Boris Ivica "Buco" Kuzmanovic
Boris Ivica Kuzmanovic "Buco" Bay View - Boris Ivica Kuzmanovic (Buco) of Bay View, WI died suddenly and unexpectedly on Monday, Nov. 25. He was 48 years old. He is survived by his parents, Boris and Ivanka Kuzmanovic (Madunic), brother Tomislav Kuzmanovic, sister Branka (Mike) Dudas, nieces Danielle (Ryan) Young, Mara Kuzmanovic, nephews Ryan Kuzmanovic, Jared, Jacob and Joshua Dudas, grand nephew Luka Jonathan Young, Teta Nezica Udovicic, Teta Marija Novosel, from Zagreb, Croatia, Ujna Meri Madunic and loving cousins Adrian (Brandi) Madunic, Antonia Madunic, Ruza (Troy) Bartoshevich, Ante (Melissa) Udovicic, Danijela (Davor) Matijevic in Dublin, IR and dozens of family members from Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Canada, Sweden, the United States and friends all over the world. He was a quiet, strong, loyal and compassionate son, brother, uncle and friend. An amazing athlete in multiple sports, he became an All State soccer player and earned a Division I scholarship to UW-Green Bay, at the time a top 20 ranked soccer school in the country. He grew up on the soccer fields of Croatian Park, playing youth and Major Division soccer for the Croatian Eagles, founded in 1922. At 16, he traveled to Zagreb, Croatia and tried out for current Champions League participant Dinamo Zagreb, the home club of footballer of the year and Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric. He was selected to participate and play in their development program. At the time Croatia was a captive country behind the Iron Curtain. Homesick, he returned to school in Greendale rather than enroll in school in Zagreb or pursue a professional career at 16. He was a magician with the ball and he treasured playing on the team and fields where his father played at Croatian Park. Soccer was his thing, but music was his passion. He was a multi instrument talent, starting with the American Croatian Silver Strings Tamburica Orchestra. These stringed instruments brought out of him a sound and a voice which was captivating. His love of Croatian music was second only to the warmth and depth of his singing and playing. From the Becari of the Silver Strings, to the tamburica band that he and his Silver Strings brothers founded, Vatra (Fire), people of all stripes, Croatian and non-Croatian, came to hear them play. The Nomad famously ran out of Croatian beer and spirits when they played there the first time. There was a line out the door at the Milwaukee Ale House every Christmas season waiting to get in. From Vatra to his other musical endeavors, Kontraband, The Bob and Boris Show, his solo act "Boris the Crusher", his cameos with Rakija Bend and jams with Croatian musicians from the US and Canada, everybody wanted to play with and hear Buco. His musical passion was shared with his Greendale buddies and particularly with his nephews, with whom he went to concerts and with whom he introduced new and diverse music. In 1992, he decided to leave school. The homeland of his parents and family, Croatia, was under attack. Despite the protestations of family, Buco left for Croatia and volunteered in the Croatian armed forces. Before his brave service in the 160th Brigade in the Croatian city of Osijek and as a volunteer in Mostar, he served in the Foreign Press Bureau based in Zagreb, taking reporters from the world out to the front lines, serving as interpreters, so they could see for themselves the devastation being caused by the other side. He and his compatriots from the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, all kids, went there voluntarily bound by their love of Croatia and freedom. Some of those kids are still life long friends today. When he returned, he finished his degree at UW-Milwaukee and entered the business world in the financial services industry, living and working in Chicago and Austin, TX, moving back to Milwaukee and last working as a software salesman for Ellie Mae. He spent most of the last 4 months in Croatia, and specifically in Cista Provo, his mother's home village, in the house that his maternal grandfather built. He spent time with his parents, his relatives, his war buddies and friends. He enjoyed the Croatian coast, 30 minutes from the village, and the tranquility of sitting under the grape vines in front of the house having a "gemisht", a Croatian white wine with sparkling water. Buco loved his family and was an incredible uncle to his nieces and nephews. There are things he experienced and did that will likely never be known because that's who he was. He didn't talk about himself. Things like volunteering at Hope House on the south side, a shelter, were unknown to anyone until he took his nephew there with him. He was a fixture at the Croatian Park Beer Garden and at Croatian Eagles games, home and away. Funeral services will take place on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 at Sacred Heart Croatian Catholic Church, 917 N. 49th Street in Milwaukee. Visitation at 8:30 AM and Mass at 10:30 AM, reception to follow in the church hall. In lieu of flowers, Buco would have wanted anyone who chooses to make a donation to Hope House of Milwaukee. Adored by many, missed by all. May he rest in peace with his guitar and tambura in hand. Volio bi da si tu. S Bogom nas Buco.
Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Nov. 26 to Nov. 30, 2019.
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