Yanko passed away peacefully on June 9, 2021. He was born in Hercegovina, the son of Nikola Susac and Ana Pinjuh, and was one of four siblings. Yanko moved to Zagreb
to complete his high school and college studies. He emigrated to the United States in 1956, after living and studying electrical engineering as an émigré in Vienna Austria for 2 years.
Yanko settled into the Central Valley, and immediately found work as an electrician.
At the Sveti Vlaho Festival in San Francisco his fortunes illuminated, as he met Janja Butigan who became his wife in 1960. Yanko and Janja had 3 children: Nick Susac (Shawnna) Kristina Susac (Paul) Johnny Susac (Sonia), as well as 6 grand-children: Andrew Susac (Maggie) great-grandson, Luke Susac, Matthew (Mato) Susac (Ella) , Daniel Susac, Sophia Susac, Natalia Falchi, Anthony (Tonko) Susac. He was also a cherished uncle to his nieces and nephews and their children: Ana Phelps (Steve & Tony Barbarich) Mary Norris (Darrell, Rachel & Nick) Stephanie Balic (Bozidar, Adriana, Ivana & Stipe) Zlatko Zadro (Becky, Alex, Liz) as well as numerous nieces and nephews and a large loving family in Croatia and Hercegovina.
Although Yanko worked as a union electrician, his ambitions were bold and he wanted more for himself and his family. During the 70's, Yanko decided to be his own boss and became a licensed electrical contractor. His reputation flourished and a few years later he became a General Contractor and helped develop the Sacramento region. He was dedicated to perfection and his craft, and insisted on having his sons beside him as he developed his business. As his parallel mission he instilled an uncompromising work ethic in his children. His love of effort and labor did not stop with his family.
Whenever his children's friends came over to "play", Yanko would instead assign household chores to his children and their friends. When his children balked, he would say in his heavy Croatian accent, "Just remember this! If your friends don't want to help you, they're not your friends!" Although unwanted at the time, these instances provided some of life's best lessons, as well as comedic entertainment in the days of few TV stations and no social media. Yanko had a "following"!
Yanko was curious and loved to learn. He loved to tango, waltz and polka. He also loved to travel. Hawaii was a favorite destination, as well as Mexico, South America, Europe, and his beloved Croatia.
He will be remembered for his boldness, kind and generous heart, eccentric ways, and his extreme enthusiasm for all things Croatian.
Yanko was proud of his heritage, and together with Janja, they were known as "Croatian Central" in Sacramento. Yanko was a founding member and President of the Croatian American Cultural Center, as well as President of Croatian Fraternal Union Lodge 434. He was also a lifetime member of St. Philomene Parish.
The family wishes to thank Yanko's devoted caretakers: Stephanie Balic, Elizabeth Glavich, Zorka Lerner, Marija Milak-Magos, as well as the devoted caretakers at Splendor Oaks Adult Living facility in Fair Oak. Special thanks go out to Martin, Ann, Polina and Marjorie.
A Memorial Mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday, July 2 at 10 am at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery Chapel, Sacramento: 6509 Fruitridge Rd. Burial immediately following. A memorial reception will be held at a later date.
Persons wishing to honor Yanko's legacy, can do so by contributing to The Croatian Scholarship Fund, (croatianscholarship.org) St. Philomene's School or Loaves and Fishes.
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