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MYRA F. JERKIC

May 25, 1935 August 12, 2019
MYRA F. JERKIC
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Obituary for MYRA F. JERKIC

Myra F. Jerkic age 84, passed away Aug. 12, 2019 at Hospice House in Cleveland. She was born May 25, 1935 in Cleveland.

Myra is the beloved daughter of the late Joseph and Antonia; loving sister of Sonja Jerkic; cousin of Jim (Pat) Kalin, Beatrice Jerkich, Louis Jerkich, Rose Weber (deceased) (and her children, Linda (Bill) Scott, John Weber, Peggy Weber), Valeria Cekada, Mildred Lumley (deceased) (and her children, Jenny Kuczek and Brian Lumley); long time and dear friend of Connie Bates Martinez and many others.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday Aug. 17 at 10 AM at Our Lady of the Lake Parish, 175 E. 200 St. in Euclid where family will receive friends from 9-10 AM

Burial will be in All Souls Cemetery in Chardon.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Alzheimers Association, Hospice of the Western Reserve or a charity of your choice in Myra’s name would be appreciated.

Myra Jerkic lived, by the standards of many people, an extraordinary life. With her outgoing personality, her love of pursuing anything new, different, or interesting, and her desire to share all these new experiences with others, she spent her life among people, young and old, in the joy of exploring all the world has to offer. Born in Collinwood, Ohio during the Depression to a Slovenian-born father and a Slovenian-American mother, she was exposed early to a multicultural, multi-language household. Her mind seemed made to order to absorb and enjoy these differences and set her early on a path to explore more of the variety in the world. While attending Euclid Central Junior High School and Euclid High School, she was introduced to the French language by a teacher who became a dear friend until Miss Comella’s death in 2015. At the same time she became a member of the National Forensic League, a group which taught students how to speak to groups of people in a public forum. Myra used that as a platform to hone an innate ability to perform— whether in public presentations; on stage as in her performance in “Harvey” at Euclid High; or in front of a class as a teacher. Attending college at Miami University of Ohio, she was able to meld her talents of public presentation and her love of the French language and all things French into becoming a teacher. In August of 1957 she left Cleveland for her first teaching job in Chicago, Illinois, then on to Long Island, New York, Dayton, Ohio, and finally Northfield, Ohio. The students who were lucky enough to have Myra as a French teacher learned not only the rudiments of the language but, also, her love of France, the people, the food, the music, literature—the whole package. There were still students from these years who remained in touch with Myra until her passing. Teaching also allowed Myra the means to pursue her other great love—travel. Explore the world, see what’s out there, meet the people, eat the food, dance the dance. Initially, she sought out France as her destination, but that quickly expanded to Europe and, ultimately to the world. Initially she travelled the conventional way— planes, trains, buses—but by the time she was teaching on Long Island she began to follow her own inner drummer and branch out. She learned that freighters would often take on a handful of passengers at a reasonable fare. One summer she explored the Mediterranean aboard a Greek freighter. The sailors took her under their respective wings and told her where to go (and where not to go) in various ports. As they reached Greece some of them took her to meet their families and she did what she did best—smiled, used the few words of Greek she picked up, and talked to people and made friends. Another summer she ordered and bought a car—an MG sports car—which she picked up in Europe and proceeded to drive through Italy along the Amalfi drive where she was followed by young Italian men (intent, she found out, on selling her watches which she could buy at a cheap price), through other countries and, finally to Slovenia, and her first meeting with our European relatives. Again, with a meager Slovenian vocabulary but a lot of smiles and gestures and help from the family, she first met our uncle, aunts and cousins. That was the start of a long term relationship extended now to the next generation and their children. Teaching at Northfield, Ohio gave her an opportunity for probably her greatest adventure—a solo trip around the world. Northfield began a sabbatical program for their teachers with a Hprobable intent of the teachers upgrading their education during this time. Myra’s application to travel around the world on her year off was met with some skepticism but, in the end, granted as long as she would give public