Nov. 5, 1932 – April 14, 2015
Stephen John Pehar was born in the home of his parents high on Alpine Street, overlooking downtown Los Angeles (right below the famous Chavez Ravene). Steve’s father, Stojan, arrived in the United States in 1910 at the age of 18. His mother, Anna (Anka Burica), followed in 1922 (at the age of 18). As the story goes, two brothers (one being Stojan) went to a Croatian (church) event where they spotted two sisters (one being Anna). Stojan said to his brother, “You take that one, and I’ll take the other (Anna).” The rest is history…
Due to Steve’s Croatian heritage, along with that of his beloved wife Frances, he was a member of the Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU Lodge 677) and St. Anthony Croatian Catholic parish in Los Angeles. St. Anthony played an important part in Steve’s life. Stojan was a Long Beach iron works foreman and was involved in construction of the original recreation hall built in 1934. Steve was christened, confirmed and married at St. Anthony. Over the years, he also served many masses for the church. In fact, most of the immediate Pehar family (living in the Los Angeles area) have been baptized, married or honored upon death at St. Anthony.
Steve graduated from Cathedral High School, class of 1950, where he earned three-year varsity letters for baseball and basketball. He went on to play baseball and pitch for legendary baseball coach Rod Dedeaux at the University of Southern California (USC) – Steve was definitely one of Rod’s “Tigers” as they remained close until Rod’s death in 2006.
After USC, Steve was drafted into the Detroit Tigers organization. Before he could accept any offers, however, he was drafted to serve his country in the U.S. Army where he also continued playing his beloved game of baseball. After 18 months of service at Fort Knox, Kentucky and in Germany, Steve was honorably discharged. At that time he decided to forgo a career in professional baseball, and began his career in the pipeline construction industry – which lasted for more than 60 years. A member of Operating Engineers Local 12, Steve was involved in many home development projects in Irvine, the Coachella Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley.
Steve also volunteered a lot of his time in his community and took a leading role as the chairman of a declining enrollment committee for the Glendale Unified School District which was instrumental in saving several schools from closure in La Crescenta. Steve also played a role in the opposition to the forced busing initiative in the 1970s.
His passing was preceded by his beloved wife of 52 years, Frances, as well as his brother John and sister Donnie. Steve is survived by daughters Laurie Pehar Borsh (Mike), Susan McGowan (Mike), and son, John (Christine); grandchildren Michael McGowan, Steven McGowan, Allyson Pehar, Andy Borsh, Brendon Pehar, and Nicholas Borsh; two sister-in-laws, a brother-in-law, a niece and nephew, godchildren, as well as many cousins in Croatia and Herzegovina.
Family was everything to Steve; there was nothing else more important. He gave his heart and soul to his family and friends throughout his blessed life.
A memorial fund has been established with the MDS Foundation in Steve’s memory. Visit: http://www.mds-foundation.org/donate/ to donate to the Stephen Pehar Memorial Fund. Please type in Stephen Pehar Memorial Fund in the “in memory of” box – if the memorial fund is not yet visible on the Designated Gift (drop-down) menu on the left side of the page. Donations may also be mailed to the Stephen Pehar MDS Memorial Fund, 4573 S. Broad Street, Suite 150, Yardville, NJ 08620 or call the MDS Foundation office: (800) 637-0839 (please mention Stephen Pehar MDS Memorial Fund when calling).