Hranislava Zibilich died March 4 amidst the profound love and dedication her family and friends expressed throughout her recent illness. Though cognitively bright as a bulb until the end, her body succumbed to the flu contracted six weeks ago. Hranislava immigrated from the village of Sucuraj, Croatia to New Orleans in 1955 at the age of 17. She was a sensitive, humble and beautiful young woman often referred to as an "angel" by fellow villagers.
After a brief and prearranged courtship she married Milenko, a Croatian oyster farmer previously established in Plaquemines Parish. Although he was many years her senior and hardly known, she soon loved this man who would become a wonderful husband, father and doting grandfather. Hranislava courageously ventured to a land unknown seeking a better life, not so much for herself but most importantly for her loving and close knit family whom she would leave behind. This was among the first of many selfless acts which epitomized her character throughout the course of her life. Surprised she was to see her first home in America: a primitive oyster camp nestled in the isolated marshland of Bayou Chaland. Although life was often hard, she remained committed and loyal. Hranislava's greatest fulfillment and passion was family. It was the center of her universe. She cherished her role as mother. Her daughter and son were often referred to as "zlato" (gold); her six grandchildren were the jewels in her crown. The love exuded by this woman was unconditional and unwavering. She was wise, a positive thinker, a sea of encouragement, a lighthouse of hope, a peacemaker. She was passionate and opinionated. She was slow to anger and easy to forgive. With 3200 hours of service work, her volunteer work at East Jefferson General Hospital was most gratifying. Health issues stopped what probably would have been a lifelong "career". Her "real" job was caring for and nurturing grandchildren during pre-school years. The word, “NO," was not in her repertoire. Giving and service to others was as natural as breathing. In later life, she discovered her artist within; painting fed her soul as much as prayer and faith. She composed poems, stories and music. The NEED to FEED was her core, from family to those less fortunate. Blessed was she to have a wonderful and loving circle of friends varying in age. These women were true gifts to her. The blessings she bestowed upon others who knew her were the immersible treasures of her heart. Hranislava leaves behind her daughter, Cecilia Lanaux, her son, Daniel Zibilich, his wife Kristie (Schindler) and her grandchildren, Elliot, Alex and Gabriel Lanaux; Ryan Zibilich, Rachael Zibilich Riley, her husband Joshua, and Andrew Zibilich; in addition, to her sister Franka Slavich, many nieces, nephews, cousins in Croatia and the U.S.A. She was predeceased by her husband of 55 years, Milenko Zibilich, her parents, Dinko and Valentina Slavic, her sister, Anka Ukropina, and her beloved son in law, Charles Andrew Lanaux. Our family expresses tremendous thanks to St.Tammany Parish Hospital, not only for the loving care given to our mother, but also for the patience shown to the village we created while there these past six weeks and to her nephrologists, Drs. Michele Larroque and Sean Roberts. Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 8 at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 3368 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans. Visitation will begin at 11 am with a Funeral Mass at 1pm. Interment following at St. Louis #3 Cemetery. Hranislava will forever live in the hearts of all those fortunate enough to have known her. In lieu of flowers, donations to Church of St George in Sucuraj, Croatia, c/o Ceil Lanaux, 1130 Dove Park Road, Covington, LA 70433, are preferred. JACOB SCHOEN & SON in charge of the arrangements.