Bozena Stubican, 98, of Sarasota, Florida, passed away peacefully on Tuesday evening, July 19, 2022. Bozena was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 70 years, Vladimir Stubican. Bozena is survived by her son Miroslav Stubican of Sarasota, Florida, daughter Juliet (Stubican) Sjoborg and son-in-law Mattias Sjoborg of London, England, and three grandchildren: Sofia, Claes and Lukas.
Born in Slavonski Brod, Croatia on November 2, 1923 to the late Julka and Stjepan Weselsky, she never lost her love for her native country or her devotion to family. Bozena grew up in a large house filled with laughter. She adored music and would often sing in harmony with her dearly-loved sister, the late Nada Prelog, to entertain the guests of her gregarious father. At the age of 18, Bozena met her future husband Vladimir at a beach on the Sava River. They quickly became sweethearts but were separated during WWII, writing countless letters to remain in touch as Bozena's family faced the hardships of the war including living under German occupation and enduring the confiscation of most of their property by the Communists. Happily, with her mother taking on the role of intermediary by mail, Bozena and Vladimir reunited and married in 1946.
Bozena was an excellent student and known for her intellect; she studied to become a pharmacist, then worked in the main pharmacy in Zagreb on the central square until the birth of her first child, Miroslav. Her life changed dramatically in 1958, as Bozena and her young son travelled by ship to the USA on Christopher Columbus Day to join her husband Vladmir in State College, Pennsylvania, where he had accepted a position of Professor of Material Science at Penn State University.
Beginning a new life with two suitcases and a scant knowledge of English, despite speaking four other languages, Bozena worked as a Russian interpreter, then went on to earn a Master's degree from Penn State in Foods and Nutrition. She had a talent for making people feel special, and was also a great cook â€" specializing in desserts.
Every year for her son's birthday she would make a ten layer "dobos torte," his absolute favorite. Still, she missed her vocation of pharmacy. Bozena studied hard, in English this time, and passed the State Boards in Pennsylvania. She was thrilled to work as a pharmacist once more â€" now in the USA. For decades, her expertise was relied upon by colleagues and the local community, with customers stopping by to ask her advice.
After over 40 full and active years in Pennsylvania, raising son Miroslav and daughter Juliet and much world travel, especially spending time with Juliet's growing family in London, Bozena and Vladimir made Sarasota, FL their home. Bozena loved being part of the Croatian community there, enjoying swimming, playing Bridge and spending time with friends at the country club.
Her last years were happily spent in a home for seniors where she charmed the staff with her gentleness, kindness and wit. She told them all about Croatia and won at bowling every time. Family visits always included listening to opera, especially Andrea Bocelli â€" over and over again while she sang along. At 98 years old, still full of the zest for life she was born with, she spoke to daughter Juliet on FaceTime every afternoon, and adored going out to the Starbucks next door for a Frappuccino.
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