Bora Borivoje Dragasevich
Section A, Lot 1433
After years of struggling with health issues, Bora Dragasevich passed away peacefully February 13, 2020 at the age of 95. Born December 8, 1924 in Serbia he was only 16 years old in 1941 when his homeland faced invasion, civil war and trouble on all sides. When the war concluded, he was among thousands of Serbian patriots and royalists forced into exile in European refugee camps. He was grateful to come to Canada, his new homeland, in 1948 and began his career as a mechanical technologist with Ontario Hydro.
Bora’s name has its root in the Serbian word for “fighter” and, indeed, he marched through life with confidence. A true Renaissance man, he retained a love of life, boundless energy, a keen intellect, generous spirit, and positive outlook. He was driven by his passion for the Serbia he lost, for the Canada he was blessed with, for his family, Church, heritage, and the memory of his compatriots. Love of country and unity guided him - in Serbia by the mottoes “For God, King and Country” and “Only unity saves the Serbs,” and in Canada by “O Canada” and “harmony in diversity.”
Bora devoted decades of his life to his Church, choirs and community. He was one of the founders of Niagara’s St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in 1953, served as the first president of the St. George Choir, and many terms as president of Toronto’s St. Sava Choir. For almost three decades he was president of the Serbian National Shield Society and editor of the Voice of Canadian Serbs; for 40 years he was director of Radio Šumadija on CHIN Radio. He initiated the Canadian Serbian Council, was co-chairman of the Serbian Canadian Congress, and supported other community organisations. Respected for his selfless, honourable work, Bora was instrumental in many noble initiatives, including the Nikola Tesla Monument in Niagara Falls. His leadership and the pride he instilled in thousands via print and broadcast platforms was felt far and wide in the Serbian community. He was a legend in his time.
In 1973 Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau appointed Bora to represent the Serbian community on the Canadian Consultative Council for Multiculturalism to help formulate the government’s policy. In 1980 he joined other ethnic leaders to establish the Canadian Ethnocultural Council. Amid these many activities he raised four children with his late wife Mirjana and built a little cottage on a peaceful lake, a place of cherished family memories since 1958.
Returning to Serbia in 2012 to promote his autobiography “Stopama predaka,” he was also knighted by HRH Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjević with the “Order of the Crown with Great Cross, First Degree” placing him in the distinguished company of others with the same Order: Serbian kings, queens, princes, and even Nikola Tesla! When Bora returned home to Canada the Hon. Jim Karygiannis decorated him with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work promoting Canada’s multiculturalism. The circle of Bora’s life was closing - recognition in the land of his birth which had exiled him and recognition in his new homeland Canada which had welcomed him.
An exceptional man, Bora’s passing marked the end of an era in the Serbian community. He left a legacy of devotion, inspiration and hard work to the family he loved: his four children John, George, Vera and Doug, their families, and his wife Diane Draga.