George John Cvejanovich, Sr., 92, passed away peacefully on June 29, 2019, with family by his side. A first-rate member of the "greatest generation," he was born on December 6, 1926, to John and Olga (Miladinovich) Cvejanovich in Chicago, Illinois. George grew up in the back of his father's barber shop in South Chicago and graduated from Bowen High School in January 1944 having been prophetically voted "Most Likely to Succeed." After a short stint in the Navy towards the end of WWII, as a yeoman, he discharged himself and set up his own GI Bill. With his "GI Bill in one hand and a slide rule in the other," he ran over to register at the University of Illinois, where he graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. Upon graduation, George began a career that steered him on a life course that he could have never imagined. He was hired by Lago Oil & Transport Company (a wholly-owned Exxon affiliate) in Aruba, where he worked for most of his 30-year career. It was in Aruba that he met and married the "love of my life," Ruth Mundinger of Baton Rouge, in 1951 and where they raised their four sons. In the early years of his employment, Lago sent him to the Harvard School of Public Health, where he earned his Master of Science degree in Industrial Hygiene in June 1953, just weeks after his second and third sons--a set of twins--were born.
After retiring from Lago in 1979, George and Ruth relocated to Austin, Texas. Within two years, he started a new career as a university professor at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania teaching courses in Industrial Hygiene. Always a lifelong learner, this led him to challenge himself further, and in 1989, at the age of 63, he earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Subsequently, he was sought after as a consultant and expert witness in the Industrial Hygiene field.
George was a true Renaissance man who could speak knowledgeably about any topic (except maybe rock music). He spoke and read several languages; he was a fascinating storyteller; he coauthored a patent; he collected stamps as well as coins; over the course of his life, he travelled to over 150 countries; he was an active member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association; he published numerous articles; he had an exceptional memory, and he had a great sense of humor. While living in Aruba, he was responsible for directing and starring in many lively and entertaining amateur theatrical productions over the years. In addition to his work as the Industrial Hygienist at the Lago refinery, he is remembered as a popular math teacher for the middle school children at the company school.
His accomplishments were many, but no aspect of his impressive life was more important to him than the family that he and Ruth created. His sons were his pride and joy, and he cherished the time he was able to spend with them and their own families.
George was predeceased by his wife Ruth (Mundinger), the mother of his four sons, and his second wife, Sunny (Mingus), as well as his son, John Adam Cvejanovich. His grieving survivors include his brother John of Chicago; three sons: George (Sue) of Miami Shores, Florida; Robert of Alexandria, Virginia; and Ken (Monica) of Kingwood, Texas. "GrandGeorge" also leaves eight adoring grandchildren: Martin (Lindsay) of Guam; Brian (Stephanie) of Wylie, Texas; Tiffyn of Alexandria, Virginia; Michael (Katie) of Wylie, Texas; Ellen (Dennis) Madarang of Miami Shores, Florida; Jed of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Robby of East Hartford, Connecticut; and Amanda of Colorado. Three great grandchildren also survive him. Additionally, he leaves other extended family members as well as hundreds of friends of all ages from all walks of life all over the world who will always think of him as family.
There will be no viewing; however, a "Celebration of Life" will be held at a later date when his ashes will be interred at Roselawn Cemetery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Published in Chicago Tribune on Jul. 7, 2019.