Preminuo:21.09.2022. (Chicago, Illinois, Sjedinjene Američke Države)
Silvio "Papa" Stepancic was born September 25, 1942 to Croatian parents in the former Yugoslavia. Growing up during this occupation, he knew that he wanted something more hopeful, more vibrant, more diverse. Early one morning, he seized the opportunity and fled to Italy, without a word of goodbye to his mother.
Italy was his first stop, Canada his second, and in 1975, Silvio finally found home in Chicago's South Side gem - Hyde Park. He gained employment with the Facilities Department at the University of Chicago, eventually responsible for care of five residence halls. No man loved America more than Silvio Stepancic, and Chicago was his greatest joy. He celebrated every local sports team and every American holiday, from Thanksgiving to the 4th of July.
Charming and gregarious, Silvio thrived in the political and social hub of Hyde Park, a renowned regular at many local businesses and restaurants. His favorites are a who's who of old Hyde Park: Valois, Giordano's, The Falcon Inn, Ribs & Bibs, Far East Kitchen, Salonica's, Hyde Park Produce, the Co-Op, and The Cove. He rubbed elbows with Harold Washington and Carol Moseley Braun while winning awards for his gardening at the University. Papa was a man of the people who loved his neighborhood.
In 1977, he courted and married a Chicago local, Alva Batey (daughter of Rev. Chester and Mrs. Elva Batey). Together, they had two children and built their family on the Southside in Beverly and Hyde Park. Family and friends shared love and laughter at Papa's frequent barbecues, where he fused Croatian cuisine with American grilling culture and delighted every palate. He became an American citizen in 1991 and celebrated for weeks but never lost his connection with "the old country," visiting each summer to connect his children with its rich culture.
Silvio retired from the University of Chicago in 2009 after over 40 years of service, earning the coveted Wittnaur watch. He retired to the village of his youth and lived peacefully until his death on February 10, 2022. He leaves behind his son Silvio J. Stepancic, his daughter Angela Beth Stepancic and her wife Sahira. He celebrated the birth of his first grandchild, Lola Marie, days before he died. The family is honoring his life with a grand 80th birthday festival at his daughter's home in Washington, DC on September 24th.
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