IN LOVING MEMORY
Nevenka Evelyn Mitra
1927 - 2021
Nevenka Evelyn Mitra passed away from breakthrough COVID pneumonia on August 19th, 2021. She is survived by her 3 sons Avick, Aalok Mark and wife Diane, and Robin Arun and wife Melanie. She was the loving grandmother to Elaine and Ryne Mitra and Michael Hodges. She is also survived by Elvidina (“Dinka”) Fific, who became the daughter she never had; Evo and Budimir Zvolanek; Boyana Konforti and Fedor Capek. Her husband and life’s partner Arun K. Mitra and her brother Veljko Zvolanek passed away in 2003 and 2002, respectively.
Nevenka was born January 15, 1927 in Sharon, PA. She was 1 of 2 children born to parents Karl and Stefany Zvolanek. Tragically, Nevenka’s father Karl died in a kitchen fire when she and older brother Veljko were very young. The family moved back to Zagreb Croatia soon after his death. She graduated high school in Zagreb and began her studies at Charles University in Prague. After the end of World War 2, Nevenka decided to escape the threat of communism and established citizenship in America. She moved to St. Louis where she began working in a factory while also continuing her education in night classes at Washington University. Nevenka met Arun at a foreign student function at Washington University and they married in 1951.
Family was very important to Nevenka; creating a nurturing and caring home environment, enriched by close friends and family, was her constant focus. She gave of herself without reservation to her 3 sons, to her grandchildren, to numerous friends, and to less fortunate strangers who needed support. Her greatest enjoyment in life came from seeing her sons and her grandchildren flourish and find happiness in their lives. Nevenka loved music, dance, and the arts; she pushed husband Arun out of his chair onto the dance floor on more than one occasion! Nevenka was a great cook; she loved to cook and treat her friends and family to a wide variety of international dishes. Nevenka continued to spread her zest for life to others until her passing.
Professionally, Nevenka earned a BS in Biology from Washington University. While raising her 3 sons, Nevenka returned to her studies and received a Masters Degree in Russian language. She taught Russian at the high school and college level for many years. True to her passion for supporting the underdog, she also served as a translator in organizations that helped Russian and Bosnian immigrants assimilate and find employment in St. Louis.
Nevenka and Arun were passionate supporters of the underdog and were politically and socially active throughout their lives. Among the many causes close to their hearts were the Civil Rights Movement, supporting war relief efforts in Croatia and Bosnia, Doctors Without Borders, the Lentz International Peace Foundation, the plight of Native American Indians, and protesting the Vietnam war.
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