Svetislav Radosavljevic, age 91, veteran of WW II (Yugoslavia), POW in Germany for four years. Electrical Engineer, (BS Purdue, MS IIT). Professor Emeritus of Computer Information Systems, Purdue University Calumet. Inventor. Passed into eternal life on May 20, 2014. Born on April 12, 1923 in Jelasnica, Serbia to Milivoje and Danica Radosavljevic.
Svetislav is survived by sons Alexander (Angela) and Branko (Laurence) Radosavljevic; granddaughter Lili Natalija Josseline Vidosava Radosavljevic. He will be sorely missed by numerous other relatives and friends in his homeland, the USA and Canada.
Opelo (Serbian Orthodox Funeral Service) Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11 a.m. at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 5701 N Redwood Drive, Chicago, IL 60631.
Interment at the St. Sava Cemetery in Libertyville.
Svetislav Milivoje Radosavljevic (Tisha Banza as he was known in his village, or Steve to his American friends) was born on April 12, 1923 in Jelashnica, near Nish, in Yugoslavia (now Serbia), in a house with a traditional packed dirt floor. As a very young boy, he faced tragedy when his mother Danica and young brother died of scarlet fever. But his father Mile remarried, to Natalija, a war widow, and she became a loving mother to young Tisha, for which he was always grateful. He had a happy childhood in a prosperous farming family, whose main product was grapes for wine. His father also worked in the administration of the local farmer’s cooperative, which provided the farmers with better prices for their produce than they could obtain individually. (It was later hypocritically shut down by the Communists, who viewed it as an alternate source of power.) Tisha excelled at school and in athletics. He once won for his age group in a regional Sokol track and field competition, and his father did not believe him until he saw the newspaper the next day. He was a popular young man, and other villagers often stopped him to ask about news of the wider world. He enjoyed village dances and playing soccer.
When he was 17, he volunteered for the Yugoslavian army. He was an officer cadet, stationed in Zagreb, when Germany launched its surprise invasion of Yugoslavia. Part of his unit had deserted and locked up the weapons. He found himself in the main square, in the middle of a rally for the new forces, and knew he was in trouble. He tried to go home, and on the way joined up with other loyal soldiers to become a guerrilla fighter. In Bosnia, at Kostajnica, they encountered an artillery unit, abandoned by all except for a few elderly cooks. They used it to engage a large German troop movement across the river. Their small band of a dozen or so were engaged by dive bombing Stuka aircraft as well as enemy troops, and they had to disperse when the other side built pontoon bridges and crossed with their tanks. They delayed the enemy troop movement by a day, and Tisha was lucky to survive this battle on his 18th birthday. After many more adventures, and almost arriving home, he turned the wrong corner and was captured by the enemy. He was a prisoner of war in Germany for four years, in Memmingen, Bavaria, near Lake Constance (the Bodensee), “the most beautiful part of Germany” in his words. The first farmer he worked for treated him like family (they ate dinner together and the daughters would play piano for him), but after a failed French escape attempt, he was shifted to another, tougher one (a widow with a son on the Eastern Front). After various humorous mishaps (intentional and not), he was transferred to a factory where he worked with prisoners and German civilians, picking up valuable knowledge along the way. Later he was going to be punished for some sabotage, but instead was able to appoint himself camp electrician. Tisha was friends with all of the nationalities in the camp, including the German guards, and was involved in various humorous and improbable schemes (for example, smuggling things into camp, hiding a chicken, fooling the Gestapo, and trading electrical items for other goods).
