Sabina Baresic

sabina baresic

September 21, 1953 ~ August 17, 2023

Baresic, Sabina, nee:Lustica, age 69, of Lodi, passed away on Thursday August 17, 2023. Born on September 21, 1953 in Poljana, Croatia to the late Ferdinand and Anka (nee:Mihatov) Lustica. Loving mother to Jerry and Christian Baresic, adoring aunt to Lauren, Silvia, Sebastian and Julian, and cherished sister to Silvo and Lucille Lustica, Sabina was a kind hearted and generous person who dedicated herself to prayer, faith, charity, and cultivating a warm home for her loved ones. She prayed for strangers and relatives alike, practiced the art of tithing, and did her best to make the world a better place. The love in her heart and the ways in which she showed it never wavered even through the most trying of times. With a sweet tooth unlike any other, Sabina’s unrivaled baking talents consistently delivered confectionary masterpieces such as cheesecake, tiramisu, apple pie, biscotti, and a variety of muffins. The family will receive their friends and relatives on Tuesday from 4-8pm at the Frank A. Patti and Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home 327 Main Street “opposite the Fort Lee Library”. Prayer service at the funeral home on Wednesday at 10:30am. For condolences, directions, or information or call (201) 944-0100.


Funeral Service: August 23, 2023 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Visitation: August 22, 2023 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Interment: August 23, 2023 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

Hillside Cemetery
742 Rutherford Avenue
Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

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Memories Timeline


  1. Thank you to everyone whether it be friends, family members or even the numerous strangers that touched us and were supportive of our family and my mothers battle with cancer over the last 2 years. Your kind gestures, efforts on our behalf, shows of support and concern, and genuine compassion for what she had to struggle through is truly a beautiful thing and we are grateful for it and to have had you in our lives.
    I want to give an extra special thank you to my brother Christian for moving back to NJ from Oregon to help care for mom during the last almost year and a half. He took over the lionshare of care taking responsibilities and doctor visits while I had to move out to Pa for a career change before I was able to move back to NJ in April. He continued on shouldering the lionshare of the care taking responsibilits as they continued to mount over the last few months. He was instrumental in all of our care for mom and he did a fantastic job. Well done Christian.
    I want to give an enormous thank you to my uncle Silvo and aunt Lucille for all the support they gave myself and my brother Christian and for all the time they spent with mom at the hospital when Christian and I were not there, and for all the meals they cooked and brought for mom when she was spending so many weeks at the hospital.
    I am grateful for Johanna and Brett Liquori and how they were able to work on our familys behalf to get us in contact with Temple Beth Israel and their Pastors and Ministers to deliver last rights, prayers, as well as delivering Minister Bob to perform todays funeral service to best support moms wishes.
    I am grateful for being fortunate enough to have been positioned in life to have been able to find a wonderful place to live in, and to have moved my mother in with me and housed her and my brother while he lived with us playing a pivotal role in helping to take care of mom these final few months. This ensured us the ability to take care of her and provide her with the warmth and comfort of a home when she was at her sickest.
    I am grateful for the doctors, nurses, and hospice staff that truly were invested in my mothers outcome and went the extra mile to deliver everything and anything they could to help her. Some even bent rules for us and I am extremely grateful for it as they helped to ease my mothers pain at her most painful moments.
    I am grateful for the last two years. Not because she got cancer but because of the 1.5 years more that I got with her than most other families get. In these last two years I felt our relationship grow a lot. and I am so thankful for that , and being able to show her that she is loved.
    I am grateful for maybe the best thing that I could have given my mother throughout this entire ordeal. When she was first diagnosed I came to her aid and formed a plan of attack and mentally coached her through how to navigate this thing. My mother expressed to me that for the very first time in her entire life she felt that she didn’t have to worry for herself. That she could lean on me and that she would be safe with me by her side. I AM SO SO GRATEFUL to have given her that peace of mind at her biggest time of need.
    I am grateful that in her last week on earth that she was released from the hospital to the peace and comforts of home to live out her final days.
    I am grateful that my brother was there next to her as she took her last breaths so as not to die alone with no one at her side.
    There is a saying that you don’t pick your relatives but you choose your family. I am grateful for the close friends that I have whom act as an extension of family but whom I truly consider family.
    I am grateful for my immediate family whom I consider to be my mother, uncle Silvo, Aunt Lucille, Cousin Lauren, Cousin Silvia, and Cousins Laurens Husband Robbie and their children Sebastion and Julian.
    I am grateful for the man I have become and continue to evolve and mature into, and I have my mother to thank entirely for that.
    I am grateful for the mother that I had, who walked through all the fires that she walked through for Christian and I, for the unmeasurable amount of love that she had for us, and for the example she has set for us, and for person that she is.


