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Helen V. Tezich

May 22, 1925 ~ April 30, 2018 (age 92)

Helen V. Tezich
Aunt Helen


 Helen V. Tezich of Highland, IN, passed away on Monday, April 30, 2018, surrounded by a gathering of loved ones, while listening to her favorite tamburitza music. Helen was born on May 22, 1925, to Daniel and Anna (Biritz) Voynovich in South Bend, IN. Vivacious from the start, Helen’s first job was working as a carhop at the Bonnie Doon drive-in, serving ice cream. Graduating from Riley High School (Class of 1943), Helen went to work at Studebaker Corp., in the War Department. In 1951, Helen married Stephen N. Tezich, at Sts. Peter & Paul Serbian Orthodox Church in South Bend, where she’d grown up as a member and then president of the Aleksa Shantich Choir. In 1955, Helen and Steve, in partnership with her sister & brother-in-law (Nick & Olga Mihajlovich), opened the San Bar Tavern & Restaurant, a family establishment in Indiana Harbor.  Following 18 years in business, Helen spent 17 years at Inland Steel, as Head Shipper at 1&2 Cold Strip.

Having retired, Helen expanded her horizons, traveling to Europe, including on the QE2 with her best friend, Natalie Vujovich, with whom she volunteered at the Hammond Adult Education program, in the Area Career Center, as a Literacy/ESL Tutor, teaching elderly, as well as new immigrants English and reading, helping them prepare for their citizenship exams. Into her 70s, but ever-energetic, Helen volunteered as a children’s camp counselor at the New Gracanica Monastery summer camp. A dedicated 53 year member of the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in East Chicago, Helen was Kuma and past president of the Circle of Serbian Sisters, for which she compiled and edited 2 cookbooks, and served as Midwest Secretary.

Helen served on the board of the Serbian Orthodox Choral Association and her beloved Kornelije Stankovich Choir, with which she traveled throughout the United States and Canada, including a broadcast on the Voice of America from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, singing traditional Serbian and liturgical music. Generous and loving to her many nieces and nephews, and to children in need, Aunt Helen was a founding member of Mothers Against Hunger, providing humanitarian aid to children orphaned during the 1990s war in Yugoslavia. Aunt Helen was a style icon, always dressed to the nines (beauty shop, a priority) and the life of every party, who enjoyed the company of friends of all ages, along with a great cocktail.  Through her many health challenges, Aunt Helen was assisted in staying as active as possible, by three extraordinary ladies: Mirjana, Stana, & Protinica Melania, who provided such loving care for her as if she were their own mother.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Steve; brothers, Stephen (late Shirley) Petsovich, Joseph (late Anna) Petsovich, Daniel (late Kathleen) Voynovich Jr.; sister, Ann (late Nick) Tekler; niece, Carla Voynovich Nordstrom. Treasuring her memory are sisters, Mitzi (late Melvin) Pasalich, South Bend; Olga (Nick) Mihajlovich, Highland; several loving nieces and nephews (whom she cherished, as her own), Kumovi, and an abundance of loved ones, as she was Aunt Helen, to everyone who knew her. 

The family appreciates the care and compassion provided by the ER and ICU staff at Community Hospital, as well as Dr. Rebecca Galante.

Funeral service will be held Saturday, May 5, 2018, at 9:00 a.m., at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, 4021 Elm St., East Chicago, IN with Rev. Aleksandar Savic officiating. At rest Highland Cemetery, South Bend. Friends may visit with the family on Friday from 3:00- 8:00 p.m. (Pomen prayer service at 7:00 p.m.) at Solan-Pruzin Funeral Home, 14 Kennedy Ave., Schererville, IN (corner of Kennedy Ave. & Main St.).  Funeral arrangements entrusted to the Oleska-Pastrick Funeral Home, East Chicago, IN. (219) 398-0938.  Messages of remembrance and condolences can be left at oleskapastrickfh.com.

Aunt Helen, we love you, we miss you, we celebrate your life.  A new alto has joined the Heavenly Choir.  Memory Eternal, Vecnaja Pamjat!

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