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A Tribute To Mile Gotovac

May 15, 2020


Gotovac lifting the Dijaspora Cup in Zagreb, 2019



With great sadness, we announce the passing of Miljenko Gotovac, the president of San Pedro Croat and one of the original founders.

Miljenko passed away due to complications from Covid-19. He was a pioneer in the Croatian community and left it stronger after decades of dedicated work.







Miljenko “Mike” “Dida” Gotovac’s generous heart stopped beating on May 14, 2020, at age 76. The son of Miše and Boja Gotovac, he was born on December 2, 1943 in the village of Lećevica, Croatia. He grew up amongst the rocky karst of the Dalmatian hinterland where he matured into a man of family, faith, and Croatian patriotism.


In 1964, due to the poor economic conditions in what was then Communist Yugoslavia, he become part of the wave of young Croatian men, “Gastarbeiters,” that travelled to Germany for work. In 1967, he found himself on his way to Los Angeles, California, where he became a member of the tight-knit Croatian-American community. As indicated by the photographic record: Croatia, soccer, celebration and the racetrack were the order of the day.

In 1968 he started working at Dan Tana’s restaurant, quickly making his way to the bartender’s stool, where he reigned as the resident curmudgeon for over 50 years, still working there until the time of his illness.


In 1973 he married Milojka. Together they had three sons, Matija, Domagoj, and Milian. His passions, soccer and Croatian freedom, were a major part of his life. He was a player and longtime president of San Pedro Croat Soccer Club. He was a broadcaster on the Croatian Radio Program, put out by St. Anthony Croatian Catholic Church, where he was a parishioner. He was also a founding member of the Croatian-American Club.


He had the great fortune to witness the long-held dream of Croatia emerging as a free state after the collapse of Communism in Europe. It is difficult to put in words the gravity of that moment, to see the “1000-year dream” come true. It was something that animated the spirit of the entire community, our family, and especially our father.

He played hard, but he worked even harder. Working hard and providing were defining characteristics of his personality. As just one example, when he was having a dental procedure that required sedation, and the dentist told him he would need someone to drive him home, he responded “What home, I have to go to work,” and told the dentist to just give him something to grip instead. Classic Mike.


He put others’ interests ahead of his own, especially his family, to which he was completely devoted. With Croatia free, and the Croatian national soccer team holding its own in the World Cup scene, he was able to mellow a bit. He absolutely lived for his granddaughters, catering to their every whim. He followed them around the house with plates of fruit, snacks, and food like a doting grandmother. He particularly enjoyed the introduction of a new baby, Beatrix, to the family. His patience with them, and his joy in seeing them happy, well-fed, and entertained, were boundless.


He had a strong constitution with a remarkable threshold for tolerating pain. As a rule, he suffered in silence. In his final fight, this strength seemed like it was going to succeed as he withstood successive attacks from his illness. However, in the end the illness had a trick that strength and will could not counter.


He lived a full life and experienced all its joys. However, his passing is no less tragic as he was still a pillar of support for his family, and he never got the chance to fully retire, release himself from life’s obligations, and enjoy his remaining years quietly with his girls.We will miss his barbeque, laughter, wisecracks and storytelling. Most of all, we will just miss his presence. We love you, Dida.


He is survived by his wife, Milojka, his sons Matija (Anastasia), Domagoj and Milian, granddaughters Emelia, Iva and Beatrix, brother Ivica, sisters Anka and Dragica, and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents and sister Ivka. The family will hold private services; however, Mike has left instructions for a party, details to follow.


In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

-The Gotovac Family



Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 14 comments

  1. Maminjo says:

    Didn’t know who this guy was, but it looks like he was kind of a celebrity in LA.

    He seems to be pretty hardcore Croatian, which is funny because he worked at Dan Tana’s (who I believe is Serbian), and there seems to be Croatia jerseys on the wall there.

  2. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I was telling Svircic the other day about the time our club from Vancouver went to San Pedro for a soccer tournament in the 90’s. Our team went to a local Croatian restaurant and there was a Yugo calendar on the wall! Weird is all I’m gonna say!

  3. Johnny jockich says:

    Every Cro club has a man like this gentleman.The ones who do most of the grunt work behind the scenes without true appreciation.
    It’s nice he was recognized…perhaps you can do this for other clubs as well when someone passes,obviously you would need input and information from others on here do not sure if the logistics could work?
    May he Rest In Peace

  4. Andrej L says:

    Pongracic and Jedvaj looked solid. Brekalo made once nice move and shot against Jedvaj before the half but that was it; subbed in the 60th. It did seem like the defense was prepared to defend against him though.

  5. gbvh says:

    thought ball had already crossed the line before it came out to jedvaj. commentators suggested so too.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I live in Canada, and it’s always sad when someone with such respect in the Croatian Community passes away. We lose not only the person, but also a piece of Croation history and patriotism. My sincere condolences to the family friends.

  7. BZ says:

    Brekalo looked like he has for the majority of the past 1.5years. Not really productive, except against bottom tier teams. He will produce more on the National team, as our offensive fire power will create space for him.

    Jedvaj-I am not ruling out Jedvaj beating Barisic out at Left Back, especially against in games we need more offense.

    I like Barisic defensively, and his lack of Jedvaj-like offensive ability is a blessing in disgiuse. He doesn’t drift forward as much, and why should he, when we have Modric, Perisic, Rebic, Vlasic, Brozovic, and creating the offense. It’s nice to have help for Vida and Lovren with a more conservative left back.

  8. Suba says:

    barisic is yet to be tested though although tracking along nicely

    That’s why is he is ahead of Jedvaj because he is a little error prone

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