Son of Yugoslavian immigrants, Marko and Frances Vukovich, Ned was born in Tacoma on July 15, 1917 and passed away on September 30, 2020 at the age of 103. Built by his father, the family lived in a small house down on the waterfront that had no running water and finally got electricity when he was 12 years old.
Because of the Depression, Ned quit school after the ninth grade to help support his family and at the age of 16 in 1933 he started commercial purse seine fishing. His first season fishing netted him $18 for 2 ½ months’ work after paying his share of groceries and fuel.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 Ned quit fishing and joined the Coast Guard and served his country patrolling the waters off Unimak and Pribilof Islands in Alaska. After the war, Ned worked for Hooker Chemical, building grain elevator tanks, which took over 6 months. He then went to work for the City of Tacoma starting as a chainman, transitman, inspector, then Party Chief running a survey crew. It was during this time he took courses to get his GED. He retired in 1977 after 31 years of employment.
Ned met his wife Lauretta in 1942 and they were married at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in 1944. They enjoyed 69 years 10 months together until her passing February 1, 2014.
Ned enjoyed traveling to Reno, Europe, taking cruises, camping with family and friends and spending time at the Hoods Canal beach place having access to clams, oysters and crab. He was always there to visit with family or friends in hospitals or nursing homes.
He was always willing to lend a hand, to listen and give advice, he had integrity, he was opinionated, independent and his friendship was unconditional.
Ned drove until he was 101 1/2, attended Holy Cross Catholic Church regularly, was the oldest member of Tacoma Croation Lodge #246, oldest member of VFW Post #10018 in Tacoma and Western Washington. He was fortunate to live independently in the family home until two weeks prior to his passing. He lived life on his terms, until the end with no regrets.
Preceded in death by parents, wife Lauretta, sister Mary and all of his relatives. Survived by son Mike (Staci), daughter Diane(Roy), grandson Darrin(Melissa), granddaughter Debbie(Michael), great-grandsons Connor, Evan, Nick, Jake and Nate.
Graveside services Friday October 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm at Calvary Cemetery for family and friends. Military Honors.
Viewing on Thursday October 8, 2020 from 1-4pm at Gaffney Funeral Home.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
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