Ivan Franjo Kostelac
1925 - 2020
Ivan Franjo Kostelac passed away peacefully in Napa on December 20, 2020. Ivan was born on January 24, 1925 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia to Roko and Sofija Kostelac. The family moved to Springs, South Africa, where he was raised with eight siblings. Ivan spent his childhood in South Africa, where he was trained at the age of 14 to cut hair by his father who was a professional barber. It was there that he graduated from high school and went on to follow in his father's profession as a barber.
Ivan then moved on to Rhodesia and England for a short time as a young man, then to Montreal, Canada in his twenties where he met Kreszentia "Sally" Thalhofer who had emigrated from Germany. They married in Montreal where their son John was born, and then immigrated to the United States in 1962 when Ivan was in his thirties, and raised their family in Napa.
Affable, friendly and quick with a joke, Ivan was a natural at making people feel welcome and comfortable in a barber's chair. In 1965 he opened his own business, Ivan's Barber Shop, on Tennessee Street in Vallejo. His 55-year career as a barber culminated in 1995, when he sold the shop to begin retirement and spend time with Sally who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
While Ivan enjoyed the outdoors, camping and short trips to destinations such as Lake Tahoe and the California Coast, after retiring he spent a year on his own traveling around the world visiting relatives and siblings on several continents. He also became a citizen of the United States in his later years.
Outgoing and social, Ivan had friends that he met regularly for coffee and conversation. He also enjoyed the traditional holiday celebrations with his son, daughter-in-law and her family in Napa where he was always a lot of fun, talkative and genuinely interested in the lives of others.
Along with his family, Ivan's greatest joy and accomplishment, was the home he owned in the rural area of Coombsville just outside of Napa, where he raised his family for decades and ultimately spent most of his retirement years. The quiet and spacious property, which required a lot of work and upkeep, was rewarding and a place that he loved as it allowed ample space throughout his adult life for gardening, harvesting vegetables and raising chickens, ducks, geese, and rabbits.
Ivan and Sally were members of St. John's Catholic Church in Napa for many years. Ivan was predeceased by his parents, seven siblings and in 1996 his wife Sally. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, John and Laura Kostelac of Napa, a sister Mary Polglase of Australia, and many nieces and nephews in South Africa, Australia and the United States. Internment will be private at a later date.