February 3, 1940 – August 6, 2018
It is with great sadness that the family of Dr. Rade Pejic, of New Orleans, LA and Michigan City, IN, announces his passing at the University of Chicago Medical Center on August 6, 2018 due to complications following a recent heart attack. He was 78.
Dr. Pejic was born as an American citizen on February 3, 1940 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) to Dr. Slavko Pejic (1896-1976) and Savka (Musulin) Pejic (1904-1984). After surviving the German occupation of Yugoslavia during World War II, he arrived at New York Harbor in 1951 with his mother and sister to escape Communist rule. In America, he struggled through a painful childhood and adolescence being separated from his parents and living with step relatives. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962 with a B.A. in chemistry and from the University of Pittsburgh – School of Medicine in 1966.
He served as a surgeon and Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy Medical Corps from 1968 to 1974, to include residencies at the Presbyterian University Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA) and the Portsmouth Naval Hospital (Portsmouth, VA), two tours on the USS Repose and the USS Sanctuary hospital ships during the Vietnam War where he performed trauma surgery on and saved the lives of many young Sailors and Marines wounded in battle, and was the assistant chief of surgery at Naval Hospital Boston (Chelsea, MA). After being honorably discharged from the military, Dr. Pejic became the attending surgeon at Cooper Medical Center (Camden, NJ) in 1974 and then a cardiovascular fellow at St. John Hospital (Detroit, MI) in 1977. In 1978, he settled in Michigan City, IN for a near 30-year unparalleled career at the Medical Group of Michigan City where he performed general, vascular, thoracic, angioplasty, and trauma surgery on thousands of patients at St. Anthony Hospital, LaPorte Hospital, and the former Memorial Hospital.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Leslie Kramer Pejic, whom he married in 1973, after serving with her father, CAPT Scott Gregory Kramer, who was a surgeon and commanding officer at the Naval Hospital Boston. They enjoyed 45 cherished years of marriage and raising a family together. He is also survived by their five children: Lazar Scott (Jennifer) Pejic, JD, of Valparaiso, IN; Rade Nicholas (April) Pejic, MD; Nicholas Gregory (Laura) Pejic, MD, both of New Orleans, LA; Chelsea Alexandra Pejic, JD, of Chicago, IL; and Gregory Halsted Pejic, MPP, of Washington, D.C. Dr. Pejic is survived by seven grandchildren: Scott; Jonathan; William; Grace; O’Hara; and twins Sofija and Isabela Savka Pejic. Dr. Pejic was also awaiting his soon-to-be eighth grandchild, Elizabeth Leslie Pejic. He is survived by his sister, Smiljana Pejic, and niece, Kristina Pejic, both of Collingswood, NJ, and his cousin, Branko (Valeria) Pejic, MD, of Cocoa, FL. Dr. Pejic is preceded in death by his father and mother-in-law Scott Gregory Kramer, MD (1923-1998), and Margaret Jean Kramer (1924-2012).
Dr. Pejic valued hard work and family above all else. He loved performing surgery and felt most at home in the operating room. He knew that good surgical judgment and extreme attention to detail led to the best outcomes for his patients. He enjoyed mentoring others, from high school students to colleagues, and was a consistent role model for doing your job well. He believed that family should stick together and care for each other through thick and thin. He considered his pets as family too—most recently his beloved Buster, who misses him dearly. He believed in putting America first and was a fierce defender of the United States, especially our values of liberty and freedom, which he saw the Communists decimate in Yugoslavia after World War II. For fun, Dr. Pejic enjoyed rooting for Pitt, the Steelers, and the Saints. He had a spirited sense of humor and enjoyed classic movies, smoking a good cigar with friends, and talking with his family on the porch. We will miss him greatly. He was one of a kind and irreplaceable.
An evening celebration of his life and dinner will be held at Pottawattomie Country Club, 1900 Springland Ave, Michigan City, IN, for family, friends, and anyone who would like to honor his memory starting at 6 PM on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Further details for RSVP will be forthcoming on social media. A funeral service is not planned at this time; interment of the ashes will be in the Arlington National Cemetery (VA) at a later date. Friends and acquaintances of Dr. Pejic may send condolence cards to his family at 2606 Oak St., Michigan City, IN 46360. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given in Dr. Pejic’s honor to the Michiana Humane Society, 722 Indiana Highway 212, Michigan City, IN 46360 (https://michianahumanesociety.org/in-memory).