Obituary of Radoyka Ilich
Popadija Radoyka Ilich
July 31, 1943 – May 25, 2023
A Remarkable Life of Family and Service
Radoyka was born in Bujcovac, Vranska Banja, Serbia, Yugoslavia July 31, 1943, to Mirko and Milanka Djordjevich. As an infant in Nazi occupied Yugoslavia during World War II, she was separated from her mother by a Nazi and thrown into the river to die. A villager pulled her out of the river and from that incident she lost sight in one eye. Her father passed away when she was young and had to drop out of grammar school in the 6th grade to work in the family restaurant. At age 16, she married Stoyil Ilich a recent Seminary school graduate from Prohor Pcinjski Monastery. Reverend Father Stoyil Ilich was then ordained into the Priesthood and Radoyka became Popadija at the age of 16. Their first parish was a very tiny church in Prvi Nek and they travelled by foot and donkey to serve the local villagers. Shortly thereafter in 1960, they were relocated to Banat to become the parish Priest and Popadija at the Church of the Ascension of the Lord. She then gave birth to Miroslav “Mickey” Ilich her first son. In March of 1963 the communist police came to their home and threatened Reverend Father Stoyil for his writings on religious freedom and human rights. The communist police took his passport and documents, so he could not leave the Country. They were later told that the communist police were preparing to come back to arrest and imprison him. That evening, Reverend Father Stoyil fled and escaped communist Yugoslavia by hiding underneath a train traveling to Trieste, Italy. Popadija Radoyka was left alone with her two-year-old son Miroslav “Mickey” and was 7 months pregnant with Radovan “Randy”. The communist police took her passport and constantly threatened her life, son and unborn child to convince her to plead with Reverend Father Stoyil to come back. She never wavered and became stronger with the support of her parishioners and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Reverend Father Stoyil was granted political refuge status by the United Nations and Italy and served as the local Priest for a brief time at Saint Spyrodin in Trieste, Italy. Left alone and now caring for two young children, she gained an understanding of being strong-willed and opinionated as a loving Mother and Popadija. Reverend Father Stoyil in December 1963 left Italy on a steamship to Canada to be the new parish Priest at the Holy Trinity Church in Regina, Saskatchewan. The following year with the assistance of the Serbian Orthodox Church and her mother Milanka’s war hero brother Deda Rade, were able to procure safe passage out of communist Yugoslavia to Canada for her sons and herself, not knowing if she would ever see her family members again or return to Serbia. Popadija Radoyka was now reunited with her husband. She then continued with her husband Reverend Father Stoyil to Indianapolis, Indiana to become the new parish Priest and Popadija at the Church of Saint Nicolas. Popadija Radoyka is still to this day remembered as a devout and caring young Popadija in Indianapolis. A few years later Reverend Father Stoyil and Popadija Radoyka moved to California to become the new parish Priest and Popadija at Saint Archangel Michael Church in Saratoga. Popadija Radoyka was active in the choir and Kolo sisterhood. It was at Saint Archangel Michael Church where she and Father felt like they could finally settle down and raise Mickey and Randy. She was very active in supporting other local parishes, Saint John of San Francisco and Saint George of Oakland, these were the glory days of Orthodoxy comradery and fellowship throughout the Bay Area. Reverend Father Stoyil and Popadija Radoyka were active at Saint Sava Camp in Jackson and spent the month of July annually at the camp as Director and Popadija. Reverend Father Stoyil also served liturgy at Saint Sava.
Church in Jackson regularly. On a $300 month Priest salary for Reverend Father Stoyil, Popadija Radoyka had to procure work to support her family. She worked at the Del Monte cannery in San Jose on the graveyard shift for many years and Mariani in Cupertino hand cutting fruit to be dried in the daytime. Popadija Radoyka was the bread winner at the Ilich household. She was not afraid to work and provided for her family’s needs. Her life was basic and simple and raised her two sons with love, rather than material wealth. In 1976 she became a young widow at the age of 33 when her husband Reverend Father Stoyil suddenly passed away. Now left with her two sons Mickey age 16 and Randy age 13 she continued to provide for her family and was the backbone to her sons. As the years progressed her pain and loss for her husband never left, but her heart always was lifted around family. She was able to travel back to Serbia often to see her family and childhood friends. She was able to see her son Randy get married to a beautiful young lady Heidi, his high school sweetheart in 1986. In 1988 her first granddaughter Cassandra was born, and her second granddaughter Sabrina was born in 1990. Now she was known as Baba! She loved to spoil her granddaughters. Sadness also struck again in 1990 when her son Mickey passed away unexpectedly from a broken heart that he had ever since his father passed. It brought him memories of missing his Tata when he was very young when Father escaped communist Yugoslavia. Her son Randy moved to Amador County, and she followed him and lived in Rancho Murieta, 20 minutes away with her beloved Amazon Parrot Pedro. She watched her son Randy become a successful banker as President and CEO of a large bank. She saw her two granddaughters graduate from Santa Clara University with honors and was so proud of them. Cassandra worked and interned at the United States Embassy in London and the United States Department of Justice in Washington DC. Sabrina worked and interned for the President of the United States of America at the White House and the United States House of Representatives in Washington DC. Baba was proud and always bragging about her granddaughters, as well as always criticizing them for not calling Baba often enough. Baba wanted to know everything. Baba got to see her granddaughters get married in the Orthodox Church. Sabrina married her high school sweetheart Michael Matus in 2015 and they live near Baba in Rancho Murieta. Michael is a Captain for the Sacramento Fire Department. Cassandra married Shaun Reed in 2016 and lives in Santa Barbara. Shaun is a Mechanical and Aero Space Engineer. Baba’s greatest joy was to become a Para Baba “Great Grandmother”. In 2017 Benjamin Matus was born and immediately became the Serbian Prince of our family. Baba was over the moon with Benjamin and always said her favorite boys in the whole wide World are Randy and Benjamin. In 2019 Alexis Matus was born and Baba immediately found her equally stylish and sassy twin. In 2021 Alessandra Reed was born and Baba could not contain her joy and blessings for another great granddaughter. Once again Alessandra is also Baba’s stylish twin. Cassandra is expecting a baby girl in August of this year and Baba was looking forward to spoiling her as well with our growing family. Baba will be their guardian Angel from Heaven. Popadija Baba Radoyks’s legacy and story is far from being over. Her story will continue to be written by her great grandson Benjamin, her great granddaughters Alexis and Alessandra and soon to be great granddaughter baby girl. Baba will continue to look down from Heaven and be proud of her family. Popadija Baba Radoyka passed on May 25, 2023, on the Day of the Ascension of the Lord, 40 days following Orthodox Easter. The Church of the Ascension of the Lord was also her parish in Banat, Serbia. Popadija Baba Radoyka will be laid to rest at the Serbian Orthodox Cemetery in Colma, next to her son Miroslav “Mickey” Ilich. Memory Eternal.
A public viewing will be held at St. Sava Serbian Church, Jackson CA on June 12,2023, from 4:30pm to 6:00pm. There will be a Funeral Service on June 13, 2023, at 9:00am at St Sava Serbian Church in Jackson CA followed by a graveside service at Serbian Cemetery in Colma CA at 2:00pm.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Radoyka Ilich, please visit our Tree Store