Vladimir Vuksan

Rođen:25.06.1938. (Gračanica)

Preminuo:14.05.2023. (Kinnelon, New Jersey, Sjedinjene Američke Države)

Dob: 84

Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover

Vladimir Vuksan (Walter, VANK) from Kinnelon, NJ, Passed away on Sunday, May 14, 2023. He was 84.

He was born on June 25, 1938, to Zlata Vuksan and Mio Ceulic in Gracanica, Croatia. As a young child, he could be found hiding in mounds of hay trying to avoid his chores on the farm. His mom, Zlata, would chase him back to work.

Though he adored his farm and community he was just 16 years old when he left for the capital, Zagreb. He worked at a cabinetry store but eventually returned two years later to Grancinca to join the military, which was mandatory.

Upon finishing his time in the military, he returned to Zagreb and worked for the post office. He eventually made it to Germany where he continued his work in the postal service. Vlado would often return to Croatia to visit family and friends. It is where he met his wife, Ana, while vacationing in the coastal town of Zadar. It was love at first sight, so much so that he sent his girlfriend that he was vacationing with back to Zagreb when he laid his eyes on his future wife. Something his daughters would grow to chastise him about.

During their courtship he would return to Croatia often to visit his fiance and worked tirelessly to secretly deliver fabricated passports to those wishing to escape, at the time, Yugoslavia. After marrying Ana, they lived and worked in Germany for two years before setting their sights on the United States.

In 1969 Ana became pregnant with their first daughter, Natalie, and with only a small savings to their name they settled in West New York, NJ. Vladimir was a hustler and worked several jobs, from construction by day to waiting tables in NYC by night.
Having the entrepreneurial spirit, he opened up a pizzeria in Jersey City that did not bear fruit. After this small setback, he turned his sights to construction where he built his first home in Lake Parsippany where he would later move his family to.

He eventually took a risk by putting his life savings into purchasing a truck, printing business cards, and with bricks in hand, went door to door asking homeowners if anyone needed work done. From there, VANK Inc. was born.

He was known for his work ethic and craftsmanship throughout Bergen County. Many often remarked that his work would withstand the test of time. Whether he was building duplexes, homes, strip malls, or churches he never skimped on the quality of his labor or materials. He was also renowned among his peers for treating his employees with the utmost respect and generosity. So much so that an employee's mom in Guatemala wanted to meet Mr. VANK - the man who enriched so many.

Vladimir was a devoted father. When his daughters were young he reveled in taking them to Cosmos games, Coney Island, Sunken Meadow and Pompton Lakes. He supported his daughters in all of their endeavors and enjoyed working on construction projects with them. He instilled in his family not only his work ethic but his love of traveling and exploring. He traveled throughout the Caribbean and Hawaii. His favorite islands were Antigua and Aruba, which he revisited often. But his most memorable trips were traveling throughout South America with his wife and showing his grandsons around Gracanica.

He took pride in the stream he swam in as a young boy, and his elementary school. He recounted to them where he jumped from the first floor window when his teacher attempted to punish him for sticking up for Kata (a cousin who was like a sister to him). He relished in tango performances on the streets of Buenos Aires and delighted in catching his grandchildren jumping off of piers in Croatia and swimming with them on the beaches of Cyprus.

He traveled as far to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia just to spend a week with his grandson that he missed so much. His pride and joy was his family and as much as he loved his girls, he loved his grandsons even more - if that is possible. He was, and always will be, their biggest fan. They say that you never truly make it in life unless you can help others.

Through his giving spirit, he helped his and his wife's family in Croatia and family and friends in the US. His home was open to all where good food and great wine flowed - even the homemade kind - and it did not need to be a holiday.

He is survived by his devoted wife Ana, adoring daughter Natalie and arden son-in-law Christos, loving daughter Karen, affectionate grandsons Andrew, Michael and Lucas, faithful nieces Zeljka and Ana Vukcevic, and many more nieces and nephews, family and friends.

FOTO: Private

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