Preminula:19.03.2023. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sjedinjene Američke Države)
Patricia Jurkovich Lucas “Patsy” passed away on March 19, 2023, surrounded by family. Born on January 24, 1956, to Marija and Stephen “Bajo” Jurkovich, immigrants from Croatia, Patsy developed a passion for tambura music and Croatian culture at a young age.
Patsy could be found practicing her prim for hours as a young girl, and in 1968 at the age of 12, Patsy, her brother Miško, and her father Bajo and Reggie Schaff formed the Croatian folk band Zagreb. For over twenty-five years, Patsy, as the lead prim player and singer, shared her love for Croatian music with communities around the US.
While her musical talent was rare and exceptional, her ability to teach and inspire interest in tambura music was her greatest gift. For over 40 years, Patsy taught countless young people to play tambura and celebrate their heritage. First, as a director for Silver Strings and through her founding of Milwaukee CFU Tamburitzans, Patsy shaped and enabled the Croatian community in Milwaukee to grow and thrive.
Truly, there are not many people in the Milwaukee area that play tambura that were not taught by Patsy. That is the legacy she was most proud of. Although tamburaši and musical instructor are likely her most prized titles, Patsy was also a City of Milwaukee police officer. She received her master’s in finance from Marquette University and worked as a controller and accountant for many years. Patsy was married to Paul Lucas for over 42 years.
They shared a mutual love for their culture, including performing in Zagreb together. They enjoyed the great outdoors –spending many seasons fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling with family and friends. They also reveled in watching the Packers, Brewers, and Marquette basketball together. Patsy and Paul had their daughter Katarina in 1989. Patsy was the greatest mom and role model: exemplifying authenticity, empathy, and strength, always inspiring and supporting her daughter in following her dreams.
Patsy will be remembered as a tamburaši, a teacher and mentor, and as the life of the party, including her uncanny ability to drink shot after shot and stay up late without missing a beat. She will be remembered for her wit, sarcasm, and stubbornness and for her fearlessness and the fear she instilled during tambura practice on Sundays.
Although Alzheimer’s will be one thing her family never forgets, Patsy fought the disease with a unique and persistent strength. Her memory and the music live on through her family, friends, and the Croatian community. Patsy joined her parents, Bajo and Marija, father-in-law Paul “Doc” Lucas, Uncle Drago Kuchan, sister-in-law Jennifer Lucas, numerous relatives in Croatia and Cicos 1, 2, 3, and 4 in heaven.
A special thank you to all the many caregivers and staff at Azura Memory Care, Patsy’s home since June 2018, for their constant care, compassion and love they showed Patsy. And thank you to Saint Croix Hospice for their invaluable care, especially the dedicated caregivers, nurses, and staff that supported Patsy in her journey with Alzheimer’s.
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