Kazimir Ordcic



Kaniewski Funeral Home

Highland Cemetery

Kazimir Juraj Odrcic, age 91, of South Bend, Indiana, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, July 6, 2024, at the Wellbrooke assisted living facility.

Kazimir was born on July 15, 1932 in Kurilovec, Velika Gorica, Croatia to Juraj and Marija Odrcic. He grew up surrounded by the beauty of his homeland and the warmth of his family and village, but his younger years were also marked by tragedy and loss. As a child between 1941 and 1945, Kazimir witnessed World War 2 in Croatia. He nearly lost his life during an aerial bombardment.

At the age of 18, Kazimir unexpectedly lost his Father. Despite these hardships, Kazimir was able to complete his studies and was accepted to medical school at the University of Zagreb. In 1956, his Mother immigrated to the United States while he remained in Croatia to complete medical school. After completing his mandatory one-year service in the Yugoslavian air force, Kazimir began his residency at the Institute of Pathology at the University of Zagreb in 1961, ultimately becoming a practicing pathologist.

1962 was a watershed year in Kazimir's life. He applied for, and was granted, a tourist visa to visit his Mother in the United States. He expected to return to Croatia after his brief visit, but life had different plans for him. Due to fortuitous circumstances, Kazimir was able to adjust his status to lawful permanent residence through his Mother.

The opportunity to immigrate to the United States was both exciting and challenging for Kazimir. While he did not want to live under Communism, Kazimir knew very little English when he arrived in the United States. Through sheer grit and determination, he studied English on his own both day and night, teaching himself to read, write, and speak in English. In 1963, he passed his medical board exams to become a licensed physician in the State of Ohio despite studying English for less than a year.

In 1963, Kazimir joined the Cleveland Clinic and decided to re-train in Ophthalmology. He began his residency under the tutelage of Dr. Roscoe J. Kennedy, a nationally prominent ophthalmologist. During his residency at the Cleveland Clinic, Kazimir was most proud of his research on chloroquine retinopathy. Kazimir remained an active member of the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association for the balance of his life. In 2021, Kazimir was asked to provide his memories as part of the Cleveland Clinic's centennial celebration. He wrote at the time: "Now at the age of 88 reminiscing about the 'good old days' at Cleveland Clinic, I feel that I am indeed a very fortunate person. My affiliation with Cleveland Clinic gave me a wealth of training, education, and professional experiences for which I continue to be grateful."

A year after starting his medical career at the Cleveland Clinic, Kazimir married Dorothy in 1964. In 1968, they decided to move to South Bend, Indiana, where Kazimir joined the Ophthalmology Department at the South Bend Clinic. They welcomed their first child, Liana, in 1968, and that same year Kazimir completed his immigration journey by becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. In 1971, they celebrated the birth of their second child, Davorin. Together, in 1973, Kazimir and Dorothy built a beautiful and much-cherished home in South Bend. Situated on several acres of wooded land, with Juday Creek running through its backyard, this home gave their children an all-season outdoor paradise in which to play. Maintaining the family home remained important to Kazimir until the end of his life. He appreciated its beauty daily, never taking it for granted.

As a physician and surgeon, Kazimir enjoyed his medical practice at the South Bend Clinic and local affiliated hospitals for more than 30 years. Alongside valued colleagues, he built a practice centered on his patients and their needs, often tending not only to their eye-related needs but also to their spiritual and emotional needs, particularly if they were undergoing surgery. He spent a lot of time talking with his patients, answering all of their questions and easing their concerns with both compassion and patience. For Kazimir, practicing medicine was a true calling: he did not view it as a "job," but rather as a vocation. His patients mattered to him as human beings, and he took deep fulfillment in helping people. His sense of purpose in life as well as his professional integrity remain two of the greatest gifts he bestowed upon his children.

In 2000, Kazimir retired from his medical practice. In his letter to his patients, Kazimir wrote: "I feel honored and grateful that each one of you chose me as your ophthalmologist. That responsibility has not been taken lightly. I see each one of you not only as a patient, but also as a valued friend. It is out doctor/patient relationship that I will miss the most." Post-retirement, he continued to consult professionally and serve his local medical community.

Kazimir was a member of the Sorin Society. He enjoyed contributing to the University of Notre Dame, both big and small. Kazimir was delighted to have witnessed his daughter Liana graduate from Notre Dame with a degree in Philosophy in 1990, and his son Davorin graduating from the law school in 2001.

As fully as he had embraced his medical practice, Kazimir also embraced his retirement-with gusto. As a person outside of work, he had many interests and passions. He as someone who knew how to enjoy life. He kept very active during his decades of retirement, reading constantly, learning Italian at the Forever Learning Institute, studying photography, dancing, playing golf as often as he could, and traveling to many places, including his beloved homeland, Croatia. He maintained close ties with his family in Croatia until the very end of his life, learning how to visit with them every week via FaceTime. He became a fabulous cook during his retirement, and delighted in cooking meals for Dorothy and for his kids when they visited. He loved to laugh and tell jokes. He loved the beauty of the world and music and playing his accordion. He was an accomplished dancer. Kazimir had a generosity of spirit that was rare. He will be remembered always for his loving heart.

Kazimir is survived by his wife Dorothy of nearly 60 years, his daughter Liana Odrcic and father of his two grandsons, Erik Lindberg, his son Davorin Odrcic (Kristin Pitt), and his three cherished grandchildren, Isak, Evjen, and Milena. Kazimir's passion, generosity, and strong work ethic left an indelible mark on his children. His famous Dalmatian grilled salmon and Croatian cucumber salad will be sorely missed. He loved becoming a U.S. citizen and he was fortunate and happy to have had a long and fulfilling life here.

Our family's deepest thanks go to the family, friends, and neighbors who have kept Kazimir in their thoughts over the past couple months, as well as to the staff at Memorial Hospital and Wellbrooke of South Bend, Indiana, all of whom showed him such patient and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, donations

FOTO: Private

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