John Hočevar (June 20, 1935 - November 30, 2012)
Anica (Anne) Radman (1934)
Janez (also Ivan, John) Hočevar was born on June 20, 1935 in the village of Šentjošt, Slovenia to Anton Hočevar and Terezija Mavsar.
Due to World War II, schools were closed. Instead of pursuing education, John took cow herds to pastures to graze. He watched after his herds in neighboring towns. He also learned shoemaking.
In 1949, at the age of 14, John went to school in the town of Stopiče. During WWII all schools in Slovenia were closed. He grew up in poverty and hunger hearing gunfire. He went to school only for two years.
John's mother, Terezija, died tragically on April 3, 1950 at the age of 42. His father, Anton, died less than a year later, on March 1, 1951 at the age of 47. Eight children were left orphans and were taken care off by their oldest sister, Marija Hočevar (Furar), born on September 3, 1929.
Years later John described his mother as a beautiful woman, loving mother, with nice white teeth, kind and nice to people. She sang in a local choir for 26 years and taught John to sing.
John went with his mom to Novo Mesto to do some shopping. She was walking with John, and he was walking several feet ahead of her. It was snowing and raining. A bus, driving nearby, was taking a turn, sled, and caught and pushed Terezija into the side of the bridge crushing her. This happened in front of John. Terezija was taken to a hospital and John set beside her. She pat John's face and repeated: "My Ivan, I am going to die. What are you kids going to do without me?" She was taken into an operation room and died the same day during the surgery. Terezija's body was brought home and she was buried in Šentjošt.
Terezija's husband, Anton, was devastated by the death of his wife. He was left with eight children, poor, with little food, no medicine. He was depressed, he laid, did not get up, got heavy pneumonia, passed away. Prior to his death a local priest visited Anton's children and asked all of them to remain home because their father would not survive until the supper.
Terezija's older sister, Karolina, decided that since the government bus was responsible for her sister's death, the poor children were entitled to some compensation. After overcoming some bureaucracy Karolina was able to obtain a modest government compensation for her nephews and nieces.
After his parents' death John repaired shoes and many other household things for his village residents.
Later John moved to a big city (Ljubljana?), where he worked on a repair facility for trains and train cars. He had a very strong hand grip, could lift heavy objects. His friends noticed his surreal strength and suggested that he do weightlifting for the Yugoslavian national team.
After living in an Austrian refugee camp, John left the Bremen (Germany) Port for Canada on the ms Seven Seas (Europe-Canada Line registered in West Germany) on March 26, 1957. After a very turbulent voyage he finally reached Canada on April 9, 1957.
On January 17, 1959 in Hamilton, Canada, John married Anica (Ana/Anne) Radman, an immigrant from Croatia. John's uncle, Martin Mauser, flew to the wedding with his daughter, Sophie, from Indianapolis, USA. John has always described emotionally his experience of meeting his uncle for the first time.
John drove at a very high speed to the airport to meet his relatives from Indianapolis. John and uncle Martin exchanged warm and firm hugs. Uncle began in English: "How you do, boy?" Sophie said: "Dad, he speaks Slovenian."
After that John visited his family in Indianapolis on numerous occasions. He came with his older brother, Tone, and his own family. John came to Indianapolis to say farewell to uncle Martin at his funeral on January 30, 1964. John was very upset. He wept like a child. He hugged uncle Martin repeatedly and lifted him from the casket.
John's cousins from Indianapolis and their families have visited him in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada many times.
John has been a very active member of the Slovenian community in the Hamilton area. His contribution and achievements have been acknowledged by the Slovenian government.
John is physically extremely strong. He used to lift heavy weights for the Yugoslavian national team. In the late 1950's residents of the Hamilton area saw an image in the local newspaper Spectator, on which John (Ivan Hočevar) - a strongman, holds above, with just one arm, an adult photographer.
John has a wonderful voice and has sung in the local Slovenian choir most of his life in Canada. He can sing approximately 900? Slovenian songs from the top of his head. Has a nice collection of records. Has many albums with photographs.
John loved visiting his aunt Karolina in Slovenia, who was the nicest woman.
Bled Hall - Bled Planica Social Club - is a social and cultural society, dedicated to preserving the Slovenian heritage in Canada. Bled Hall consists of a lovely banquet hall, well groomed picnic facilities, open campground and in-ground pool. It is located in Beamsville, Ontario, between Hamilton and Niagara Falls. Events, such as picnics, banquets and weddings are held year round. Facilities are also available for rental.
John was integral in developing the Slovenian club near Hamilton, Canada, called Bled. The club is located on QEW. He has spent much of his free time at the Bled Hall.
4650 South Service
Beamsville, Ontario L0R 1B0
John used to hunt and fish very often.
Had a heart surgery in the summer of 2005.
John and his first wife, Anica, have four children:
- John Hocevar (October 5, 1959)
- Theresa Nina Hocevar-Brajkovic (September 15, 1960)
- Anton Joseph Hocevar (August 22, 1962)
- Helen Marie Hocevar-Umolac (1965)
John happily remarried. His wife is Marija Vuk. She was born in Žižki, Slovenia on July 1, 1934. Marija is a great family friend. John and Maria live in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, a close distance from the Niagara Falls. John and Maria are very hospitable, kind and generous people. John's "library" contains an impressive collection of home-made wine, smoked sausages hanging form the sealing, smoked ham, etc. Table is always covered with food. Their house is always fool of visitors, telephone rings. Relatives and friends from Slovenia, the United States of America and Canada still love to visit the Hočevars and treasure their time with John and Maria.
John's son, John, married Olga, born on February 11, 1961. John and Olga have three children:
- Johny Hocevar (June 12, 1982)
- Jeison Hocevar (July 16, 1987)
- Joi Hocevar (April 3, 1989)
John's daughter, Theresa Nina, married Mike Brajkovic, born on September 4, 1952. Theresa Nina and Mike have two children:
- Miko Brajkovic (January 30, 1981)
- Lissa Brajkovic (September 16, 1987)
John's son, Anton Joseph, married Joyce, born on April 28, 1962. Anton and Joyce have one child:
- Jamieson Hocevar (July 8, 1981)
John's daughter, Helen Marie, married John Umolac, born on June 21, 1958. Helen and John have two children:
- Liana Umolac (June 4, 1985)
- Johny Umolac (July 12, 1986)
In April 2005 John produced a marvelous record of Slovenian songs with his band - Zbor Bled. Although the record was not produced in a professional studio, it is impressive - overwhelming the listener with harmony, emotions, love for the native land of Slovenia. The record consists of 19 tracks:
- Od kod si potnik
- Ko ptičica
- To sladko zlato vince
- Kaj bi te vptašal
- Ko b' sodov ne b'lo
- Teče mi vodica
- Oj, Triglav moj dom
- Pleničke je prala
- Slovenec sem
- Luna sije
- Zvečer se pa fantje
- Sijaj mi sončece
- Tam na vrtu
- Utihnil je
- Eno devo
- Vasovalec - Jaz pa vem
- Vse najlepše
- V Gorenjsko oziram se
Dr. Janez Drnovšek, president of Slovenia, October 20, 2005. For preserving Slovenian culture in Slovenian community in Canada. Veronika Stabej, Ambasador of the Republic of Slovenia in Canada handed medal and the corresponding certificate. Only the third Slovenian in Canada to receive such an award from the Slovenian government.
In February 2006 Mr. Hočevar received another award.
John Hocevar died on November 30, 2012.
Please feel welcome to visit Mr. Hočevar's photo gallery.