous pianist, Esther Jonsson (note spelling), who played for most of the crowned heads of Europe. She became an authority on the music of the Balkans. She was an American of Swedish ancestry, from the north woods of Michigan, but later lived in Amarillo, Texas. 

By 1935 her tours of southern Europe had led to a fascination with the music of the Balkans. In 1938 her study of Slavic music took her to southern Serbia. Equipped with a recording machine and movie camera, she sought out the music of villages where the radio had not yet intruded. The expedition to such isolated communities, sometimes little known even to scholars, necessitated both guides and frequent travel by burro. Esther Jonsson’s collecting efforts may have been inspired in part by the ambitious program of field recordings made in Yugoslavia by Milman Parry and Albert Bates Lord in the mid-1930s. She translated some of the folk music she studied during these years into piano compositions and incorporated her films and recordings in her concerts whenever she performed Balkan music for American audiences. She also published articles about Balkan music and began work on a book-length manuscript concerning that subject.

Her music, which she deemed the “music of the people,” was broadcast in London, Vienna, Paris and New York.  The National Broadcasting Company included her in the inaugural radio program of the Dance International Festival.”

            Ms. Jonsson traveled to tiny villages, some never having seen any outside women before, traveling down the mountain regions by donkey to record their “picturesque, intricate, age-old songs and dances.” 

 In the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photos, she was wearing one of the colorful, richly brocaded costumes of the Serbian mountain women for the Oakland concert that began at 2:30 PM in the Schenley Hotel’s Main Ballroom, now part of Pitt’s Student Union!

Esther was hailed both as an interpreter of Mozart and as an authority on Balkan music.  In the summer of 1938 she went to study the music of the peasants in the remote mountain regions of Southern Serbia.  At the Oakland concert, she showed her films, lectured, and played the piano, under the auspices of the Serb National Federation and the Tri-State Yugoslav Cultural Club. She noted: 

 “Yugoslavia is a country of great contrasts, but from one end to another you will find that the people sing and dance as naturally as we talk, sometimes in rhythms that would be difficult for the finest of our symphony orchestras.  Their music is among the best of the moderns.  They’re the singingnest people of all Europe…. and their fighting’s as good as their singing and dancing.”

             Miss Jonsson, appearing in one of her Serbian folk blouses, took time to talk about their wonderful native costumes.  “Girls start sewing their marriage clothing early.  In fact, after they’re married, they have so much clothing their husbands need not buy them more.”  “The people,” Miss Jonsson said, “are the most likable in Europe, completely unspoiled.”

She had a strong admiration for the Yugoslavs.  “They’re terrific fighters.  They either like you or dislike you.”  She added, “On top of that, they very independent.  They aren’t very fond of Hitler, and as soon as this trouble developed, I knew they were going to fight!”  (She was talking about the Serbian people’s uprising against Prince Paul’s decision to join the Axis.)

I’m sure Ms. Jonsson, speaking in the Schenley Hotel’s Main Ballroom that afternoon, had no idea about Mike Bozic’s Christening that day, nor of the terrible destruction Hitler and his German Luftwaffe would rein down on those “most likable people in Europe” that very same day. 


I don’t know to whom I should thank for this wonderful image…. but it says, “Don’t ever forget who was you grandfather….”  (Don’t forget your roots!)

Baba Andja writes about Mim Bizic’s birth on July 30, 1941:

“My Beba (her baby Latinka) had her little girl and all went well.  Thank God, that was so fast and over.  My Milica ran around a lot (lecela!) and worked hard.  I went there and saw my Latinka and her Baby were doing well.  Our Marty was at Latinka’s too. Milica came home and went to sleep.  I thought to myself, “If only our Rose could be here too.”  My girls are like doctors, they know so much, but I don’t know anything.

Milica (Aunt Peep) was at Latinka’s until she got so tired she had to go to bed.  Marty and Paj (Pi) bought all kinds of rich things for the baby (Milana).  Marty stayed there until 11:00.  (Perhaps Milica did TOO much running around as she was sick the next day!)

August 1: Serbian Day at Kennywood, 1941: Our Chappy came home, and we all went to Kennywood. George, Milica, Paj (Pi) and Marty, who was dressed in such a wonderful outfit she looked like a peacock. 

August 2: My Steve and Ann went to see Latinka and Milana, on this glorious St. Elijah’s Day.

August 3: Otac (Fr.) Petkovic went to Latinka’s house and all the Mamula relatives from Butler, PA were there too.

