Michael Edward Cvijanovich, 70, died Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at his home with his wife, Sheryl, by his side. He had been under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley for about 6 weeks. Mike was born in Chicago, IL on January 5, 1947 to Emil and Helen (nee Peklo) Cvijanovich. He grew up in Chicago and lived there until 1990 when he and Sheryl and their two sons moved to Fargo. Mike served in the Army from 1970 -1973. He was stationed in Germany and always had many fond stories of his time there. He graduated from Illinois State University in 1975 with a BS in History. On January 16, 1978, Mike embarked on a new career with the US Railroad Retirement Board where he met Sheryl. They were married in March 1980. Two sons quickly followed, Dan in 1980 and Matt in 1981. Mike began working for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in Chicago in 1983. In 1990, he transferred to the VA in Fargo and retired from there in 2006. Mike enjoyed his retirement and loved to putz around the yard. He was very proud of his little house and his corner lot. Mike also enjoyed being in the company of friends, sharing a meal and great conversation. When Sheryl retired in 2012, they made plans to “head south” for the winters. They spent several months in Arizona in 2015 and 2016 enjoying its warmth. Mike is survived by his wife, Sheryl (nee Pazdro); son, Dan; grandchildren, Isaac and Xanthe Cvijanovich; nephew, Chuck Cilek; mother-in-law, Ellen Pazdro; and brother-in-law, Charles Cilek. He was preceded in death by his son, Matt; his parents; and his sister, Linda Cilek. There will be a visitation from 12-2:00 PM with a time for sharing at 2:00 PM on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center, Fargo. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Red River Valley or to Matt’s Buzzers (www.mattsbuzzers.com).
Sheryl and family, Mike is not sick or in pain anymore I wish peace and comfort for you all in the days, weeks and months ahead. Mike will forever be shining love down on you. He is joyfully reunited with his son. It was an honor to care for him on our palliative care unit I hope that we were able to bring him and you all some comfort.
Thinking of you
Cheryl Brant, RN
Sheryl, Dan and family,
So sorry to hear of your loss. Mike was always a joy to visit with when I met up with him walking the dogs by the school where Camille attended. He always had a smile on his face. Both of you were like a second set of parents to Jason. My thoughts are with you and your family.
FINDING WORD AT THIS VERY HARD TIME, I DONT KNOW! I’M SAD FOR YOU & SORRY! HOPING YOU HAVE PEACE IN YOUR HEART’S KNOWING MATT HAS HIS DADDY! WISHING FOR YOU ALL PEACE! & BLESSING OF STRENGTH!
WE, YOUR COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS, ARE THINKING ABOUT YOU & IF YOU NEED, JUST ASK!
BRENDA, & MY ANGEL, BRANDON
I am sure that the first time I ever met Mike was at a barracks poker game in his and Ron Brandt’s quarters in Augsburg, Germany in 1972. I remember the year, because it was cause for one of our , “now famous” bets, of which there were three.
Being terribly disillusioned with Nixon and his claim of “peace with honor” in Vietnam, I was a staunch Mc Govern supporter. Mike declared that McGovern wouldn’t win 2 states in the Electoral College. I was more than willing to challenge his prediction and to bet $20 that he was mistaken. This is a bet that Mike gladly accepted. Image my dismay as I am paying Mike 8% of my monthly paycheck in November after the election. McGovern only won Massachusetts and Washington DC. I am still amazed that he performed so poorly.
From our almost nightly poker games, Mike and I became friends. Michael was a consummate story teller and I set spellbound as he would recount previous experiences in his own inimitable style. He would get so excited when unveiling his stories that he started gong “oo, oo” like Joe E. Ross in Car 54 Where Are You. Mike had a passion for family, gambling and western movies. He was a fountain of knowledge when it came to Westerns. He could name all of the magnificent seven… including Brad Dexter. Mike was also an excellent bowler.
Before joining the Army, he carried a 200 average. This was quite impressive at the time. I was just a 150 bowler and pretty consistent, but no Michel Edward Cvijanovich. We went together to the base bowling alley. After finishing our first game, Michael bowled a 206, and I managed a respectable 156. I proposed a $20 bet. I would bowl left handed if he would spot me 50 pins. Having seen that I was an average bowler right handed, it seemed like a good bet to make. What Mike didn’t know was that I was ambidextrous. I bowled another 156 with my left hand and Mike had a 203. Thus I had evened the score on our side bets.
Michael finished his military service about 8 months before I did. When I returned, I moved to Charlotte, NC to share an apartment with a mutual friend from the Army, Sam Cook. During our studies at the University of NC, in Charlotte, Michel traveled down from Chicago for a visit. Although he stayed only a week or so, we had a great time. He invited me to come see him in Chicago. After returning to Bellevue, Washington for a time to be with my family, Michael came and visited me in Bellevue. I took him for a tour of Vancouver, BC, Snoqualmie Falls and downtown Seattle. I know Mick enjoyed his stay, as later I was privileged to hear him recount several stories about his trip. We enjoyed each other’s company so much, that I moved to Chicago to share an apartment .
It was there that I was introduced to his family. Chick, Linda, and Chuck, his brother in law, sister and nephew. They owned the three flat where Mike and I shared the bottom floor. Mike’s parents became a part of my life. I really fell in love with Mikes family. Emil, his dad, treated me like his own son. He also taught me how to read a racing form. This was a necessary skill to learn for our frequent trips to the local race tracks. Maudy, his wife was always thrilled to see me. She really knew how to make you feel special. It is not difficult to see why Mike turned out the way he did.
While working at the Railroad Retirement Board in Chicago, Mike met someone very special, Sheryl Pazdro. I had the honor to be the best man at their wedding. It wasn’t long before we saw Danny and Matt come along. These two guys were amazing. Sheryl spent most of her time nurturing and teaching them. It is no wonder that they turned out brilliant.
Over the years we have visited and telephoned to continue our relationship. During the 45 years that I knew Mike, I never learned as much from anyone, as from him. Not from words, but by actions. There is no such thing as inconvenience when a friend is involved. Loyalty and honor are much more than slogans. True friendship is forever. Honestly, I cannot think of a single thing that I didn’t admire about Mick. He was integrity incarnate. So, what about the third bet?
I was perusing a new “1990” Farmer’s Almanac and happened upon the top 10 cities, by population, in America. I was somewhat surprised by the number 10 entry. San Antonio, Texas. the very same place I have been living for the past 12 years. How could they be number 10? With 925000 people, that’s how. While driving with Mike in my car I stated the fact that San Antonio was the 10th largest city in America. Surely this couldn’t be true. Michael couldn’t believe what I just said. He started recounting all of the major US cities, not knowing that several were in decline. He quickly proposed another $20 bet. I accepted his wager and detoured to the nearest library. I located a new Almanac, thumbed through until it until I found the necessary information and claimed my $20. That was the sweetest $20 I ever had and it came from the dearest friend I ever had.