Milan “Mim” Smilanich
Milan George Smilanich, the ultimate family man and beloved friend to all, passed away peacefully at age 84 on December 19, 2013, after complications from surgery. No one fought harder to get well so that he could enjoy his wife, daughters, grandchildren, and the rest of his dear family and friends. What he wouldn’t have given to barbecue on the patio, fish with his grandsons, play a game of cribbage, and share a good laugh just one more time. His deep, booming voice matched his giant heart and a sharp mind that looked forward to the crossword puzzle and cryptoquote in the newspaper every morning.
Mim was born on July 18, 1929, in Butte, Montana, to George Smilanich and Milka Loverich Smilanich. He grew up in Highlandboy, Utah, on the edge of the Bingham Copper Canyon, where his childhood consisted of exploring the hillsides with two brothers, doing family chores, and being involved in the local community center where he learned to cook. He graduated from Bingham High School at age 15 and went to work at Kennecott Copper to help support his mother after his father passed away. He served two years in the Korean War in the Army and came back to Salt Lake City where he met the love of his life and soul mate, Helen Vigil. The two married in 1955 and spent 58 busy, wonderful years together raising a family, traveling, and cooking for and entertaining anyone who walked in the door. He worked in sales for most of his life, most recently with Sales Engineering, before he retired at age 76. Dad used to joke when he picked up the newspaper that it was a good day when he wasn’t in the obituaries. Today is one of the hardest days his family and friends will face as they see our beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend on the obituary pages.
Mim is survived by his wife, Helen, and three daughters: Georgie Collvins (Jim), Joni Harvey, and Paula Somers (Kent). He was so proud of his 7 grandsons, two granddaughters, and three great granddaughters. He is preceded in death by his son-in-law Wm. Jon Harvey and his brother, Steve Smilanich. Our family is so lucky to have a close-knit extended family and network of friends, and we would like to thank them all for the love and support they have shown. We would also like to thank the doctors and nurses who took care of Dad at the VA Hospital.
Funeral services will be held Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, at Cannon Mortuary, 2460 Bengal Blvd. (7600 South). Visitation is from 10:30-11:45 a.m. A celebration of Mim’s life will begin at noon. Interment will take place immediately after the services at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 1342 E. 5th S. In lieu of flowers, family and friends may donate to the Salt Lake City Veterans Administration Fisher House, an amazing program that supports families while their beloved veterans are receiving medical care. The address is 690 S. Valdez Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84148.