Nicola Vulkovic

Obituary of Nicola Vulkovic

Born in Beograd, Serbia in the era of horse-drawn carriages and streetcars during the waning days of World War I, Nicola Vulkovic passed away on August 18, 2018, at age 98 after a brief illness in yet another metropolis, Houston, Texas. He is preceded in death by his parents, Darinka Jurisic and Vasilje Vulkovic; wife, Violette Consolini; and sisters, Jelena Vujadinovic and Borka Ozerovic. Left to cherish his memory is his daughter, Magdalene Vulkovic, and a host of other family and dear friends. 

 

His life reflected a combination of adapting to ever changing circumstances coupled with a natural quest for knowledge and varied interests as a law student, soldier, resistance fighter, UN displaced person, immigrant, economics professor, stamp collector, photographer, avid history and current events reader, tennis player, cyclist, gardener, opera lover and always a devoted son, brother, husband, father and uncle.

 

As a young adult, his career hopes were permanently altered by the political events of World War II and Tito’s subsequent takeover of the former Yugoslavia. To that end he:

 

  • Abandoned law studies and enlisted in the Royal Yugoslav Army in October 1940
  • Surrendered to and was released by advancing Italian troops in April 1941
  • Evaded German POW capture multiple times
  • Worked at Beograd docks and railway with a German “POW on Liberty” pass
  • Served sentry duty for the Operation Halyard rescue of 500 Allied airmen during the summer of 1944
  • Fought in the Battle of Mt. Kopaonik against Yugoslav Partisans in August 1944
  • Survived multiple bombardments including the Allied bombing of Vienna city center in February 1945
  • Crossed the Italian border into Switzerland on foot as a UN displaced person in April 1945
  • Sailed for 10 days across the Atlantic on the refugee Kaiser Motorship Nelly from Bremerhaven, Germany to Halifax, Canada in June 1952
  • Immigrated to the States by train via St. Albans, Vermont in 1962

 

He attended universities across four nations and studied in three languages starting in Beograd, then Genève (Switzerland), McGill (Montreal), Duke and Florida State in the lengthy post war journey towards a lasting career.

 

Ever resourceful in finding employment, he served as a diplomatic courier, UN mailroom clerk, department store candy salesman at Depuis Frères in Montreal, elevator operator, ambulance attendant and law clerk before finally completing his PhD in 1967 and becoming a professor.  He taught at McNeese State University for 21 years. During that time, he especially enjoyed teaching upper level and master’s level courses, working on a variety of feasibility projects and teaching Money and Banking to local bankers. He welcomed the interaction of teaching and advising students; there were many favorite students including Canadians and Irishmen who specifically sought him out as the lone Canadian faculty member on campus.

 

He met and married his loving wife, Violette Consolini, in Montreal. Together they navigated the many challenges faced by first generation immigrants and war survivors.  In retirement, they were finally able to spend many years enjoying annual family reunion trips to Switzerland to the point of becoming the ultimate personal tour guides for those fortunate to be able accompany them.

 

Consistently guided by principles of honor, integrity, conscientiousness, kindness and a persistent motivation to look after all the women in his family from his father’s early death in 1928 onto his own, his life serves as an inspiration to those privileged to have known him.

 

Gratitude and thank-you is expressed to the staff at Garden Terrace Skilled Nursing Home for the attentive care provided over the past three years.   Details for a memorial service shall be announced later.

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