KRSTIC– Tomislav 1936-2016
In July 1966, Tom, an accomplished musician from Zemun Serbia, moved with his wife and daughter to Racine WI. It was a hard start moving into the attic apartment on Yout St. Working in a factory during the week and playing his accordion at various clubs, dances and events on the weekends was so exhausting that his hands would shake. Two years after coming to America, one of his happiest days in his life came; his son Ivan was born. Now his family was complete, a wonderful and loving wife, Nada, a beautiful daughter, Branka, and a handsome son, Ivan, to carry on his name.
Tom fell in love with sunny Arizona in January of 1972 when he came to christen his Godson Milan Lipovic. Tom put a for sale sign up as soon as he came back to Racine and started shoveling the few feet of snow that awaited his arrival. His picked up his family and moved to Arizona within that year.
He & his wife purchased the Florian Motel in Mesa AZ. They worked hard and saved where & how they could and bought a few acres of land in the East Valley. Tom, being a professional musician, always dreamt of owning and playing in his own nightclub. He discovered that the East Valley needed a nice place like this. It took13 months of hard, continuous work, of which 50% was by Tom & Nada’s own hands, Europe at Night restaurant was born.
Again working hard and saving, Tom & Nada decided to build another business on the land that they had purchased earlier, that Europe at Night was on. They completed the Mesa East Bowl, a 32-lane bowling center in November of 1983.
Tom never forgot the hard times or those who helped him. That’s why when he became successful he helped many friends and family that needed it.
In 1999, Tom faced a medical emergency that brought him near death. All doctors but one gave up on him. Dr. Petar Novakovic was the only doctor that said, “Yes he is in bad shape but let’s not bury the man before his time.” Through the guidance of our Lord, the family found one of the best surgeons at the time, Dr. Rozaci. Tom’s life was saved.
Though Tom would never be the same physically he still was able to fulfill his & Nada’s dreams of building their dream house, seeing their son marry and have 2 children, and purchasing 2 ocean front condos in Mexico. This was where he could relax and enjoy his life the most. He would grab his accordion and play La Paloma on the terrace, as the security guards would stop to listen. An invitation to stay with Tom & Nada always required the mandatory game of “Tablic”. He loved his ocean and found peace there.
The last 16-17 years were the hardest in his life but standing by his side, giving him the best of care and being his lifeline was his wife, Nada. He had eluded death 6 or 7 times, always coming back with a strong, strong will to live on. The toughest blow came 9 months ago when his son was senselessly taken from him. He became more withdrawn and seriously believed that Jesus would resurrect his son as he did Lazarus and would return him to the living.
Tom is survived by four loving grandchildren: Daniel is the first born, #1 Golden Grandson; Victoria, the princess and the apple of her grandfather’s eye; Tommy, the spitting image of his father Ivan, with a heart just as big; last, but not least, sweet beautiful Marija, who wrote her grandfather loving notes.
Tom was an honest, hard working Serbian man who built an empire with his dedicated and loving wife by his side. His strength, his legacy and his music live on in our hearts. He was loved and honored by all that knew him. Memory Eternal