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 »  Home  »  People  »  Joseph Thomas Rukavina 1922-2013 Croatian humanitarian and Democratic activist in the USA
 »  Home  »  In Memoriam  »  Joseph Thomas Rukavina 1922-2013 Croatian humanitarian and Democratic activist in the USA
 »  Home  »  Croatian Life Stories  »  Joseph Thomas Rukavina 1922-2013 Croatian humanitarian and Democratic activist in the USA
Joseph Thomas Rukavina 1922-2013 Croatian humanitarian and Democratic activist in the USA
By Nenad N. Bach and Darko Žubrinić | Published  06/19/2013 | People , In Memoriam , Croatian Life Stories | Unrated
President of the Minnesota Croatian Cultural Society


Joseph Rukavina 1922-2013


Joseph Rukavina

Beloved Husband and Father
Grandfather and Teacher
Croatian Humanitarian
Democratic  Activist

Joseph Rukavina, 91 years old of White Bear Lake, MN died on June 10, 2013 at Southview Acres Health Care Center  in West St. Paul after five months battling cardio-renal syndrome and congestive heart failure.  He was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of 61 years, Arlene Rukavina.  He was born in Virginia, MN February 4, 1922 to Croatian immigrant parents, Thomas and Lucy Rukavina.  He attended local Virginia schools and then two years at Virginia Junior College .  Joe served in the US  Navy for three years and earned a commendation for heroism on Iwo Jima.  He graduated with two undergraduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and College of St. Thomas.  He also, earned a Masters Degree in Education.  He taught at Swanville H.S. for  two years before starting his thirty plus years of  extraordinary teaching and coaching at White Bear Lake H.S.  Joe was a long time activist within the Democratic party and so proud of his work with three Croatian American groups:  Croatian Fraternal Union, MN Croatian Cultural Society and the National Federation of Croatian Americans (co-founder).  He was honored with awards from both the Republic of Croatia and The White House for his outstanding humanitarian work during the 1990s war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  He was a founding member of St. Pius X Church in White Bear Lake and was active there  for 59 years.  Joe Rukavina, Mr. Ruk to many of his students and Deda to his many grandchildren and great-grand children was an unforgettable man who loved people and life to the fullest and was loved by so many. 

He is survived by children, Kay Marie (Steve Gavin), Joanne (Mark Fenner), Patty Bergstrom,  Steve (Diane), John (Vickie) and Teresa; 13 grandchildren, Michael  (Julie), & Tony (Jennifer) Barger,  Eric  (Greta), John (Keri) &  Bridget Bergstrom, Jason Rukavina, Lisa (Todd) Rukavina Schwartz, James Rukavina Fenner, and Joy, Joseph, Jacob, Daniel and Faithanne Rukavina;  8 great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews.  The family extends a very special thank you and appreciation to all the staff at Southview Acres for their loving care over the last four months. Memorials in his name can be donated to:  CFU Scholarship Foundation  (501) (c) (3) For the Joseph Rukavina Family Scholarship Fund and sent  to: Mr. Bernard Luketich, Croatian Fraternal Union, 100 Delaney Drive, Pittsburgh PA  15235. Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, June 15 at 11 AM at ST. PIUS X CHURCH, 3878 Highland Ave., WBL. Visitation Friday, June 14, from 4-8 PM and one hour prior to Mass at church.  There will be a 7:00 PM Sharing Time set aside as part of the Friday night visitation.  Interment at Evergreen Memorial Gardens.

Source honsafamilyfuneral.com



Joseph Rukavina, president of the Minnesota Croatian Cultural Society, with Joško Paro, ambassador of the Republic of Croatia,
at the National Federation of Croatian Americans convention in Cleveland in June 2012.

 
Joseph Thomas RUKAVINA

Beloved Husband and Father Grandfather and Teacher Croatian Humanitarian Democratic Activist Joseph Rukavina, 91 years old of White Bear Lake, MN died on June 10, 2013 at Southview Acres Health Care Center in West St. Paul after five months battling cardio-renal syndrome and congestive heart failure. He was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of 61 years, Arlene Rukavina. He was born in Virginia, MN February 4, 1922 to Croatian immigrant parents, Thomas and Lucy Rukavina. He attended local Virginia schools and then two years at Virginia Junior College .

Joe served in the US Navy for three years and earned a commendation for heroism on Iwo Jima. He graduated with two undergraduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and College of St. Thomas. He also, earned a Masters Degree in Education. He taught at Swanville H.S. for two years before starting his thirty plus years of extraordinary teaching and coaching at White Bear Lake H.S. Joe was a long time activist within the Democratic party and so proud of his work with three Croatian American groups: Croatian Fraternal Union, MN Croatian Cultural Society and the National Federation of Croatian Americans (co-founder).

He was honored with awards from both the Republic of Croatia and The White House for his outstanding humanitarian work during the 1990s war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was a founding member of St. Pius X Church in White Bear Lake and was active there for 59 years. Joe Rukavina, Mr. Ruk to many of his students and Deda to his many grandchildren and great-grand children was an unforgettable man who loved people and life to the fullest and was loved by so many. He is survived by children, Kay Marie (Steve Gavin), Joanne (Mark Fenner), Patty Bergstrom, Steve (Diane), John (Vickie) and Teresa; 13 grandchildren, Michael (Julie), & Tony (Jennifer) Barger, Eric (Greta), John (Keri) & Bridget Bergstrom, Jason Rukavina, Lisa (Todd) Rukavina Schwartz, James Rukavina Fenner, and Joy, Joseph, Jacob, Daniel and Faithanne Rukavina; 8 great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews. The family extends a very special thank you and appreciation to all the staff at Southview Acres for their loving care over the last four months.