Mim’s Christening:

It’s exciting to be able to know exactly what when on that August 17, 1941: 

Baba was there early at my mother and dad’s house. Aunt “Marty (Belosh) went to get Fr. Petkovic in the machine. (Car). We were there while Father blessed and baptized the baby.  It was so nice. Marty was singing and tears were coming from my eyes.  I would like my Marty and Josip to have children. (They were older).  There are children all over America.  I saw my Josip on the street and we talked very nicely.  Josephine isn’t doing well. (Then a few words best left unsaid).  Baba then continues: “A lot of our very nice and old friends came and some new ones were at Laura’s.  My Joe came and my Annie and Steve.  My Ann (daughter-in-law) would do anything for me and my family.  May God pay my Marty and Paj (Pi) for everything they do.”

A few days later, Baba, Aunt Marty, Uncle Pi and his sister Honey Pivar went to Freedom, PA to see Uncle Pi’s mother, who was quite ill.

August 21, 1941: They were at the Kolo Srpski Sestara (KSS) meeting of the women of the St. Sava Church to knit items for the American Red Cross.   Luckily, Aunt Peep (Milica) got a job this day too!

Sunday: August 24, 1941: 
“Bila sam malo kod moje Bebe. Mala Beba lepa i napredna, da ne moze bolje biti, fala Bogu!  Milo mije.”  (Nice to know your Baba thought you were so pretty and “advanced,” and couldn’t be any better! 🙂


How did they manage? (January 1941) 

Papi Nikola Mamula got a check every month from his job as a Supervisor in Jones & Laughlin Steel Mill for $49.81 (Don’t forget, he mostly worked 12 hours a day, at least 6 days/week.)

Uncle Pi gave $20.

Milica $20 (of her winnings!)

Batalo $20

House Rent from the USS Steelworkers of America: $35

Latinka (Laura) paid her own insurance for the 1st time of $14.00 in March, 1941.

Djuki (Uncle Chappy) sent home $35

Laura gave $30 to help (Christmas gift); Mother’s Day $5 while Stevan and Annie gave $2 for Mother’s Day…Joe and Josephine $5.

Aunt Marty pitched in another $15 in July.


January, 1941:

5 tons of coal=$15

Frank & Seder (Store) $14

DownTown: $22

Beer & Whiskey: $8

Heller’s (Butcher) $22.50

Mrs. Ivanovic (Grocery) $30

Milan’s Kum: $15 gift

Kosanovic Kumovi $15

KSS dues: $3.50

Church dues: $3.00

Gas & Electric: $11

Church donations $25

Hellers & Milk: $29

Mrs. Ivanovic $24 again

Water: $17.50

Telephone: $2.50


Random Diary Entries from 1948 I shared with my Mamula cousins.There were a lot of wonderful little tidbits in there…. 

For instance, when young Nick Mamula was born…. Aunt Marty bought all the Christening clothes.  And the family had all worked together preparing for days in advance, making bread, cookies and sarmas.  I loved the part where at the end of the ceremony, the priest takes the boy baby (not girls—they only get to the front), in this case, Nicky Mamula, inside the altar for a special blessing as they walk through there.  Anyway, everyone smiled as young Paul Mamula Belosh (only a couple of years old), followed the priest in!  🙂

Aunt Marty really kept everything together and when she went to visit the Roncevich’s in Ohio, their Kumovi, it was like the place fell apart.  Not that EVERYONE didn’t help.  They all pitched in buying food, clothing, cleaning (and Aunt Peep always washing the windows), but it was like Aunt Marty was the glue.  Papi got desperately sick, but when Aunt Marty came, he got better….. the doctor was in and out MANY times for Papi in this book.  I don’t think he was easy to live with, either…. 

Oh yes, and when baby Paul went with them, her house was empty—PRAZNA— 

and Baba said she felt like Majka Jugovic (the one who lost her husband and 9 sons in the Battle of Kosovo!)

Baba loved having her grandkids there…. and we all played together.  Aunt Marty took us (Mim, Marty Ann, Rosie and George) to Kennywood for some kind of Jeannette (Djunet) Mill picnic…. God bless her!

Another time, Good Friday, April 30, 1948 for us, Baba mentions how all her little dear (Milijem unukami) “peeps” were with her, dying Easter eggs!

And on that same day, at 12:00 noon, her DJURAC (Uncle Chappy-George Mamula) came home.

(By the way, some lady called Baba and told her that Aunt Marty had left 1:00 PM. the day before!)

Her George had brought her STRENGTH and good health.

We all went to church on Easter because Baba put the stuff on the stove at 8:00 AM. “The kids looked so beautiful. Aunt Marty went to pick Uncle Steve and family up, and Uncle Pi took them all home. She said Uncle Pi was like a taxi driver….  he had only come home from Chicago at 2:30 in the afternoon!

