This special feature talks about three recent losses in the Slovenian community in Victoria.
Stane Lešnjak, well known within the Slovenian community in Melbourne passed away on December 20, 2019, at the age of 88. He was born on September 15, 1931 in the village of Šmarjeta in the beautiful Dolenjska region of Slovenia. Stan was one of the founding members of the Slovenian Association Planica in Melbourne when it was established in 1972. The first meetings of the association were actually held in Stan’s garage. He was well loved amongst the Planica members as well as within the wider Slovenian community for his sense of humour and that he also wasn’t afraid of ‘calling a spade a spade’! Everyone knew Stan by his unique ‘Dolenjski’ dialect. He spoke very clearly and there was absolutely no reason for anyone not to understand what Stan was saying! Stan was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He was a humble man and great company to be around! Stan’s funeral was held at the Saints Cyril and Methodius Slovenian Church in Kew on December 27, 2019. He was laid to rest at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery and a wake was held at the Slovenian Association Planica. Sincerest condolences to his wife, Anica, daughter Yanya, son Robert and their families. May Stan rest in God’s peace.
Slavko Koprivnik passed away on December 22, 2019, aged 82. He was born on May 18, 1937 near the town of Slovenske Konjice in the Štajerska region of Slovenia. Slavko was very well known as a musician, not only within the Slovenian community, but also among other ethnic groups including the Austrian, German, Dutch and Polish communities. He always had a smile on his face when he was playing his beloved button accordion! Slavko’s funeral was held at the Tobin Brothers Chapel in Nobel Park in Victoria on January 14 this year. May he rest in God’s peace.
Natasha Jones (nee Martinčič) passed away on 26 November, 2019 after battling illness which took her way too early! She was born in Maribor, Slovenia, on December 27, 1975 to Matilda and the late Jacob Martinčič. She arrived in Australia as a young girl with her parents where they started their new life Down Under in Geelong, Victoria. The family quickly became involved within the Slovenian community and they were also members of the Slovenian Association Ivan Cankar. Natasha was even made an ambassador of the Slovenian community in that city. Natasha’s pleasant voice could also be heard for many years over the radio airwaves when she was involved with broadcasting Slovenian Youth Programs during the regular Slovenian Program on SBS Radio under the guidance of the late Elica Rizmal. She was an outstanding musician and vocalist who studied organ up to Grade 8 level. She very often performed within the Slovenian community at numerous events around Australia, including many Slovenian Youth Concerts. Natasha led the 'Veseli Cankarji' Youth Choir and performed with the popular Melbourne Slovenian band Karantanija alongside another talented vocalist, Christine Ferra (nee Cestnik). This was a huge fundraising event organised by the band at the Slovenian Association Planica in Melbourne in 1995 which attracted over 500 visitors. Natasha LOVED music and everyone who heard her sing mentioned that she had a truly golden voice! Natasha also loved Slovenia and wasn’t afraid to share her pride in her Slovenian background far and wide! She is survived by her very charismatic husband, Riley and 3 children, Electra, Xander and Declan along with her mother, Matilda and brother Ernest who lives in Slovenia. We extend our sincere condolences to the entire family and many friends who had the honour of knowing and respecting a true angel with an angelic voice! Her funeral was held at the Memo Music Hall in St Kilda on December 4, 2019. Over 500 people were in attendance to say goodbye to this wonderful person who fought so bravely against her illness to the very end! Natasha will be sadly missed. May she rest in God’s peace.