A dear close grade school friend of ESH passed away recently and was buried last week.
Mihael, his given name, was an immigrant, a legal one, from the former Jugoslavija, specifically Serbia in the 1960s. We just called him “Mike” or “Radi”, a contraction of his last name. After about 3 years in Belgium, where he learned fluent French, he made his way to America and Cleveland, where he joined us in sixth grade. Even though many of the children in the school were Slovenian or of Slovenian descent, he was immediately welcomed. As were his young brother and sister. His mother, a chemist by education, made her way to quickly learn the English language and take a position at a local firm that needed her skills in the food industry.
Her Bulgarian husband, an architect, had abandoned her and the 3 young children, hence, her emigration to–eventually–America. Cleveland has about 55 different ethnic groups and Serbs comprise one of them, having a Serbian Orthodox Cathedral on the city’s west side suburb of Parma, long a melting pot of ethnicities.
Mike was skilled and gifted in many areas, including the sciences, art, drawing, music and cerebral games like chess, where he was a master. He had a likeable personality, always beaming with a smile and always warming up to people, asking them “how are you doing” but not in a perfunctory way, rather in a way that was personal and convincingly caring.
His colon cancer had spread after a resection surgery in the past year. 16 spots were found on his liver and he was in palliative care several times at the mother of all hospitals in that part of the country, the Cleveland Clinic.
He passed away on 8 August, gasping for breaths under oxygen treatment but without rancor or much complaining. Although Serbian Orthodox by upbringing, he was at home at the Roman Rite Catholic parish where he attended grade school. He fortunately received the Last Rites of the Church several times in his last few days, and thus we commend his soul to the Mercy that supercedes and consumes all other mercies, that of His Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Vichnaja pamjat, Mihael! Dovidjenje!