Judge Zoran Popovich, of Pawleys Island, South Carolina and formerly of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, passed away on March 20, 2018 at 87 years of age. Born February 4, 1931 in Akron, Ohio, he was the son of the late Very Rev. Dr. Milan Gabriel and Zoritza Popovich. The Judge’s wife and mother of their four children, Helen Bodnar Popovich, preceded him in death on May 17, 2010. They were married for 52 years.
Judge Popovich was a 1948 graduate of McKeesport High School and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1993. He was also an Air Force veteran, serving his country during the Korean War. A graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Judge Popovich also earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the university’s Law School. He practiced law and became a councilman for McKeesport. With hand-painted signs and a door-to-door campaign, he would become the Mayor of the City of McKeesport. As mayor, he was very proud of his work in cofounding the multicultural festival known as “International Village”. He was its first chairman and was honored for his work there in 1990.
The Allegheny Court of Common Pleas was his first judgeship. Perhaps his greatest achievements, though, came during his next terms as a Pennsylvania State Superior Court Judge. He “sat on the bench” from 1980 until retirement in 2001. He continued to work part-time until 2010 and was the recipient of the “Exceptionally Well-Qualified” rating by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Judge Popovich is survived by his daughter, Julie Dawn (Pete) Jasper of South Riding, Virginia; and his three sons, Peter Alexander (Laura) Popovich of Anchorage, Kentucky, Michael Dushan (Lori) Popovich of Brussels, Belgium, and Nicholas Deyan (Heather) Popovich of Charleston, South Carolina. The Judge was most happy when surrounded by his eleven grandchildren, Yllena, Leslie, Alex, Zachary, Grace, Perrin, Piers, Helen, Mila, Petra, and Paul Zoran.
Ray (Shirley) Popovich, the Judge’s brother, resides in Greentree, PA. Brothers Dushan and Stoyan Popovich, and sister Stoyanka Vranesevich, preceded him in death.
Friends and family will be received from 2 - 8pm on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at Striffler’s of White Oak Cremation & Mortuary Services, Inc., 1100 Lincoln Way, White Oak, PA 15131 (Sue Striffler Galaski, Supervisor 412-678-6177). Services will be held Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 10am at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, 2110 Haymaker Road, Monroeville, PA 15146, with Father George Veselinovich officiating. Burial will follow in Mt. Vernon Cemetery in Elizabeth Township.
The Popovich family requests that remembrances be made to the Helen Bodnar Popovich Fund, Center for ALS Research, University of Pittsburgh, 3600 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa., 15213. (www.alsresearchcenter.org)
Condolences may be made at www.strifflerfuneralhomes.com.
Originally published March 23, 2018.