Danilo Simo Katich, humorist, whistler, flyboy, professor of common sense and accomplished purveyor of the finest scotch or two, passed away on Saturday, September 14, 2013 after waging a valiant fight against cancer. He was 84.
Danilo, allegedly named after the crown prince of Montenegro, was known as “Dan” by friends. Born in San Mateo, California on June 3, 1929, Dan was a product of the “melting pot” as his family emigrated from what is now Serbia through Ellis Island in hopes of a brighter future in America. Dan was a fierce defender of individual sovereignty and American exceptionalism, and equally passionate in winning the heart of the love of his life, Doris Kraljevich.
Dan began his role as a leader at the early age of 16 following the death of his father, Simo. Dan would work after school to support the first woman in his life, Anna, his mother (deceased), along with his younger siblings, Sonja and Peter (deceased.)
During high school, Dan labored at numerous dead-end jobs, including polishing burial vaults; fitting asbestos pipes; and, following high school, navigating the auto assembly line for Dodge. At age 22, Dan was managing hundreds of union auto workers in San Leandro, which quickly motivated him to seek more productive opportunities in military service. As a member of the National Guard, Dan’s unit was put on 24-hour standby for deployment to war ravaged Korea. Those orders, however, were never given and he continued his service stateside at Fort Hunter Liggett.
As a member of St. George Serbian Orthodox church in Oakland, Dan became friends with Boris Kraljevich. His friendship with Boris may have had something to do with his new friend’s younger sister, Doris.
In an attempt to win the heart of the brunette beauty, Doris Kraljevich, Dan worked two jobs to afford a wedding ring impressive enough for her to say “yes.” The affirmative answer came after the third attempt.
Dan and Doris eventually settled down in Castro Valley where both were employed by Pacific Telephone and Telegraph. Dan would eventually rise to management in system engineering.
Retiring from the phone company in 1979 didn’t mean Dan’s work was done. That actually was the starting point of the second half of his productive endeavors. A new career means a new location, so Dan and Doris relocated to the Sacramento area where Dan began a successful career as a Realtor. This eventually brought Dan and Doris to Coldwell Banker in Fallbrook in an effort to be closer to the “kids.” Never considering retirement, Dan remained active in business, closing his last escrow in July.
Dan was the proud father of daughter Janet (Kincannon) ofCarlsbad and son Don Katich of Santa Barbara. Both kids followed Dan’s example and worked at various times for the phone company. During a brief period, Dan, Doris, Don and Janet worked for PT&T at the same time. He was affectionately known as “Pop” by his grandchildren; David Kincannon of Carlsbad and Alyssa Katich of Santa Barbara.
Dan loved life, found humor in most situations and was always willing to help those in need. Dan was a private pilot who felt just at home at 8,000 feet as he did in the community of Fallbrook. Described by many as always a gentleman, Dan’s character was guided by a strong moral compass, integrity, and the generous gift of his knowledge. Never shy to engage in political “discussions,” he passionately believed in the boundless opportunities of free people to achieve extraordinary results. Dan believed the most important word in the English language was “freedom.”
Dan never complained about his terminal illness and fought courageously confronting death as he lived abundantly in life. He embodied the definition of a real man.
A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at Eternal Hills Mortuary Chapel in Oceanside, California. Dan’s final resting place will be Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside, California.