With great sadness, the Jankovic family announces that Persa Jankovic, our Baba, has passed away after a brief illness at St. Joseph’s Care Group Hospice Unit. She was with us for 93 well lived and productive years. She was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Persa Kotur was born on June 6, 1929 in the village of Gornjoselci, Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1946 she married her husband Branko Jankovic, our Jed, and they were married for 59 years until he passed in 2006. While in Yugoslavia, three sons were born, Cedo, Ranko and Ljubo.
In early 1960 Baba came to Canada by boat with Ljubo, to join Jed who had arrived in Canada to work and get everything set for the family. They landed in Halifax at Pier 21 and then took a train to Port Arthur where the family settled. Two more sons were born in Port Arthur, Branko Jr. and Nikola to complete the family. The first family home was a small house on Nugent Street where the family enjoyed many years with their great neighbours. While Jed was away during the week working at the bush camps, Baba took care of the 5 boys and then worked the night shifts as a janitor for many years, mostly with Stan’s Cleaning Service. She made sure we had supper before she left for work and was up to make sure we had breakfast and went off to school. Taking care of her family was most important. We were very fortunate to always have a roof over our heads, clean clothes, and lots of food and love.
In 1973, the family moved to Ruttan Street where Baba lived independently until she passed away. It was a bigger home and perhaps even more importantly, it provided an opportunity for a very big vegetable garden which was a passion for Baba and Jed. The big vegetable garden was expanded to include a variety of fruit trees. First it was apples, then cherries, and for a while grapes. Recently she added a pear tree and a plum tree. She was well known for her fabulous organic vegetables, and she made many friends and customers over the years from her years at the Thunder Bay Country Market or visitors coming to her home to get fresh vegetables. At the front of her yard Baba grew a colourful array of beautiful flowers that always attracted people walking by.
Baba kept close to her family and friends in Bosnia and Serbia and over the years made several trips there to visit her birthplace. She enjoyed these trips and seeing everyone. She made regular trips to Edmonton to see her family there. When her grandchildren Daniel and Scott were born, she was there the same day. The trips were regular and frequent until travel became too difficult.
During her last year, she was very happy to attend and celebrate the wedding of her grandson Steve and Kaitie. Incredibly she was able to grow her full garden at age 93 despite significant mobility issues that arise with age. She served up her epic family feasts regularly. With the assistance of her family and neighbours, she was able to live on her terms in the house she loved. She was incredibly thankful for the neighbours who truly were like a second family. Whether it was offering rides, plowing snow, or just keeping watch, you helped her maintain her independence which was extremely important to her. She knew she was fortunate to live in such a great area and she loved all of you.
Baba is survived by her three sons, Cedo (Donna), Ljubo (Carol), and Branko Jr. (Colette), two daughters in law, Mira (Bozo) and Rebecca, her five grandchildren, Steve (Kaitie), Robert, Darren (Karin), Daniel and Scott, and two great grandchildren, Benjamin and Felix. Her friends and family in Bosnia and Serbia will also miss her. She was predeceased by her husband Branko, sons Ranko and Nikola, grandson Douglas, parents Stevo and Ana, her brothers Bosko, Slavko and Radovan, and her sister Marija.
As she neared the end of her journey with us, Baba expressed gratitude that she was able to have good health for the majority of her years and the many friends and neighbours she had over the years. There are a lot of you. Now Baba can rest, grow her big garden in the sky, and spend time with her family and friends on the other side.
We wish to thank the professional and support staff at TBRHSC and St. Joseph’s for the wonderful care provided during her stay.
A service to celebrate the life of Persa Jankovic with be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 20, 2023 in the chapel of Sargent and Son Funeral Home, 21 N. Court Street. A visitation for family and friends will be held one hour prior. Those wishing to attend the service virtually may do so on the Sargent & Son Facebook page. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to St. Joseph’s Care Group – Hospice Unit. Online condolences may be made at www.sargentandson.com.