Adam S. Eterovich


Some of theVladislavich pioneers changed their name to Slavich in America. Most came from Dalmatia and the Vladislavich from the Island of Brac, Dalmatia, Croatia. Ivan Slavich was commander of the first armed helicopter unit in American military history in Vietnam and it is interesting that his father, Ivan Slavich, served in the American Army in France during World War 1. These Croatian pioneers became night club owners, military heroes, produce merchants, vineyardists, doctors, mayors, goldminers and priests. They left their mark and contribution to the making of a great nation, America.


Mayor-Military-Doctor of Medicine

Dr. John F. Slavich, 69, was Mayor of Oakland, California from 1941 to 1945 and a member of the City Council for 16 years.  A native of Portland, Oregon, and a graduate of the University of California in 1904, Dr. Slavich served in World War I as a captain in the medical corps. He had for many years been active in the American Legion and was State commander of the group in 1926-27. In 1926 he was named Oakland city physician and in 1931 was elected to his first term as a member of the City Council. Dr. Slavich was a past state deputy of the Knights of Columbus and a member of the Oakland Elks and Moose Lodges, the Alameda County Medical Assn. and the Alameda County Insanity Panel.


Night and Club Restaurant

Nick Slavich. I kept seeing John Barrymore sitting on his favorite bar stool, drinking 15-cent sherry and reading a radio script. And you could practically hear Al Jolson’s voice, off in a corner of the dining room, as he hummed through a tune he planned to use on his show.  Somebody hollered out “Wanna buy a duck?” as he walked by Joe Penner, and Glenn Miller was discussing some new tunes with song pluggers.  Ghosts”  No, just memories.  But there were at least a million of them when the historic old Melrose Grotto reopened yesterday.   Nick Slavich opened the old grotto back in the depression days and it soon became a popular hangout for the radio and motion picture crowd.  One reason was its location, because NBC soon opened up it’s West Coast headquarters next door and the actors, writers, directors, musicians, producer, —practically everybody—naturally gravitated to Nick’s Grotto.  Through the years practically all the top names in show business looked upon the Grotto as a second home or office.  On any given day you could meet Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Dorothy Lamour, Ray Noble, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, any one of the Barrymores, Parkyakarkus, Ed Wynn and scores of other people up and down the talent ladder.    A few years ago Nick made a few million dollars or some equally fantastic sum and sold out.  Born Nikola Slavich in 1902 in Mirce on the Island of Brac, Dalmatia, Croatia, Nick came to the United States at the age of eleven.  He worked in the restaurant business in Los Angeles during the 1920s and opened “Slavich’s Grill” in San Jose, California.



John Slavich, one of the largest fruit producers in this country, was born in San Francisco in 1899 to parents who had immigrated from Croatia in 1897.

He entered the grape growing and shipping business under the firm name of Delmonte Fruit Company. In 1929 he established in New York a marketing business under his own name.  He died in May, 1959.


Restaurant and Goldminer

Lorenzo V. Slavich  was born on October 30, 1857, in Dalmatia, Croatia,  Island of Brac, town of Mirce. Lorenzo V. Slavich attended the public schools of Mirce until he had reached the age of fifteen, when he sailed for America.  His uncle, the late George Slavich, was proprietor of the Union Restaurant, the oldest business of the kind in San Jose. Thrilled with the stories of wealth to be found in mining, he went to Amador County, where he entered the employ of the Plymouth Consolidated Mining Company, working in their mill; later he removed to Eldorado County, where a large flume was in the course of construction for carrying water for placer mining.   He became and American citizen while residing in Eldorado County.  He was now twenty-one years old, and concluded to return to San Jose.  He conducted a billiard parlor for a time during 1882, but sold out and invested the procedes in a restaurant in Gilroy. In May 1897, Mr. Slavich purchased a restaurant business in San Jose on June 25, 1897. He organized  and named the Slavonian-American Benefit Society of San Jose in 1894, with a charter membership of thirty-eight, and was president for eleven consecutive years.  He is also and active member of the Italian Benevolent society of San Jose, and was a charter member of the Chamber of Commerce.  Since the founding of the San Jose branch of the Bank of Italy, Mr. SLavich has been a member of the board of directors.


Cooperage Business

John Slavich. A prominent manufacturer of Fresno, California is John Slavich, whose firm, John Slavich & Sons, Cooperage, is the only locally owned barrel factory in Fresno County, and has been in operation here for over twenty years.