    As for my Eulogy I will begin by thanking everyone who was able to come support our family over the last two days. These types of events mean different things to different people. To some it is about showing support for the family members, to others it is about honoring the deceased, and some see it as all of the above. To me this day is about honoring my mother Sabina Baresic. I say this because some of you may know her, and some of you may not know her well, and some may not have known her at all. So the question is how do you honor someone whom you don’t know well, or know at all? Im not sure that you can. Like many things in life in order to truly understand anything, context and nuance are paramount. So in order to properly honor her, it is imperative for me to provide that context to you.
    My mother walked a very difficult path in life, which began with a mentally abusive mother and a less than desirable childhood. She didn’t even meet her father until she was 12 years old when she first arrived in the USA from Croatia ( Up to that point her entire life her father was here in the USA working to provide for the family who was living back home in Croatia). In a rare bright spot she was blessed to have had a great relationship with her father once she finally met him. She loved him dearly. In her next stage in life she got married to a callous, abusive, and demented man and endured 25 years of marriage to him. One of his many transgressions against her was him wishing her to get cancer on numerous occasions…well he got his wish……When enough was finally enough she left him, and entered the next stage of her life. She did this with no formal skillset or career path to monetize to provide for herself and my brother. She received no alimony. She received no child support. She worked two jobs 7 days a week for two years to be able to provide for herself and Christian ( I was already out of the house living in PA trying to make my own way). Not only did she work those two jobs but after work she made sure to come home and cook my brother meals every single night before she let herself go to bed. After two years she was finally able to scale back and only had to work one job 6 days a week and sometimes 7 days a week to make a living. During her tenure at that job she endured harsh working conditions under numerous nasty managers and hostile coworkers for many years and never for high wages. Finally in her last stage of life she was stricken with pancreatic cancer and had a two year long battle before succumbing to the disease. I will not get too deep into just how awful the last two years were but I will summarize it by saying that it took everything from her in a slow motion train wreck where every couple months something new was taken from her whether it be her sense of taste to enjoy food, being able to walk, the ability to speak, or even the ability to swallow water in the final stage…..
    As I touched upon earlier the abuse my mother took in her childhood conditioned her to live in a perpetual state of fear and disrupted confidence. I say this to drive home my next point. The true measure of courage is not to move forward in the absence of fear, but to move forward right through the face of fear. If you subscribe to that definition of courage then my mother displayed an unmeasurable amount of courage throughout her life.
    Some of you may be asking yourself how/where was she able to generate such strength to endure a never ending life of hardships? Her relationship with God, and her two children are entirely what she lived for. Those two things were the conduits through which she generated all of her strength. That strength is what enabled her to navigate and overcome a life filled with hardships. She was very close to god, and god was a major part of her entire life, but she lived entirely for my brother and I. When I say she did everything for us this is not hyperbole, she truly lived for her children.
    Despite a lifetime of trials and tribulations my mother never ever lost her sense of compassion for others. In fact I ponder if her difficulties made her more compassionate as her life went on. We are a family of meager monetary and material means, relatively speaking that is. By Bergen county standards we are very meager, but by global standards we are wealthy and fortunate. We had our health, food, water, heat, and each other unlike so many others on this planet. I am quite certain that her sense of humility provided her with the necessary perspective forming the engine that drove her generosity to all of those less fortunate than her. But even though my mother broke her back working some miserable jobs for low pay, her sense of compassion for others never waned. So much so in fact that for years she repeatedly and consistently gave money to charities every single month. I only recently learned about this a few weeks ago when I was granted power of attorney and I got insight into her financial statements and learned for years she had been giving to those in need. I want to stress that she was not well off and had little left to give to others but she made consistent significant donations monthly. She gave to so many charities. This list is not exhaustive but it gives you an idea of how much compassion she had for others. She gave to: Susan B Anthony List, American Bible Society, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Feed the Children, Community Food Bank of NJ, The Bowery Mission, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Smile Train, Covenant House, and Prison Fellowship / Angel Tree.
    I ask you, how many of you would have found it in their heart to give so much when you have so little to give?

    Quite possibly the greatest joy in my mothers life were children. She absolutely loved loved children and had a special place in her heart for them. Unsurprisingly Moms 3 favorite charities were Smile Train, Feed the Children, and Shriners Hospitals as they all focus on children in need. My mother always asked me about all my friends children and how they were doing and not merely to make conversation but because she truly was concerned about their well being and hoped for a great healthy happy life for them. I also recently found out from my mothers neighbors that their grand children would come to my mothers apartment sometimes if they got locked out and had to await their grandmothers arrival to let them in. Unsurprisingly they always left moms apartment with a full belly and didn’t want to eat what their grandmother cooked for them later on. The amount of love and concern she had for children whether they be strangers, or those whom are dear to her, is a testament to the kind soul and warmhearted benevolent person she is.

