Svetlana (Lana) was born the fifth and youngest of five children to Dobrinka Nikodiljevic and Tomislav Jovcic, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, now Serbia, on October 24,1935. Her four siblings all preceded her in death.
Svetlana was a talented ballerina, piano player, singer and a gifted linguist who spoke seven languages. She was a member of the national choir and the ballet company in Belgrade performing at the National theater and traveled with her troupes to the Soviet Union at a young age.
She married Aleksandar Stojsic on September 28, 1958. This union produced two daughters, Tijana and Aleksandra. She and Aleks lived in Belgrade, Bosnia and briefly in Minnesota, USA, before the family of four moved to Zambia in 1970 where they lived between two mining towns, Chingola and Kitwe, for six years, followed by a move to Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1976, which required a 7 month stay in Selebi Phikwe, Botswana, to obtain a residency permit for South Africa. Following two years in Johannesburg, the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, July 1978, where Svetlana remained until her passing.
Svetlana contributed to each of her hometowns in Bosnia and Zambia by teaching languages, grade school subjects and piano. Their years in Africa were filled with adventure locally, regionally and internationally. The family traveled extensively throughout central/southern Africa, to South America and Asia. Her greatest joy however, was entertaining. Svetlana was a gracious host and a natural entertainer, and their home was constantly filled with friends and music.
After settling in Salt Lake City, Svetlana became a travel agent, putting her worldly knowledge to work at Skyways Travel and subsequently Dyer’s Travel, and continuing her own adventures, she and Aleks visited places in every inhabitable continent. Finally, playing bridge and her grandchildren became Svetlana’s favorite pastimes. She was a formidable bridge player demonstrated in her achievement of Gold Life Master, and found a wonderful community of lifelong friends here.
Svetlana was happiest when there was music playing, and she was surrounded by people, she was the life of any party, singing and dancing until the lights went out.. The quote that sums up her spirit was shared by her (our) dear, long time friend from Africa, Bernice Schwartz: “I will always remember her in Israel dancing on the table at a night club the night before Gary’s wedding”.
Svetlana passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, after struggling with vascular dementia. She is survived by her daughters, Tijana (Paul) Hamilton, Aleksandra (Bjorn) Stojsic Espenes, and her four beautiful grandchildren, Teague Hamilton, Kira Hamilton, Abigail Stojsic Espenes and Ella Stojsic Espenes.
A private service was held by the family on July 25, 2022. Friends and family will be invited to a celebration of life later in the year.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of your choice.