Mile was born in Barlete, Croatia. He immigrated to the United States in 1957 at the age of 16, along with his mother and two siblings. World War II had separated the family, and they were finally reunited with his father Tomo, who had arrived a few years earlier and was living in Sacramento. The Zupan family in Sacramento was known for their generosity and hospitality. Their home became a place for Croatians to gather, especially newcomers to the country, where everyone was always welcome. During this time, Mile learned the family gift of hospitality and service for others.
Mile is preceded in death by his parents Tomo and Anka Župan, sisters Ruža Antonović and, Kathy Župan Osgerby, brother Tony Župan and brother-in-Law John Antonović . He is survived by his brother Vid Župan, sister Marijana Pavić, cousin and his wife Mike and Mary Jo Špalj, nieces and nephews; Sandra Antonović Liem, Annette Antonović Weist, Tommy Župan, Brian Tihomir Pavić, Andrea Ann Pavić, Paul Osgerby and Brothers in Laws, Željko Pavić and Kevin Osgerby.
Mile accomplished much in his lifetime. After graduating from Christian Brothers High School, he studied Chemistry and later on, Accounting at Sacramento State University. Mile worked as a chemist for Shell Oil Co. for over two decade, where he developed several patents. He had a passion for soccer, playing for several teams throughout his youth. He decided Sacramento needed a Croatian soccer team, and assembled a squad. Mile coached the “Croatia” team to win many championships across California in the 70s and 80s. Mile was recognized and admired for his coaching skills and was asked to coach Sacramento All-Star Soccer Team for a number of years.
In 1988 Mile retired from Shell Oil Co. and was planning to embark on a new career as an accountant, but God had a different plans for him. He eased himself out of coaching soccer and increasingly turned his attention and energy towards the Croatian American Cultural Center (CACC) also referred to as “The Land”, which was founded in 1976. The Club was building a new hall. Mile put his full efforts into the planning and became a budget director for the project. The team needed significant funds and they decided to host a large-scale fundraising effort. The Croatian Extravaganza started out as a picnic for Croatians in the Sacramento Area. It was a big hit and Mile became a lead organizer. He helped transform the event into an annual celebration of Croatian culture and heritage, which now draws thousands of visitors from across the region. With the success of the Croatian Extravaganza, the hall was built in three years. Once the hall was built, Mile became General Manager, Chief Operating Officer, wedding planner, and cuisine designer for the CACC. “The Land” became a popular wedding and celebration event space. CACC is also considered one of the best and most beautiful Croatian Centers in the United States. Mile was extremely proud of this accomplishment. Mile was also involved and supported many Croatian humanitarian causes. During the raging homeland war in the 90’s he took on the leadership role at CACC and the Croatian community at large to collect containers of food, clothing and medicine for the people that were suffering in Croatia.
Mile was blessed with many talents in his life, which he used to make a difference for others. He was a true Croatian Patriot and dedicated his life for Croatian causes. In his unassuming way he helped and touched many lives. He is considered a legend by many, but he did not see himself that way. Mile was a simple person, who never asked for much and was always very generous. At times, he was difficult to deal with, but he was focused and always seemed to know what and how things should be done. His actions proved to be correct, and people respected him for it.
We love you Mile and will never forget you!
On Monday, March 8th a Christian Burial will be held for Mile at St. Mary’s Cemetery; Mass at 10:00 main Chapel and Interment at 11:00. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, only the family and limited number of invited friends will be able to attend the service.
The Mass will be streamed https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFe5mq_vUS0MfmQMF6ELkiw
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