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Geraldine "Jerka" Grgas, (90)

1919 - 2010 Obituary Condolences
Geraldine "Jerka" Grgas, (90) Obituary
Beloved "Baba" was born Jerka Ljubic on November 15, 1919, in the small coastal village of Zablace, Croatia, and had two brothers (Mate and Niko) and a sister (Vera). At age 18 she married her husband of 67 years, Victor Grgas, also from Zablace, and in 1938 gave birth to her first son, Nikolas. Shortly afterward, her husband became a merchant seaman with the hope of getting to the United States where his older brother lived. Victor left Zablace in early 1939, where Jerka, then pregnant with her second child (Angel), and young Nikolas stayed behind. Victor got to New Orleans where he jumped ship, and through friends was able to contact his brother and eventually get to New York City. However, the outbreak of World War II forced Jerka and her extended family to endure severe hardships including long-term separation from her husband (over 11 years with virtually no contact during the war years), as well as the loss of her sister and her father-in-law to the ravages of war. Her son, Angel, also perished from illness in 1944 at the age of 4. After Victor gained his citizenship through service in the US Army, Jerka was reunited with her husband in 1950, who by then was a tuna fisherman in San Pedro. Her son Victor Jr. was born in 1951. Jerka also worked as a tuna cannery worker for Star Kist Canneries for approximately 20 years before retiring. Victor Sr. thereafter retired from longshoring. Although "Baba" suffered many hardships throughout her life (including the tragic loss of her son Nikolas in 2000 and the loss of her husband in 2004) she took great joy in being with her family. She is survived by her two brothers in Croatia; her youngest son, Victor Jr. (wife Nancy); and grandchildren, Jeffery (wife Jenny), Steven Grgas, Nancy Castilla and David Grgas; and two great grandchildren, Ethan Castilla and Dustin Villono; and numerous nephews; nieces; and cousins. Though she lived her life frugally, her generosity and kindness to others will always be remembered. May God rest her soul. Viewing will take place at McNerney's Mortuary on Thursday, August 19, 2010, from 1-8 PM. Funeral services will be held at the McNerney's Chapel on Friday, August 20th at 10:00 AM to be immediately followed by interment at Green Hills Memorial Park and a celebration of her life at Ante's Restaurant in San Pedro. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Victor and Geraldine's name to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (Local #13) - C/O Southern California Pensioner Group Welfare Fund, 231 West "C" Street, Wilmington, California 90744. You are welcomed to leave the family a message or share memories at mcnerneysmortuary.com. Please sign the guest book at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.

Published in Daily Breeze on Aug. 17, 2010
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