Rosario Leo Radich, 96, of Fairfax Station, VA, formerly of Beach Haven Terrace, NJ, died March 3rd, in Aldie, VA on his 72nd wedding anniversary. His deceased wife, Margaret, the love of his life, called him home. “Leo,” she cried, “it’s time.”
Born September 23, 1921 in Marina, Croatia to Thomas F. and Mary Radich, the family immigrated to the U.S. when he was very young and settled in NYC. As the middle child of seven, he enriched his family’s life with antics and escapades that became family folklore as the stories were retold over the years with much laughter and to his chagrin. After all, he was once an altar boy!
World War II changed him and his life, maturing him into the man we loved and admired. He served in the U.S. Army from October 1942 to December 1945. He spent 21 months in the Panama Canal Zone with the Fourth Coastal Artillery and then was transferred in December 1944 to the European Theater, fighting across France and Germany with the 254th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Division (Blood and Fire). He was a member of the NJ National Guard from October 1949 to October 1951. His bravery and service earned him the Bronze Star, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Good Conduct Medal, American Service Medal, and the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal. His dedication to his beloved country influenced his son, Thomas, and grandson, Thomas, U.S. Naval Academy
graduates, who chose naval careers.
He married Margaret Brkuljic on March 3, 1946 at St. Joseph’s of the Palisades Church in West New York, NJ where they settled and raised their family before moving to Oakland, NJ in 1968. In 1956, they bought a bungalow on East 15th Street in Ship Bottom, NJ where the family summered for 16 years and succumbed to the magic of Long Beach Island (LBI). He worked in commercial construction in NYC as an asbestos worker / pipe coverer rising to supervisor of such iconic sites as the TWA and Pan Am arrival buildings at Kennedy Airport.
His grandchildren Theodore Schuman, MD and wife Tessa of Midlothian, VA; Lauren Schuman and wife Sarah of Atlanta, GA; Cmdr. Thomas F. Radich III and wife Maggie of Virginia Beach, VA; Christopher Radich and wife Becky of Falls Church, VA; Katheryn Tucker Hooper and husband Wilson of Charlotte, NC and Jennifer Tucker of Asheville, NC were his biggest fans and thought he was COOL even at 80.
In his later years, his great grandchildren made him smile, brought a twinkle to his eyes and joy to his life. Thank you, Thomas F. IV and Jacqueline Radich; Emma and Dylan Radich; Jonah, Micah, and Salem Schuman; Caroline and William Hooper.
He is survived by his children Marianne Schuman and husband George of Cape Elizabeth, ME; Thomas F. Radich and wife Judy of Fairfax Station, VA; Jeri Tucker and husband Curtis of Asheville, NC; his sister, Anna Stanich of Beach Haven, NJ and many nieces and nephews, each special to him.
Besides his parents and wife, he was predeceased by his brothers Srecko,
Joseph, and Nicholas; his sisters Johanna Mattesich and Helen Skrabonja; his brother Srecko’s eldest son, Felix (Sonny).
We will miss him. His indomitable will and love for our family sustained us
throughout our lives; his wit and one liners made us laugh; his generosity helped us through tough times; his wisdom taught us the important lessons; his voice and oft-quoted lines are in us. He taught us to work, to be patriotic, to put family first, to care about the environment, to take care of ourselves and one another, and to enjoy life. He loved his Margie, his family, his country, a heated political discussion, ice cream, garlic, red wine, his nightly shot of Jack Daniels, to sing and be silly, and helping others. He was a jack of all trades and the master of many.
His son Thomas cared for him for six years in his home until his death last week giving every hour of the last two years to him. Their bond and love for one another began with Tom’s birth. He nurtured him into manhood, taught him how to do almost everything, was first mate on the fishing boat, and Tom repaid him with a fierce and inspirational devotion. Prior to that he lived with his daughterJeri’s family in North Carolina for a number of years.
The family thanks Judy Radich, Marianne Schuman, Jeri and Curt Tucker, Dr. Todd Schmoll, Dr. Manpreet Singh, and Susan Bulman for making a difference in his life.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to heroes.vfw.org (He was past Post Commander of the Oakland VFW and an active member in NC). Or, the family will also accept donations for a Memorial Bench to be placed on LBI to honor him and his love for the island.
Visiting hours will be held on Friday, March 16, 2018 from 6pm to 8pm at Maxwell-Tobie Funeral Home, 573 Mill Creek Rd, Manahawkin, NJ. A funeral mass will take place Saturday, March 17, 2018, 11am, at St. Mary’s Church, 747 W. Bay Ave., Barnegat, NJ. Entombment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Manahawkin.