Memorials in his name can be donated to: CFU Scholarship Foundation (501) (c) (3) For the Joseph Rukavina Family Scholarship Fund and sent to: Mr. Bernard Luketich, Croatian Fraternal Union, 100 Delaney Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15235. Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, June 15 at 11 AM at ST. PIUS X CHURCH, 3878 Highland Ave., WBL. Visitation Friday, June 14, from 4-8 PM and one hour prior to Mass at church. There will be a 7:00 PM Sharing Time set aside as part of the Friday night visitation. Interment at Evergreen Memorial Gardens. www.honsafamilyfuneral.com 651-429-6172

Source www.legacy.com



Joseph Rukavina, 2nd from the left, with a part of his huge family

 
June 17, 2013

Bon voyage Mr. Rukavina. You taught not only history but life lessons as well. The world is a better place because you were here and poorer now that you are gone. Your classes were the best.
 Kathy Bucher Lyksett Jones



June 16, 2013

I graduated in 1962 from White Bear Lake High School. Mr. Rukavina knew EVERY student by name and made every student feel important. I had him for Social Studies. I also helped him with the audio-visual club. He came to our 50th reunion last year. I became a social studies teacher and taught 34 years in high school. Mr. Rukavina was a wonderful role model for me. Because my high school experience was so fulfilling, I wanted it to happen for my students as well. I salute my wonderful teacher and thank him for the great memories all of us graduates had. Prayers and blessings to his family.

Laurie Houdek Hill,
New Albany, Ohio



June 16, 2013 Mr Rukavina was one of the teachers I met in 1977/78 when I was the German Amity Aide at White Bear HS. I remember him as a very warm, friendly and helpful person who helped to make our stay in Minnesota so wonderful. Thank you so much for that. It was the best year of my life. I send my deepest sympathies to his family.

Annette Santally, née Bux, Germany



June 14, 2013

one of the more recent memories I have of coach rukavina was at his 90th b'day celebration and he was talking about his teaching career at WBHS and he said "it wasn't a job, it was a joy". knowing him as a teacher and a coach it was always evident that he truly loved what he did and those of us who he taught.we will all miss him.



June 14, 2013

I know him from 1994, and it is privilege to know him, special from party in the Croatian Hall!



June 14, 2013

John and all of the Rukavina family, I know your Dad & Mom are together forever now and their legacy (All of you and all of us that had the privilege to know this great man) Will and are forever changed by him being here on this earth. I was grateful to be able to spend some time talking with him at the reunion and we picked up just like I was back at school and he took the time to connect with me, It was a great experience for me and I will cherish that time catching up with him. Mr. RUK God Bless you! God Bless your family during this time But most of all Thank You!!!!
June 14, 2013

Mr. Ruk was one of the warmest people I know! We will miss him. He was so supportive of me in high school and told me stories about the Iron Range and my Grandpa Nolan.



June 14, 2013

Mr. Ruk was a wonderful teacher. His goal was getting us to think and emphasized thoughtful assessment rather than just the material we were studying. Thanks Joe.

Jeff Bonsell
WBHS '71



June 13, 2013

To the Rukavina Family. Joe was a very special person. I have had the pleasure of seeing him at our (class of 59) reunions and sometimes at our monthly lunches. He never forgot a name or person. He was such a great man.
You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Your Dad will never be forgotten by his students and friends. You are in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless.



June 13, 2013

I don't know life without you in it JOE.
I grew up with you and Arlenr,lived a few houses down. No one lived life as fully as you did! You raised a beautiful family.You are already missed and will never be forgotten,



June 13, 2013

Dragi moj prijatelju Joe,

Od svih nas koji smo te cijenili I postivali jer si volio svoju rodnu Hrvatsku zelim ti lahku zemljicu iz Tvoje domovine. A ucinio si toliko dobroga jer si bio dusom I tijelom Hrvat. Zauvijek odan Tebi nasem Poglavniku Boris Miksic

June 12, 2013

Joe and my dad were very good friends,even though my dad was about 10 years older. Joe was a great guy. We went and saw him at the nursing home 4 weeks ago today and he looked very good even though he had heart surgery and his leg amputated. He was sleeping so John said don't wake him. I thought to myself, you never know what could happen, might not ever see him again if I don't. He was very glad that we woke him. We Had good memories about my mom and dad,and he surely loved my grandma too. He was surely the best Croatian friend of my dads' even if they didn't see each other very much. they had the same strong love of their heritage and had the same ideas on all things. In 1962 my dad wanted them to have Croatian Days in SSP, but the clique said it would not make a go of it and poo pooed my dads' idea. Even though Joe was in the WBL group ,he joined my dad and got the entertainment from all over, did the advertising ,etc. and it turned out to be the biggest Croatian day ever had. Shuttle busses went back and forth to the Hilton and other hotels. People came from all over for the 3 day event and thousands were there. They never got the credit for it but they enjoyed it so much anyway.Joe was a dear friend of our family. My sympathy to his whole family. Oh, I bet my dad is so happy to see Joe. Talking in Croatian in Heaven. Love, Kathy Chalupa Whitson ---------- Mike(Medo) and Mary Chalupa's daughter.



June 12, 2013

Mr Ruk - a sweet caring man with a remarkable memory, always making us feel special because he remembered each one of US! An unforgettable smile and a fantastic sense of humor! We love you and we'll miss you! Our thoughts and prayers to his family.



June 12, 2013

In addition to teaching Social Studies at White Bear, he was the advisor for Bear Tracks, our student paper. He never once interfered or tried to censor us, and as a result, we never tried to embarrass him - not that we would ever want to.

A kind, wonderful man.


June 12, 2013

A great teacher


Source www.legacy.com


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