It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden passing of John Ilecic on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Squamish, B.C. in his 91st year. John's peaceful final hours were with his family by his side and the music of his beloved band the Becar Tamburitzans playing and preparing him for his next gig in heaven.
John (aka Shultz) is survived by his son, James Ilecic and daughter-in-law Andrea Wickham-Foxwell of Squamish, BC, and several special cousins, nieces and nephews in Canada, USA and Europe. Loving brother-in-law of Mary (the late Joseph) Sikich, Mande (the late Matt) Lisac, and Steve and Denise Markovich. He was preceded in death by his wife Rose, sister Vicki (the late John) Skrtich and many other cherished friends and family.
John was born on Feb 1 or 2nd (a story he liked to share) in 1932 to Slavko Ilecic and Josephine Mudjar in Hamilton, Ontario. Growing up in the heart of the Croatian community on Beach Road, his early life centered on tambura music and helping out at his parents' restaurant, Stan's Lunch beside the Croatian Hall. It was there he learned how to make the perfect milkshake - "milky not thick!"
Following a brief stint in trade school, John began his career at Dofasco in the Tin Mill cranes. In 1952 he married Rose Rubic of Schumacher, Ontario and together they raised their son James and spent many lively years with family and friends at dances, dinners and celebrations within their community. As a gifted musician, John spent over 50 years singing and playing 2nd brac, prima, bass and cello in the Becar Tamburitzans, Lado and Sveti Juraj ensembles. John was an avid golfer, a baseball coach, and an exceptional bowler who also helped found the CNH Senior Men's bowling league.
After a rousing send off celebration from his Croatian community in Hamilton in 2019, his final years were spent in BC amidst the love of his west coast family and friends. Above all, he was an exceptional friend, neighbour and family man and he put others above himself his entire life. Everyone truly loved John.
Special thanks to the staff at Shannon Falls Retirement Residence, Dr Annie Gornall, the emergency room staff at Squamish General Hospital and the amazing staff at the Sea to Sky Hospice Society.
A service and celebration of life will be held for John in the Hamilton, Ontario area this summer. Details are to be announced.
John was really hoping to attend the opening of the new Croatian hall, so the family encourages donations to the Croatian National Home Building Fund, 297 Hwy #8 Unit 200, Stoney Creek Ontario, L8G 1E5.
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