talks when she returned on what she had learned. In 1970, Myra set off with many visas, a few prepaid airline tickets from strategic places, and an otherwise meager budget and flexible itinerary from Cleveland to South Africa. From there she travelled north on buses that would leave the road and drive across the grasslands and pick up waiting passengers. Sometimes an African would board and slide his spear under the bus seats. Chickens in cages were tied to the top. She went on a photo safari and hiked til her feet were raw to see giraffes, lions and the like. From there she went on to Israel and spent two months on a kibbutz, mostly picking apples, but travelling and exploring the Holy Land. Leaving there she travelled to Iran, then to Afghanistan. In her small diary entries, she mentions arriving in a town called Kandahar, which had at that time many dirt roads through town and many people traveling with donkeys and carts. Remember, this was 1970 when we were learning the names of places in Viet Nam and had no idea that 35 years later we would be learning names of places like Kandahar. Onward into Pakistan, and India then to Kashmir where she treated herself to lodging for a night in a palace which rented out rooms. Up to that time Myra kept to her budget (low) and stayed in less than four star hotels – one star or less, sometimes. Heading east, she came to Nepal. Intent on getting at least a glimpse of Mt. Everest, she hired a female Sherpa guide who spoke no English to guide her to a place where she could see the mountain. After a day or two of trekking, the guide indicated that, if Myra gets up by 5 or 6:00 a.m. she will see Everest. And so it happened. The clouds which had been surrounding the mountain parted for a brief time and there it was. Myra’s trip continued through Southeast Asia, Australia, Bali and Japan. Everywhere, she made friends some of whom took her in for a few days and showed her around. Finally, in summer 1971, she returned home. Her trip had re-enforced her desire to explore more of the world. Within a few years she moved from Northfield, Ohio to Tokyo, Japan where she spent the next four years teaching English to Japanese students. Each weekend she would explore a new town, a new festival, new people, either alone or with her students. Again, she made many friends who have maintained contact through the years. By 1979 Myra had returned to Cleveland. Without planning to, she embarked on her second career, leaving high school teaching behind to work instead at the Euclid Senior Citizens Center. Although the job titles were different—Activities Director and eventually, Director of the Center—she was still a teacher, still introducing people to the world in all its manifestations but her students were now at the other end of the spectrum, senior citizens. She gave the seniors the opportunity to explore the city, the region, the state, and the country, to make friends at the Center and to come out of their shells, if they were shy. Retiring from the Center in the early 1990’s did not stop Myra. Never one to follow the normal pattern, she moved from a condominium to a house—no down-sizing for her—and sought out new ways to enjoy new people and pass on her loves of things to others. She became more active in her church. She joined the Red Coats who work the plays at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. She volunteered and travelled for two summers to help teach English to teachers in Novosibirsk, Siberia. And she discovered Wade Chapel in Cleveland’s Lakeview cemetery. A gem of a building housing a huge Tiffany window behind the altar and Tiffany mosaics on each wall, Myra reveled in being a guide to all who came accidentally or on purpose, from Cleveland or from around the world, to see this wonderful chapel. Myra passed away at Hospice of the Western Reserve Care Center on August 12, 2019. Diagnosed four years earlier with late onset Alzheimer’s disease, she slowly lost all these wondrous memories. But she has passed them on, in part or in whole to those who have known her through the years. Next year, in May of 2020, there will be a celebration of Myra’s life where friends and family can come together and share their memories, their photos, their memorabilia of Myra and her extraordinary life,.


Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

17

Aug

9:00 AM 8/17/2019 9:00:00 AM - 10:00 AM 8/17/2019 10:00:00 AM
Our Lady of the Lake Parish

20001 Lake Shore Blvd.
Euclid, OH 44123

Our Lady of the Lake Parish
20001 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid 44123 OH
United States

Service

Saturday

17

Aug

10:00 AM 8/17/2019 10:00:00 AM
Our Lady of the Lake Parish

20001 Lake Shore Blvd.
Euclid, OH 44123

Our Lady of the Lake Parish
20001 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid 44123 OH
United States
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