Jovo Martich, 95, passed away on his 61st wedding anniversary on June 18th, 2021, just short of his 96th birthday on July 4th.
He was born in the town of Knin in Dalmatia (former Yugoslavia) from which his family was forced to flee ahead of Tito’s advancing Communist army. By choice, he would never return to his homeland. He and his parents, Stevo and Stana, sailed by ship to America as refugees and ultimately settled in Hillside, Illinois in the second house Jovo had designed and built with his father from the ground up. Jovo’s parents were committed to his obtaining a college degree in order to establish himself in this country. Jovo worked by day for most of his college education, learning English while he simultaneously took classes by night at the Illinois Institute of Technology, receiving a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating college, Jovo spent his entire professional life working at Argonne National Laboratories, noting often that he had had a very fulfilling career that had given him great professional and personal satisfaction, including many stories that he loved to share with his grandsons. One of his favorite projects involved the design and build of a machine to manage fuel rods for an experimental nuclear reactor. The size of the device was so large that the transport of the machine required closing down sections of highways. While at Argonne, Jovo also received one of the government’s highest security clearances in order to work on Star Wars missile defense.
Throughout his life, Jovo was deeply committed to his faith, his heritage and Serbian traditions, all of which were upheld and shared in his home. Jovo is a founding member of Holy Resurrection and served on the Board of Holy Resurrection’s Building Fund when plans for the current cathedral were initiated, helping to advise on construction and expenditures. Most importantly, he instilled in his grandsons a deep regard for their Serbstvo.
Jovo enjoyed a long retirement and was continuously busy, a lifelong learner. His favorite call to action was any new project that involved research, design or engineering work: his calendar was chockful of family projects, including designing from scratch two homes for his daughters. Jovo also had wide-ranging passions and interests. He enjoyed travelling the US, instilling in his children a love of national parks and mountains. He especially reveled in multi-generational trips with his beloved grandsons who showered him with attention. Jovo developed a deep, lifelong love of classical music and opera after attending a concert outside of a displaced persons camp in Italy. He attended many Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts with his grandsons, but most enjoyed attending his grandson’s concerts and recitals which he would talk about for days. Jovo loved watching soccer matches, the sport of his youth, especially when Team Serbia was playing. When his children and grandsons gravitated to football (two as star high school football players), he became an avid fan and could easily talk football with anyone in the family. He even learned lacrosse, mostly relishing watching two of his grandsons wear Serbia’s jersey at a World Lacrosse tournament. Jovo also enjoyed watching war movies, Westerns, and incredibly, professional wrestling. Jovo had a tremendous sense of humor and often fueled the banter between him and his grandsons with his fun-loving nature, hinting at his mischievous childhood. Jovo and his grandsons were constantly egging each other on, coming up with seemingly endless one-liners and jokes, including about the Moon dust he had received from Argonne and could not remember where it was.
Most of all, Jovo loved his family intensely, and especially his seven male grandsons who were the greatest pride and joy of his life, their photos lined up on a shelf over his desk – his wall of glory. In his last weeks, he would frequently ask to gaze upon a picture of all seven of them, a reminder of all that he had accomplished in his life.
Jovo is preceded in death by his parents, Stevo and Stana Martich and by his only sibling, his brother Mirko who was killed by Communists at the age of 19.
Jovo is survived by his beloved wife, Slobodanka, his daughters, Mirjana Martich (Zoran) Lazarevic and Vesna Martich Kriss, his son Mirko (Lisa) Martich and grandsons, Aleksandar, Milan, Nikolai, Stevan, Spencer, Nicholas, and Jovan.
Visitation will be at 10 am Wednesday, June 23rd at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 5701 N Redwood Dr, Chicago, IL, followed by funeral service at 11 am. Interment service will be at St. Sava Monastery, 32377 N. Milwaukee Avenue Libertyville, IL, at 1pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the St. Sava Serbian Monastery Renovation Project Fund (https://www.stsavamonastery.org/donate-now/).
For detailed information please contact:
SVETA GORA FUNERAL HOME, Chicago, tel 773-588-2200.
Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral
St. Sava Monastery