Nick Buzolich Sr.

Nicholas Anthony Buzolich Sr.  1918 - 2003My Grandfather, Nicholas Anthony Buzolich Sr., passed away last Tuesday at his home in Irvine, California. My Dad said, “His big heart finally gave out on his big body.” He was born 3 October 1918.

When I’d ask him where his parents were from, he first said Yugoslavia, then more specifically an island off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. Now when I think about it, the country his parents left to come to America from what was then part of Austria, and he came before and lived longer than Yugoslavia.

I’ll never forget we he took me fishing, long before I learned the value of quiet reflection. On my fifth or sixth birthday, he showed up having shaved his beard…I didn’t recognize him.

I remember building a glider airplane and him laughing at how I’d pick up the glue. He taught me how to walk up a steep hill with my feet turned perpendicular to the slope so I could clean the spiders out of the sprinkler heads in their backyard.

At 6’6″ tall, he towered over the basketball players of his generation. When I passed my Dad’s 6’2″ height, we would joke that height obviously skips generations.

Sara asked my Grandmother on Sunday where they went on their honeymoon. She replied, “The Northeast.” My Grandfather was on the professional tennis tour which took them around New York and New England after their wedding.

He will arrive in Heaven sailing a Sunfish, probably the one he built himself.

From the Orange County Register:

Nicholas Buzolich, 84, of Irvine, a high school teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District, died Feb. 25, 2003, of natural causes.

Nick on the Web:

* All-America Basketball at Pepperdine: 1944, 1946
* All-America Tennis at Pepperdine: 1945, 1946
* Athletics Hall of Fame at Pepperdine: inducted 1980
* Plaque on the San Pedro, CA SportsWalk for Basketball and Tennis
* Highest Scoring Average in 1944 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Scoring 22.5 ppg (45 of Pepperdine’s 85 total points.)
* Member of Harbor Soaring Society where you can find Nick’s Views

8 Replies to “Nick Buzolich Sr.”

  1. Sorry to hear it Thad. I had no idea Nick was such an acomplished athlete! I guess that’s where you get it from.

  2. I didn’t know him long but he certainly made an impression on me as quite a charming guy. I’m sure my grandfathers are welcoming him to their sailboat with some good German beer.

  3. I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Buzolich’s passing. He was my high school gym teacher at Birmingham, but also much more. We became friends, even when I continued to college. We took photos together at Vasquez Rocks. He taught me how to use his B&H 16mm movie camera. He was a man of many interests, and opened his heart to others. I think of him still, from time to time, with only the fondest of regard.

  4. August 16, 2007

    I can’t believe it! Nick Buzolich Sr passed away four years ago. I was doing a story on the San Pedro Sportswalk and ran across my friend Nick Buzolich’s name and to this website. When we inducted him into the Sportswalk, another friend and I went down to Irvine and interviewed him. Later, he came to San Pedro over to my house and had a great chat.

    I wrote a long long story about him and his achievements at San Pedro High School and Pepperdine University.
    I still have it.

    We tried to track Nick down a couple of years ago for a follow-up story. No luck.

    Hopefully, someone can give him my phone number 310-548-6189 or e-mail addresss


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