After the war, he stayed in Germany because Yugoslavia had turned Communist. During the war, the prisoners would discuss politics, and Tisha opposed Communism based on the interactions he had with Russian émigrés before the war. One returning Serbian told him “when you return, I’ll see you hung from the nearest streetlamp.” He replied, laughing, “when I return, you’ll be happy to carry my bags.” And he was so goodhearted, he lent the man his belt. He started to study engineering in Munich (at the Technische Hochschule München), but eventually ran out of money. Under no illusions about the ease of life in America, he thought he would go there, work as a laborer and save some money, and return to Munich to complete his studies. He arrived in Gary, Indiana in 1949 and went to work in a steel mill. But because he dressed so well, after a week he was assigned to a better job, as a testing engineer. And then a friend told him about Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana, so he decided to enroll. It was difficult, knowing very little English, and working weekends and summers, but he persevered. He also had the English editing help of his elderly landlord, Miss McGovern, and her maid, who befriended him after he started walking their dog and driving them everywhere. He successfully obtained a BS in Electrical Engineering, and went on to work as an engineer at International Harvester, General Electric, and Motorola. Later, he completed a master’s degree in the same field at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. He was close to obtaining a Ph.D., as well, but then the interesting complication of family got in the way.
In south Chicago, a pretty Serbian girl from Croatia, Vidosava Lemajic, was visiting her relatives, who had kindly sponsored her trip. She had heard from a friend who had met a most polite man, a Serbian engineer. They ended up going on a date, and the man was impressed with her refinement and education. She wasn’t like the other girls he had met! He felt sorry for her (her father had been murdered in the war), and offered to marry her, to allow her to stay. But she wanted to get married for real, and that’s how Vida and Tisha got together, the Lichanka and Shumadinac, in 1958. Vida was a pharmacist, but her foreign degree was not recognized here, so he helped support her while she studied at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She later worked as a pharmacist at various hospitals in the Chicago area, including the University of Chicago, Michael Reese, and Good Samaritan.
A friend of Tisha’s got a job teaching at one of the City Colleges of Chicago (Olive Harvey). The friend said the pay was good, there was summer vacation, and there was an opening in the relatively new field of data processing. Tisha had taught himself to use computers at work, to help solve some of his problems, so he decided to apply. It turned out he was a natural teacher, and the administration welcomed him. A new career was born. Later, he took a better job at the Westville campus of Purdue University, and then moved to Purdue’s Calumet campus, in Hammond, Indiana. He taught in the Computer and Information Systems department, and participated in some of the early work in computer graphics. He was a popular teacher, and in 1979, the students voted him the most effective teacher on campus, of which he was very proud. To make things easier on his students, he went by two names: his real name, as well as “Steve Rados.” Both were on his office door. In his spare time, Tisha was also an inventor. Among other things, he invented and built slide rules which used bases other than ten, a graphical trigonometric function calculator, and designed and wrote computer programs to exactly solve the Traveling Salesman Problem and other important optimization problems.
Back to that interesting complication: a son, Alexander (Sasha) was born in 1963, and a second son, Branko, was born in 1968. Sasha went on to earn a BA in English (1986) and a BS in Secondary Education (1989) with minors in mathematics and mathematics education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MA in English (1994) at Purdue University – West Lafayette. He was a high school mathematics and English teacher in Chicago for almost fourteen years. For ten of those years he taught at his Alma Mater, Morgan Park High School. Just before his father passed, Sasha happily informed his father that he had completed a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction/Mathematics Education from the University of Illinois – Chicago. Branko obtained a BS with Highest Honors (and Bronze Tablet, 1986) and MS in Electrical Engineering (1990) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and then shifted gears and now works as a quantitative software developer for Bank of America in Chicago. Branko got his start programming computers when his father volunteered to teach a group of fifth graders from his elementary school, Sutherland in Chicago, and to provide access to Purdue’s computer labs. This was in 1977, and was groundbreaking at the time. Sasha is now happily with Angela, a tenure track professor at Governors State University. Branko is happily married to his French wife, Laurence, who was an English teacher at the elementary and secondary levels, and now raises their sweet daughter, Lili Natalija, born in 2005.
