Former Los Altos resident Nick Mardesich died unexpectedly in his Cupertino home Aug. 16. He was 80.
Mr. Mardesich’s family emigrated from Yugoslavia to Cupertino. The family at one time owned orchards of cherries, apricots and prunes. It was there that his lifelong love for the land blossomed. The Mardesiches farmed the orchards until irrigating and spraying regulations became too cumbersome to continue.
Mr. Mardesich graduated from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale and San Jose State University before being drafted in the U.S. Navy to serve aboard the heavy cruiser USS St. Paul.
After his military service, Mr. Mardesich, his wife, Barbara, and their children, Michael and Connie, lived in Los Altos for 23 years while he worked as a controller at Hewlett-Packard Co. in Palo Alto.
With his brothers John and Joe, Mr. Mardesich formed Mardesich Co., a commercial property business, which he managed until his death.
Mr. Mardesich was proud of his Yugoslavian heritage. His family hailed from Komiza, a small village on the island of Viz, in the region now known as Croatia. He took his family to visit their roots in 1974.
As has been the tradition in Croatian families for centuries, property passes down from the eldest son to the eldest son. Mr. Mardesich, as the eldest son of an eldest son of an eldest son, became the legal owner of the small house his family had lived in for generations.
It meant a great deal to his Croatian family when Mr. Mardesich and his family returned from their visit and he went to the consulate in San Francisco and legally deeded the house to his father’s brother. The Mardesiches were told that the uncle wept with joy at being owner of the land, and they said the generous gift speaks to the kind of man Mr. Mardesich was.
Mr. Mardesich and his wife traveled to 63 countries and all 50 United States, but he considered his trip to Croatia his favorite, because it cemented for his children his love of being “Slav.” The Mardesiches celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary just two weeks before his death.
Services have been held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to a favorite charity or the Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org).