Family and friends, thank you for coming today to celebrate my father’s life and the impact he had on all of us. My brother and I are truly humbled and honored to speak about our father and relay our appreciation to you for being a positive force in his life.
My father, Alex M. Petrovic, Jr. passed away on February 18th, 2017. The suddenness of his passing has shocked all of us. His brief battle with acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive blood cancer, and sudden passing is still beyond belief. Many of us are not yet at the point of acceptance. A healthy, vivacious man who loved life, family and humanity was taken from us too early. Yet, we remind ourselves life is fragile and impermanent. So we appreciate the time we spent with him, the memories we will cherish and the influence he had on all of us.
As I reflect on my father’s character and deeds, themes emerge that encapsulate his life.
He was a loving, positive and compassionate person. He was an inclusive man, who would rather bring people into his life, than exclude people from it. His easy smile, relaxed charm and compassionate nature allowed him to develop numerous deep friendships. Bonding with others and having meaningful relationships were more important than protecting his ego or advancing his own desires.
I come from a lineage of talkative extroverts, including my father. However, he was also a committed listener who felt your pain or joy. He was opinionated at times giving his honest thoughts, but not overbearing. He would give his honest thoughts, and if need be encourage us to take the high road, respect the family name and push ourselves to reach our potential.
Over my father’s 34-year career as a financial advisor, and my 12 years working next to him, I saw him lead by example. He believed it was a privilege to advise and serve his clients. He treated everyone with respect and gave our clients the honest advice he believed they deserved. Since his passing, I have spoken with many clients who told me they not only appreciated his advice and service, but also considered him a friend. His qualities and deeds have certainly influenced me, and I will continue to serve our clients with the same care and integrity he exhibited in all aspects of his life.
He was committed to his family, and he rarely faulted in his duties. After our parents’ divorce, they had joint custody of my brother and me, and every two weeks John and I went back and forth between my mother and father’s houses. This lasted for years. But my brother and I didn’t view this as a difficult time, as we felt the love and commitment from both of our parents.
He believed all of us must be an active, positive force in our community. He was a long-time board member of the Bridge Home for Children. In the early years, he helped gut and renovate the first Bridge Home. Over the years, he also mentored a few of the young men who lived there. He was a Rotarian for many years, and believed in Rotary’s motto, “Service above self.” He enjoyed the friendship, comradery and assistance he and fellow Rotarians gave to others in need.
He was an inclusive man, who would rather bring people into his life, than exclude people from it. My father started dating Peggy about 15 years ago. Though it of course took some time, Katie, Sarah and Michael became his children too. He shuttled them to their activities, went to all their performances and school events, and made their sack lunches, as he did for my brother and me. He delighted in their successes and happiness, and he anguished over their challenges… as any parent would.
We can take solace in that he lived a long life, full of memorable experiences, cherished friendships and a loving family. He was lucky to have loving and supportive parents. Despite his occasional rebel streak, he loved and was loved by them. He was fortunate to have 5 siblings, Fran, Teresa, Chris, Mark and Stasia, who are all loving, compassionate people and siblings. All 6 of them are blessed to have each other.
He saw 4 of his 5 children get married. He loved being a grandfather to his 6 grandchildren. He would stop by, unannounced at times, our houses to check in and see how his grandkids were doing.
In conclusion, our collective shock will soon turn to painful acceptance. And as we continue our lives without Alex’s physical presence, he will live on in our memories and his life sets a loving example for how we should live ours. The family looks forward to hearing your stories about our Alex, both humorous and sincere. From all corners of my father’s large family, thank you for honoring his life today. Your presence is a beautiful tribute to him. Thank you.