    In todays world there is a concept of “love languages” which refers to how someone shows love to people. There are numerous types of love languages, physical touch, kind words, gift giving, acts of service,,,,etc… Anyone whom knows anything about my family and especially my mother knows her love language overwhelmingly was FOOD. And good food at that. She was a great cook and was always happy to make someone a nice meal and share it with them. Just ask the neighbors grandkids…. She never let me visit without making me a meal and sending me home with no less than 3 more meals. But as good a cook as she was, her baking was truly masterful. Her tiramisu, homemade biscotti, ny style and Italian style cheese cakes, pudding, apple pie, peach cobbler to name only a few were absolutely magnificent. While skill absolutely played the biggest part in all of her culinary delights, LOVE was the secret ingredient that truly made them all over the top delicious. Her love of the kitchen, her love of the skill, her love of the mastery and attention to detail involved, the precision and nuance that took things from good to great, her love of food, but most of all her love for whom she was making it all for. In some of her final most impressive acts of love, for mothers day this year my mother was already very sick from the cancer and was fatigued constantly. She had not been able to cook, I mean really cook like she normally could for a few weeks already. But on Mothers day of this year she insisted to cook for my brother and myself. This was never our mothers day tradition we always took mom out or cooked her a really nice meal. But this year she insisted to cook for us and she made a fantastic meal for us. Im positive she fought through a mountain of fatigue and discomfort (even though she insisted she was fine) to show us her love in what I suspect she thought would be one of her last acts of love that she would be able to do with the time she had remaining. Mothers Day this year was May 14. Then a few weeks later when she was even more beat up on my birthday July 1 she mustered the strength to make me, Christian and her a traditional delicious meal to celebrate my birthday. This was the final time she cooked anything and my god was food her love language. Again I ask you how many of you would have been able to do the same?
    My mother was also a person of tremendous faith. She had a very close relationship to god her entire life. I want to quickly examine the expression of “being a person of faith” as Im not sure we ever truly think about what that really means. Faith, true faith is about remaining steadfast in your beliefs despite the absence of any proof.. My mother was raised Catholic but became estranged from the church I think sometime in her 50s due to the Church’s numerous child abuse scandals and corruption. Her love for children was too much to bear to continue to support the church as an institution, however she still kept her relationship with god. She prayed daily numerous times, read the bible often, memorized Psalms etc… Through all of the hardship she encountered time and again over her entire life she continued to have faith, true faith as I have defined it. I ask you how many of you would have been able to do the same?

    Often times our greatest strength also doubles as our greatest weakness. My mother was extremely determined, which is another way of saying she was extremely stubborn. I say this with a hint of levity but also a ton of truth. My mother has overcome all odds in every aspect of her life and she has her determination to thank for it. So let that be a lesson to those parents out there whom complain about their children being stubborn. You don’t have to worry about them…..they have the tools to get things done. All they need is your guidance on how to channel the energy correctly. Its much easier to learn how to sharpen the saw, than it is to go have to find one.
    I share all of this not to bring anyone down but to help illustrate my mothers strength of character. The more I think about it, and reflect on her and her life, and how she continued to conduct herself throughout her entire life, she is the personification what character truly is. She always stayed true to whom she was despite having all the reasons or excuses so many of us would use to let lifes hard times get to us. She has become my inspiration, and how she conducted herself is what I will draw upon when I run into difficulties in this life, as we all know that we inevitably will. As I said before, my mother has overcome all odds in every aspect of her life and her strength of character is to thank for it. There is an outstanding quote by Helen Keller that I would like to share with you as I think it really captures my mothers life and character. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved”. If you subscribe to what Helen Keller said then you can only begin to understand why I hold my mothers character in such high regard.

