John Michael Dodig, April 4, 1945 – November 24,2022, was born in Kansas City, KS in the heart of the Strawberry Hill neighborhood to Bronco and Frances (Horvat) Dodig. John went by many names throughout his lifetime, John, John Michael, Ralph, Crazy Ralph, The Crazy Croatian, UJ, to name a few.
John Michael excelled at both sports and academics at Maur Hill Prep School. He received an athletic scholarship to play football at Kansas State University where he suffered an injury ending his football and academic stint. JM worked various odd jobs until he decided to return to college at the University of Oklahoma. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and a master’s degree in Architecture. JM went on to have a successful career in architecture where he help produce award-winning projects and works on four different continents.
JM decided to get out of the rat race of the professional world and begin a career as an artist. This endeavor led him to live in many locations across the country. He opened an Art gallery in North Hollywood as well as a studio, gallery and restaurant in Playas de Tijauna. As his first year as an artist, he created over 125 piece and had 14 shows. He loved telling the story how he was about ran out of Las Vegas on a rail because his art show brought in much protest. JM used his art as a form of therapy to heal from past experiences.
JM’s self-proclaimed greatest accomplishment was “discovering my grandfather’s home and birthplace in Kunic, [Croatia], as well as, working in the same vineyards he did as a boy…. Most of all, wading and sitting in the Kupa River, as Janko had done as a boy, and thanking him for his long journey which allowed me to have so many wonderful opportunities in the USA. In a way, I took him back home and completed the highway in both directions, so that others if they chose, could discover who they are and where they came from.”
JM was an avid storyteller. He loved to share his life experiences with others. Some of his favorite stories to recount were his travels to the “home country,” fun times on the Hill and working at Sammy’s. He liked to focus on the good memories with family and friends.
JM is survived by his sisters Lorraine Rogers, Fairway, KS, Pat Fluker, Dallas TX and many nieces, nephews, and friends he considered family. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Donna Paulakovich, Kathleen (Cassie) Baska, Margaret Pritchard, and brother Stephen Dodig.
John Michael is being cremated and a private interment will be held at a later date.