John “Ivo” Divizich
September 29, 1926 - February 14, 2021
John Divizich, 94, passed away peacefully on Valentine’s Day, 2021.
John was born in 1926 in a small village in Konavle, near Dubrovnik, in Yugoslavia (now Croatia). He was a young soldier during WWII and later escaped the oppressive regime in Yugoslavia, becoming a refugee in post-war Paris, memories of which he often recalled fondly. Ultimately he arrived in California on Thanksgiving day, 1953 and began working for his uncle, managing vineyards in the Central Valley. He moved to the Bay Area in 1962 seeking a more temperate climate. He found work in construction, working on some notable projects such as the construction of the beautiful Russian Orthodox Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco in 1964, and repairs of the Bay Bridge after the 1989 earthquake. He retired at age 65.
John married his wife, Fanita, in 1965 and was a devoted husband for 55 years. They lived in Martinez and raised 2 daughters together.
In addition to his family, one of John’s greatest loves was gardening, and he had a large plot were he tended grapevines, fruit trees and many varieties of vegetables, especially fava (“boba” in Croatian) and green beans. He often befriended neighborhood cats that would follow him throughout his garden. He taught his daughters the benefits of a strong work ethic, love for the the outdoors and the importance of treating people and animals with the utmost kindness. Over the years, John frequently traveled back to Croatia to visit family, with whom he remained close in spite of the physical distance between them.
John is survived by his wife of 55 years, Fanita, his daughter Adriana (Graham) Shaw, his daughter Deedee (Colin) Smith and the neighborhood cats that still come to his garden to say hello.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your local Catholic charity or the ASPCA.
John will be laid to rest in Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette, CA
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