Nick Vidnovic was born March 13, 1915 in Ponikve, Yugoslavia. He was the fourth son of Bozo and Smilyna. His Serbian parents, who had immigrated to the US in the early 1900's returned to Yugoslavia with Nick's three older brothers, Sam, Burke and Milan in 1914. When Nick was 5 years old, the family was reunited in McKeesport. After several years, the family purchased a home in Port Vue big enough to accommodate the growing family. Four more sons (Peter, Steve, Robert and Ted) were born, although Peter died as an infant. Bozo and Smilyna's boys became fine young men, as well as talented student-athletes. All of the boys graduated from high school and three had the opportunity to finish college. Nick graduated from McKeesport High School in 1933. Although he played football in 1932 and 1933 his true forte was as a star for the McKeesport High School baseball team. After high school, Nick was a hart-hitting first baseman for the Daily News League and the Copperweld teams. He played professional baseball with the Little Pirates. A broken instep ended his career in 1939. He worked for Copperweld in Glassport, and as a millright for McKeesport Tin Plate. For several years when his father was ill and his brothers in college, Nick was the only support for his family. The Vidnovic family sent five sons to World War II and lost one, Steve, who died at the Battle of the Bulge. Nick was drafted into the army in 1943, at age 28. He finished basic training in June 1944 and was shipped to England and then to France in August 1944 with the 2nd infantry division. Nick was a telephone man, stringing heavy spools of telephone cable to the front. His company established a winter camp in the Ardens Forest near the Siegfried Line. He survived the Battle of the Bulge and eventually marched across Europe to Czechoslovakia. His unit returned to Texas in December 1945. After his discharge in 1946, Nick attended beauty school in Pittsburgh. He owned the Nicholas Beauty Salon in McKeesport in 1947 until his retirement in 1989. In 1950, Nick married his long-time sweetheart, Laura Belle Hess in their new home in Versailles. Laura was a physical education and health teacher at Clairton High School for 40 Â½ years. Nick and Laura had one child, Nick, II in 1955. Nick and Laura were married for 42 years until Laura's death in 1992. Over the years Nick remained an excellent athlete. He shot is age in golf both in 1995 (80) and 2001 (86). In 2004 he moved from his home in Versailles to McMurray to be closer to his son Nick and daughter-in-law Janet. He greatly enjoyed his new neighbors at Cranmoor. He was proud of his grandson, Nick III (PTHS 2003) senior at Harvard College Class of 2007 majoring in Chemistry and his granddaughter Loren (PTHS 2006) freshman at Vanderbuilt University majoring in Engineering. Nick has two surviving brothers, Sam (97) and Robert (82) and many nieces and nephews. Funeral arrangements by BEINHAUERS. Friends welcome at 2828 Washington Road, Peters Township (724-941-3211) on Sunday from 2-4 & 7-9 PM. A Funeral Liturgy will be held Monday at 10:30 AM in St. Sava Church, McKeesport. Interment Versailles Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial gifts to the Friends of the Peters Twp. Library, 616 E. McMurray Rd., McMurray, PA 15317. Please add or view tributes at www.beinhauer.com.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from May 4 to May 5, 2007.