Mr. Slavich is a native of Dalmatia, Croatia, born on October 12, 1876.  He learned the cooperage business in his native country and came to San Francisco when he was twenty-two years old.  Three brothers had preceded him to California, and it was not long before he was well established in business in this country.  Soon after arrival in California he paid a visit to Fresno, but did not stay here long, and went back to San Francisco.  However, Mr. Slavich ultimately returned to Fresno and established the business which bears his name, and which has grown during  Mr. Slavich belongs to Croatian organizations in Fresno as well as in San Francisco.  He is affiliated with the fraternal order of the Eagles. 


Clerk of the Municipal Court-Military

Ivan Slavich. "There was not a breath of scandal in my 19 years as clerk of the Municipal Court of San Francisco." Slavich is now 65 and he retired last October. He spent 40 of those 65 years working inside City Hall. He went to Washington Grammar school, the old High School of Commerce and San Francisco Business College. He was a sergeant in charge of an ammunition train at the front in France in World War I and he was gassed in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. After the First World War, Slavich returned to San Francisco, completed his education and, in 1921, got a clerk's job in the city auditor's office. Jimmy Rolph was mayor.  Altogether, Slavich served under five San Francisco mayors-James Rolph, Angelo Rossi, Roger Lapham, Elmer Robinson and George Christopher.



Ivan Slavich. The civilian in front of me, Mr. Ivan Slavich, a prosperous middle-management executive with McGuire Properties, a very successful Charlotte commercial real estate firm, was no longer Col. Ivan Slavich of the United States Army.  Twenty years ago, when I was a young reporter in Vietnam, he had been the commander of the first armed helicopter unit in American military history, a legendary figure, a man of such skill and drive and bravery that he was for a time perhaps the most admired officer in the country.  There is an efficiency report from those days marked by his superiors-including Brig. Gen. Joe Stilwell Jr., known as a tough grader-measuring Ivan against a presumed group of 100 other Army officers and giving him a perfect 100. No one, Stilwell wrote, was responsible for saving as many American lives in Vietnam.  Two years ago, I had written a memoir for Parade about Vietnam and I had said of him  “the bravest man I had ever known”.  I knew precious little of his background, only that his father has been involved in San Francisco politics. His grandfather, I found out, had come from Croatia, was a barrel maker in the California wine country. His father, Ivan Slavich Sr., was a clerk of the municipal court and a local Democratic pol in San Francisco.  Everyone had known him in Saigon, and when he was in a room, there had always been a special deference to him, other grown men always waiting to know what he was thinking. Parade Magazine.



George Vladislavich-Slavich was born on the Island of Brac, Dalmatia, Croatia. George embarked from Trieste on 1st December 1874 on the ship Gloria as a seaman.  He first came ashore on the North American continent in the territory of Alaska in 1875.  He didn’t stay long here but immediately went south to California.  It was sometime in the year, 1875, that he came to the gold range in Amador County known as Placerville by name and others called it Pokerville. The name of this camp has since been  changed to Plymouth.  The mining activity around Plymouth was going along very well when George arrived.  He worked for the established mining company in the area and also started out his own claims on virgin ground adjoining the mine property.  One of his claims proved to be very important and the Plymouth Consolodated Mining Company purchased it.  He received cash and stock in the company which was at that time the most productive mine in the mother-lode.  In 1883 this mine produced one million dollars worth of gold.  There were about 150 men employed by the mine.  The mine paid a total of $2,800,000 dividends by the year 1887. George Slavich from the date of his arrival in 1874 until the date of his death in 1925 lived in the city of Plymouth.  His grave is in the city cemetery right next to his long time friend George Petrinovich.  During their lifetime the two Georges spent many hours in lively conversation.   Those who remember say that every one of their meetings ended in angry dispute over politics, but the next day all was forgotten and they were friends again.  George Slavich maintained that he was an Austrian.  “You are not an Austrian; you are a Bracanin,” George Petrinovich would argue. 



Stephen Vladislavich. Thus we encounter the name of the Reverend Stephen Vladislavich, a native of the Island of Brac, Dalmatia, Croatia who after a short sojourn in San Francisco died on May 21, 1883, at the age of 37 years, and is buried in the priests’ section of the old Calvary Cemetery in San Francisco.