HAMMOND, IN – Nick Skertich, of Hammond, passed away at the Munster Hartsfield Rehabilitation Center on April 2, 2020. He was one month shy of his 99th birthday. He was born in Staunton on May 6, 1921, to Yonko and Anna Skertich, who immigrated from Croatia around 1905.
He grew up in Gillespie as part of a family of eight boys and one girl. He is a graduate of Gillespie High School. Nick was an Army Veteran of WWll. He married Teresa Bujaski at St. Adalbert’s Church in Whiting on July 12, 1947. Teresa passed away in 1967. Nick worked for the Dixie Dairy Company in Hammond for 20 years. He left Dixie in 1969 and became a salesman for Sears Roebuck & Co. at River Oaks Shopping Center in Calumet City. He retired from Sears in January 1984.
Nick was a lifelong, nationally known tamburitza musician, and first performed with his four brothers in the Skertich Brothers Tamburitza Orchestra in the 1940s and early 1950s. The band performed live on the radio and made dozens of 78 rpm recordings for the Columbia Record Company that were popular with Croatian-Americans throughout the USA and Canada.
After they disbanded, Nick continued to perform for Croatian social affairs throughout the Chicago area with his quartet The Vesaljaci. In his later years, he continued to follow his musical path by making sound on sound CD recordings in his home studio in Hammond with his son Larry. They were sold to Tamburitza fans nation-wide.
Nick was a lifelong member of the Croatian Fraternal Union. In 1975, he was honored as guest conductor for the CFU Junior Tamburitza Festival at McCormick Place in Chicago. He was inducted into the Tamburitza Hall of Fame and over the years, received many awards that recognized his contributions and achievements in the Tamburitza field.
Nick is survived by his three sons, Ron, Larry, and Mark; his daughter Karen; and grandchildren, Mark Jr. and Nika.
A private burial service was held at Holy Cross Cemetery, Calumet City, IL. Anthony & Dziadowicz Funeral Home in Hammond, IN are in charge of arrangements.