    To remain steadfast in her faith and relationship with god through the myriad of obstacles in the gauntlet of the life she lived. This is success
    Despite not knowing her father until she was 12 years old and growing up with an abusive mother she became a highly functional adult and a great compassionate, friendly, and warm human being, and an even better mother. This is success
    To not only remain compassionate throughout a life like hers, but to have her compassion for others only grow as life continued to throw her lemons. This is success
    To not become hardened, nasty, or bitter despite a life full of tribulations that just didn’t seem fair. This is success
    To battle with pancreatic cancer for 2 full years when most patients succumb to the disease within 6 months or less. This is success
    To make her own way after leaving a dysfunctional marriage with no real job prospects, no alimony, no child support. This is success
    I could go on and on about her success but I will close with “Sabina Baresic is an overwhelming success in life, as a person, and especially as a mother and she will be dearly missed”. It is my honor to say that you are my mother, I love you very much, and thank you for everything that you have done for us.
    Your son Jerry

  2. Hi everyone. I want to thank you for being here to help honor and recognize my mom, Sabina Baresic. To begin this eulogy, I will be starting with a short parable that was found in one of my mom’s drawers. Please keep this parable’s message in mind as we move into acknowledging and appreciating one of my mom’s greatest qualities:

    One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints. Other times there was one set or prints.

    This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints. So I said to the Lord, “You promised me, Lord, that if I followed You, You would walk with me always. But I noticed that during the most trying periods of my life, there was only one set of prints in the sand. Why, when I have needed You most, have You abandoned me?”

    The Lord replied, “My Child, I love you and would never leave you. The times when you have seen only one set of footprints are the times when I carried you”.

    When I first read this I almost began to cry. The message speaks deeply to the ebb and flow of mom’s experiences in life, some of which Jerry touched on during his eulogy. What I find most remarkable about my mom was her unwavering faith in God and Jesus Christ even in the throes of her most challenging times. Church, prayer, and Bible verses are what kept her going. There are a few examples I’d like to share that illustrate the power of her faith.

    First was getting away from an unfulfilling marriage. After 25 long years, she seized an opportunity to leave my father following a particularly ugly argument. She went on to live another twenty years in relative peace after their separation. I remember her telling me there was a particular moment during that marriage, a low point shall we say, in which she felt undesirable, shameful even, in the presence of a customer service associate at one of the local grocery stores. This person treated her with the utmost respect, restoring her dignity with a kind smile and genuine cheerfulness; there was not an inkling of judgment throughout the interaction. That person was an angel put in her path who gave her something she remembered for the remainder of her life.

    Next example. Sometime around 2015 she lost her job at ShopRite after making a costly mistake. When she told me about what happened, I distinctly recall her saying something similar to the phrase “everything happens for a reason”. She was subsequently hired at a different Shoprite a few weeks later for the same position – her starting pay was a couple dollars above what she was making previously.

    A couple years after that she encountered a situation in which someone was planning to sue her. Backing out of a space in a parking lot, she bumped into an old man. To my understanding he was not injured beyond, perhaps, a bruise. This person hired an attorney with the intent to sue my mom for as much as he could get. Much to our family’s relief, he was offered a settlement and took it.

    The final examples come after her pancreatic cancer diagnosis. On at least two occasions, she found heart-shaped jewelry when out and about in the community. She saved them and even took a picture to use as her phone’s background, perhaps as a reminder that there exists love in her life. There were a number of occasions in which she saw a rainbow – more than she’d seen in all the previous years combined. This was also meaningful to her. In the last couple months, my brother and I did our best to care for her, and our aunt, uncle and cousins helped raise her spirits while providing support to the two of us.

    In perhaps the greatest example of her faith, just days before her passing, a pastor came to speak with her. She had confided in us that she had felt distance from God ever since going to the hospital in March of 2023, the month when her health took a turn. In her words, she didn’t understand why, and did not feel angry with God, yet she was not engaging in prayer or reading Bible verses or psalms nearly as much. This was uncharacteristic of her. Upon Pastor Matt’s arrival, he asked if she would like to be born again, to which she acquiesced. He said a lengthy prayer with her, and by the end she flashed a genuine smile as he pronounced her born again. A few minutes after he’d gone, she had her eyes on the ceiling. With all her strength she raised her right hand, pointing across the room at the ceiling and said her final words “gold chain, hanging”. Neither me nor Jerry saw a gold chain. According to the Bible and Christian doctrine, symbolism of the gold chain is such: “Each link is connected to the other in such a way as to form an unbreakable chain that ought to encourage the believer and bring tremendous comfort to any weary Christian soul”. Without question, her faith was so strong that despite feeling distance between her and God, she believed in the possibility of reconnecting.

    Over the past couple months I have given thought to my mom’s legacy, and after writing this eulogy, it is fair to say that her greatest legacy is one of faith. She has given the gift of faith to all those who have received her generosity, and to all of us standing here today who have heard her inspiring story. Although some may call it luck, good fortune, or even fate, Sabina’s life is proof that faith is essential, in whatever form it comes. May each of you find and maintain your faith, for that is what Sabina would want for us all.

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