A man from Oak Lawn celebrated his 100th birthday over the summer and today he’s being honored on Veterans Day.
Raymond Pavesic is a World War II veteran. He’s experienced two pandemics and can still drive on his own at 100-years-old.
“I’m still driving. I don’t know how much longer,” he said. “But I don’t drive too far—locally to the doctor’s office, shopping, that’s it.”
Pavesic is looking back on the memories from his time serving in World War II on this Veterans Day. The pictures he took from his tour were spread out on his kitchen table.
“I don’t regret anything. It was bad times, good times,” he said. “But here I am.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Pavesic was 22-years-old when he was drafted in 1942. He had only been married for six months when he was called to duty.
“I would write letters to friends,” he said. “They’re all gone now—everyone. I don’t have a friend left. They’re all gone after 100 years nobody lives forever.”
He went to Michigan and Wisconsin for training, then to Louisiana where he guarded German prisoners of war. He was sent to Italy and Southern France for more than two years as part of the medical service battalion.
“They put in charge after the war ended in Europe,” he said. “They put me in charge of the spare parts department. I didn’t know beans about spare parts or anything.”
He’s seen it all over the last century, from the Great Depression, presidential elections, and now COVID-19.
“The last thing I want to see is this COVID-19 cleared up, that’s what I want to see,” he said. “I never expected anything like this. I’ve seen everything and this is the ultimate right here.”
Pavesic has outlived his friends. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. He’s just grateful for the time he has left with his wife, children and grandchildren.
“Do what’s best, obey the law and love one another,” he said. “That’s what we’re missing today—love.”
Pavesic is the youngest of nine children. Three of his siblings were also in the service.