MARTIN T. LISAC age 84, beloved husband for 60 years of Mimi (nee Straus); loving father of Simone, Nadine Heithaus (husband Kirk), Martin (wife Rhonda), and Suzane; devoted grandfather of Matthew and Benjamin Heithaus, Owen, Ella, and Anna Lisac; cherished son of the late Matija and Alojzia (nee Racki) Lisac; dearest brother of the late Matija, Ivan, and Lojze; dear uncle and friend of many.
Martin was born in the village of Slavski Las, Slovenia. This is on the Croatian border of what used to be Yugoslavia. After grade school at the age of 14 he left home to go to a mechanical trade school in Rijeka, Croatia. After trade school and apprenticeship, he worked as a journeyman mechanic. Along with two friends, he escaped communism and the political climate after WWII on foot over the border into Italy for a better life.
They went through Italy and ended up in the south of France, where he worked for a bit picking jasmine flowers, evading the French foreign legion and making it to Paris. With jobs scarce, he became a laborer on a construction project and then worked as a mechanic for three years, becoming chief mechanic while waiting for his visa to the United States in 1961.
He was sponsored by his aunt and cousin in Cleveland and worked as a mechanic for a VW dealership. He met his wife Mimi while they both were attending school to learn English and they married in 1963. With only $170 of capital and his tools, his wife working at the supermarket, he founded Euclid Foreign Motors in a rented garage. After two years, he was able to buy a building and add a two-story garage as body shop. In 1972, Euclid Foreign Motors expanded again with wholesale importing of automotive parts and tires. Over the 50 plus years in business, he employed, inspired and mentored hundreds of people. He expected everyone to work as hard as he did and had very high expectations and let you know if more was needed.
Martin was always learning something new to master and worked as hard at business as he did enjoying his family, grandchildren, friends and hobbies. Fluent in 6 languages, he also loved poetry, farming, beekeeping, maple syrup making, hunting, fishing, snow skiing, travel and creating sculpture. He embraced the American way while still keeping Slovenian traditions and events (ex. Lickanje-corn husking, buckwheat harvesting, wedding dowry procession and lamb roasts)
His love of life, passion, drive, stubborn determination and not taking “no” for an answer lasted even while in his hospice bed fighting Parkinson’s.
He had a life full of adventures and stories that could fill many a book. He will be missed and is an inspiration to live life to the fullest and always strive to keep learning something new.
Contributions may be made in memory of Martin to Hospice of the Western Reserve, P.O. Box 72101, Cleveland, OH 44192 or or Parkinson.org.
Mass of Christian Burial Friday, June 4, 2021 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 19951 Lakeshore Blvd, Euclid, OH 44119 at 10 AM.
Meet at Church.
Burial following at All Souls Cemetery.
Family will receive friends to pay tribute to and celebrate the life of Martin at THE ZEVNIK-COSIC FUNERAL HOME OF WILLOUGHBY HILLS, 28890 CHARDON ROAD (between Bishop Rd. and Rt. 91) THURSDAY 4-8 PM.
Charity Name: HOSPICE OF THE WESTERN RESERVE INC
Charity EIN: 341256377