Baba loved May 6, because it was St. George’s Day, and the day of the Serbian Uprising against the Turks! 🙂  (Now you know where I get my ZEAL!)

Uncle Pi and Aunt Marty went to Uncle Pi’s Aunt’s house as it was their Slava.

On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, everyone came.  Some bought her flowers, some gave money, and other things.  Uncle Chappy sent a beautiful telegram and in it was a monetary gift.  When Uncle Pi and Aunt Marty went to  Uncle Pi’s mother, taking flowers for her grave.  Evica and Sam Mamula from Butler came, and Tetak Dusan.

Sunday, June 6, 1948.  No church services in Pittsburgh as the priest and lots of people went to Steubenville.  “Today they are blessing their church, “Visoki Decani” May God grant them much luck and happiness. 

Aunt Marty took them to Milica’s house near Kennywood (Ke ne vud Park) with Latinka, and then she went to Ruza’s.


BIG DAY NEWS:  June 16, 1948.  “it’s so cold its like it is going to snow.  My Marta doesn’t feel well.  I always have something to worry about.  My Rose is going to the Doctor.  I can hardly wait to hear the news they are going to tell me about what the doctor says.  It’s like we’re living in HARD DAYS (Teske Dane).  Nikola is feeling better, thank God.  I have to bear all of this.  Marta came from the doctors, and she brought me terrible, horrible news.  It was like my heart was going to break.  She told me that Mileva (Teta Mileva Mervosh) got a letter that my dear and never to be forgotten Brother Stevo died.  May God bless his soul for all the many gifts he gave us!”

(He was the brother that sent for Andja, Rade and Marta.  When Rade got killed in the mill, and Marta died very early, shortly after giving birth), Stevo, blaming himself for their early deaths, went back to Yugoslavia with his family!) 

Next day:  I got up real early as I wasn’t able to sleep al night from my Veliki (BIG!) sorrow of the news that my brother died.  I can’t believe my brother died and I have heard nothing from my family, just what Mileva told us.  Thank God he didn’t suffer long.  He had such a hard life!  He endured EVERY kind of “muka” (Sorrow) from the time he went off to the First World War in 1918 (That means he was a Dobrovoljac -Serbian Volunteer) as he was still living in America until then, I think!)  He was a prisoner of war in Russia for three years, in slavery, and after that in the hospital.  Then 1942!  His son and his wife died (Second World War).  Again he endured every kind of evil, even though he was older, and then was in Italy again where he suffered.  More sorrows.  I’m writing all of this with tears in my eyes and my hands shaking.”

Baba talked about him almost every day.  On Sunday, July 11, she went to church and bought a candle for “my dear brothers, Stevo and Rade. Bless them and make their memories eternal.  Now I have no brothers and no sister.  I am left alone, with only memories sad and sorrowful for them.  May God grant them a better life in His Heavenly Kingdom.  I’m writing this with tears pouring from my eyes.  My Marty is going to see Mr. Senjan with the kids.

Tuesday, the last day of school, June 22, 1948.  We all got our report cards, and won’t go back until September.  But they all went to see King PETER.  “May God grant him good health and LEADERSHIP.  The hall was full.  Our King couldn’t have been nicer!  He shook everyone’s hand.  Then we all went to the Schenley Hotel.  There was a very rich dinner, lots of great speeches by the leaders, and our King spoke.  I saluted him 3 times.  He got up and put a glass in his hand full of wine, and salute me, in front of ALL the people!”

June 26:  “Milan is going to Chicago with my Milana.  May God grant that they go and return with good fortune.  Uncle Pi and Aunt Mary went for Tommy and the kids to “Arlen” Park. Arlington Park  They all left after supper, and Marty is taking them all hope like a “Teksi.”

JUNE 28, 1948. VIDOV DAN and Kosovo!

“That day is a sad and sorrowful one for all those who know their history.  On that day, the Serbian Kingdom fell and the Serbs have suffered since.  But they would never yield to be slaves and bow down (to the Turks).  God willing, one day they will raise the Serbian Resurrection (Srpstovo Voskresne!).

JULY 18, 1948:  TAKE HEED!  There was a BIG PARASTOS in church today for General Draza Mihailovich.  

July 23, 1948:  “My Milica called.  She’s a little sick.  Right away, Marty and Pi went to her.  They took her to the hospital.  The kids are with me.  The kids are real clean and well dressed.  Oh the wait…. but at 12:15, thank God, my Djul (Uncle Jules) called to tell me about the birth of our little girl baby.  Healthy little baby, thanks be to God.  (Our “Little Latinka–our Lorraine!)  Milica is real good, only she’s yelling that she’s hungry!  Marty took the kids to Rose’s because it will be easier for them there.

