Slobodan (Bob) Perich, WWII Freedom Fighter from Serbia whose unit helped many U.S. Air Force soldiers escape capture by the Nazis at the end of the war and were thanked with chocolate bars and leather pilots’ jackets, died March 23, 2018 at age 93. Bob was only a teenager when the Nazis blitzed Belgrade and destroyed his home. He ran to the countryside and joined up with the Chetniks, a guerrilla force, that worked to sabotage the Nazi incursions and attempted to stop the communist rise to power.
He remained a fighter for freedom throughout his life believing in the right to choose one’s destiny. He fled Yugoslavia’s communist regime and came to Detroit, Michigan in 1967 with his nine-year old daughter and just a few suitcases. He worked as a janitor while putting himself through night school to learn drafting and surveying. He retired from American Natural Resources at age 62, firmly in the middle class.
Bob moved to Hendersonville to live full time in 1986, after having vacationed here in the past. Hendersonville reminded him of the picturesque villages of his childhood in Serbia and he loved the warmth and hospitality of its people. He opened Robert’s Auto Repair shop which he ran for ten years and earned a reputation as an honest businessman.
The 1990s civil war in the former Yugoslavia pained him, as he remained loyal to his Serbian roots all his life. He agreed to an interview on local TV to help people in Hendersonville better understand the complex history of his birth country. Not taking freedom for granted, he voted in every election and enjoyed a good political argument.
Pets and all animals had rights to live free, he often said. The family dogs had rights to table scraps, free reign of the yard and shouldn’t have their spirit trained out of them. Nature should be allowed to flourish and so what was once a one-acre open lot surrounding his home is now filled with trees. He fed deer, squirrels, a wandering turtle and all the song birds that found their way to his balcony.
Slobodan’s charm extended to three wives, all of whom he outlived: Anitsa (mother of his surviving son and daughter, Velibor Peric and Jagoda Perich-Anderson, Tanya, and Marlene (mother of his surviving daughter Claudia Guthrie). Three grandchildren will miss their Deda: Barbara, Velibor and Katy. The youngest of his siblings, he outlived two brothers and a sister. Late in life, he found companionship with his good friend Elisabeth. The two volunteered as ushers at the Hendersonville Performing Arts Company and enjoyed many a fine meal in town. Preparing us for his eventual death some time ago, he wrote, “Do not cry. I was happy and had a good time, after all.” The freedom fighter fought for his right to die at home and won. (1925-2018)
A funeral will be at 2:00 pm Friday, March 30, 2018 in the Forest Lawn Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
Please visit www.forestlawnhendersonville.com for online condolences.
Forest Lawn Funeral home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Date: Friday, March 30, 2018
Time: 2:00 pm
Date: Friday, March 30, 2018
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