Tisha was always a sociable man. When he was with people, it was like a fish in the water. He was always full of jokes, encouragement, and useful advice. It took a long time for him to leave parties. He was a kind man, often offering to help others (sometimes to Vida’s chagrin!). He was a gentle man, and never spanked his sons (because he thought the strong dominating the weak was a poor lesson to teach). Few things would make him angry, with one notable exception: if he thought his sons were fighting. Both he and Vida were very loving to their sons (and their families), were generous with their time and attention, took them on many trips and excursions, and included them in their active social life. Tisha led the local children in playing soccer in the 1970’s, when that was not nearly as common in the US as it is now. He was a strong man, with a high pain threshold: he once dislocated and broke his shoulder while playing soccer with the kids, and insisted on driving them home and waiting at his home for his wife to return from work to watch the children before going to the emergency room for treatment. He was a genius at fixing things.
Vida passed away suddenly on January 20, 2011, on her slava, of natural causes. Tisha kept going in their townhome, with some help from a cook and his sons and their families. He had a special relationship with his granddaughter, Lili Natalija. He had a good quality of life until the last hospital stay. At the end, his beloved Lili Natalija was cradling her Deda’s head and comforting him, when he unexpectedly opened his eyes and smiled at her, and then his spirit passed to the next world, on May 20, 2014.
Granddaughter Lili’s article:
Deda was such a wonderful grandfather. He was such a big joker. I’m so proud of him! He got to the age of ninety-one! He taught us so many things. Because of him, my dad is now a quantitative software developer. He taught him how to program computers. Deda was so generous. He gave me money, and he always said he or my parents should buy me something. It’s usually from him when I get something from my parents. He was never mean. He always said that he was very happy my father married my mother. He was always very nice to all of us! When he passed, he opened his eyes and smiled at us. A chaplain came to pray for him. Deda taught computer programming. He was a professor. His wife was Vidosava.
–Lili Natalija Josseline Vidosava Radosavljevic
For detailed information please contact: SVETA GORA FUNERAL HOME, Chicago, tel 773-588-2200.
Photo and Video
Sorry to be so late as I was just able t0 bring it up[ on my computer. What a beautiful tribute to yourDad and Mom too. What a full and dangerous life and such a brilliant man. I am proud that my son, Bob is your friend. I know that you boys will follow in your Dad.;s footsteps. May the Lord richly bless you.. My love-Myrtis Winter
Dearest Deda!! WE will miss you so much and love you so much!! WE will miss all the great moments with you…Sundays will seem empty without you…It has been an honor to know you and spend time with you…You have been such a great father-in-law, a wonderful grandfather to your dear Lili Natalija and an amazing father to your son Branko (and Sasha) who admired you and loved yo so much! You will be forever in our hearts and we will never forget you!!With all our love,Laurence
As a professor at Purdue Calumet in the same department, I had opportunity to get to know Tisha (Steve, as I knew him.) He always was very friendly. I enjoyed his visits (he was retired by the time I joined the faculty.) There is much from his bio above that I did not know, but wish I had. I see that he was as brave as he was kind, which does not surprise me. My sympathies to his children. Please be comforted that those in Christ will meet again.
I wish we had met Tisha and Vida. They were very interesting people. We are thinking about you during this difficult time. Hal, Christine, Olivia and Camille Hutchinson
Nikola i Katica MD Sorak
Najiskrenije saucesce sinovima Branku i Sashi, kao i snaji i unuchici, Bog da Tisi dusu prosti, njegovi dobri prijatelji, Nikola i Katya Sorak.
My deepest sympathy Saha, Branko, Laurance and Lili.It is always hard to lose a parent regardless of their age.However, Tisa had a good life, even though it was not easy. His good humor made it look better. May God bless his soul and grant him eternal peace.
We are so sorry for your loss. The world was lucky to have him for the last 91 years. Thank you for sharing his story. Peace with you all as you honor him and remember him during this difficult time. Sincerely, Kevin, Wendy, Ashley, Ellen and Brenna Campbell
Vince & Carrie Fisher
Our deepest sympathies Branko, Laurence, and Lili. I know how difficult it is to lose a parent. I enjoyed reading about him. What a wonderful tribute. Our love to you, Vince, Carrie, Jack, Lily, & Eli Fisher
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