July 24, Aunt Marty went to town and brought a lot of things because she’s going on vacation, but first she went to see Milica.  Marta, Reenie, Little Paul and little Marty An went.

July 25:  My baby Latinka and Josephine were here.  They went to see Milica and said she looks real good, thanks to God.  Latinka went to our Rose to see the kids.  I’m going to wash some clothes form the kids..  Rose, Steve called and Josip was here. 

Aunt Peep came home from the hospital on Wednesday, July 28.

The SSF Festival was in Pittsburgh this year, on Memorial Day, and they all attended.

 Aunt Rose had to go to the doctor a lot too.  But she was always there watching the kids too.  

In the meantime, Uncle Pi was the chauffeur for so many people.  For instance, although Aunt Anne and Uncle Steve and baby Nicky came by taxi later, Uncle Pi always took them home.  (He was the one who took Aunt Anne to the hospital to have Nicky too!)

When Aunt Peep went to the hospital, Aunt Rose watched the two boys (Jules and Joey) along with her own tribe.  And lo and behold, it was a Baby Girl!  Our Lorraine!

Aunt Peep was in the hospital for a few days, and when Uncle Pi and Aunt Marty took the boys home, they ran to their mother (Aunt Peep) and hugged her like there was no tomorrow!  Baba wrote, “There is nothing like the love of a mother.”    “They fell all over her from happiness.” 

 They all worked again, preparing for the Christening…. Friday, August 13 they were working away making kolaches and cookies for Milica’s baby.

On Saturday they were all making sarmas.  Teta Eva was there too, helping.  “And still no word from my brother’s house.”

SUNDAY:  August 15, 1948: THE CHRISTENING!! “I got up early at 5 o’clock and thanked God for this Holy Day.  I put our big pots on to cook.  At 7:00 ako Bog da, we are going to having the christening of our baby, who is being given the name of Little Latinka.  I am so happy.  My Josephine came and our Kumovi.  They’re going for Miliac and the baby.  JULES HAS TO WORK!  He’s so sick about it!  My Steve came and his whole family.  Marica and Shimbo came.  Paj is taking them one at a time home like a “teksi ker”.  It was real nice!  Also here, was our Annie (Francza) Molchen Popovich) from Embridga (Ambridge). 

Oh, I have to share this with all of you:  Aunt Josephine won the Lottery for $1000! One thousand dollars!  Can you imagine that in 1948?  

I know I worked for $4700.00 a whole year in 1964 (16 years later!)  in Hopewell School District after I married Gus!

Anyway, right away she gave Papi $50, Baba $50, and she bought NEW SHOES for ALL of the kids!!!  Very generous!


Our Papi and King Aleksandar; Women Voting






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Serbian History 101
United States

Both Nikola and his wife, Andja Mamula Mamula were from Jasenak, Ogulin, of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which  they left in 1897 and 1900, BEFORE it became the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes after WWI’s Treaty of Versailles.

Then in 1929, it became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia as King Alexander tried to appease all the various factions that made up the fractious country. 

After WWII, it was Yugoslavia, and now again, so many different countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia –Hercegovina, the Serbian Republic, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and some would say “Kosovo.”

Although they would have been living in what is now “Croatia,” they never considered themselves anything but Serbian Orthodox Christians.

This is important for future generations to know. Not Croat Orthodox or Croatian Serbs. They cherished their Serbian Orthodox Christian heritage and guarded it for all of us to perpetuate.


According to Aunt Marty’s writings, Nikola’s parents were Josif Mamula and Marta Kosanovich Mamula, and grandparents were Josif and Sava Kosanovich.

Nikola’s mother died when he was only six months old, but Nikola, the youngest of brothers George, Rade, Božo, Glišo and Sava) had nothing but the highest praise for his stepmother, Simica Mamula. Together, Josif and Simica had one other child, Mile Mamula, whom the brothers all loved dearly, like their stepmother

Andja’s parents were Ruža Kovachevich Mamula and Rade Mamula, who bore Stevo, Andja (Angeline), Rade and Marta . The children’s grandparents were Andja Ivosevich Kovacevic and Marko Kovacevic. .

Andja and Nikola had ten children, with three dying early in childhood:
Rose (Ruža),
Millicent (Milica) and Laura (Latinka).
Notice how when children died early, their names were reused (two Martas, two Roses), a not unusual custom then.