Michael Marko Kupersanin
Age 90, peacefully in his Kennerdell home surrounded by his family on Sun, May 24, 2020, "Where are you from?" "Where were your relatives born?" "How do you spell your last name?" When our dad, Michael Kupersanin, met someone new, these were the questions he'd ask, always with a wide smile and driven by boundless curiosity, which oftentimes led to more in-depth conversations. Ever the sociologist, our dad loved learning about people he encountered. A person's background, ethnicity, culture, and religion were inherently fascinating to him. He understood that each of us is a tapestry woven not only of the genes of our ancestors, but also the confluence of contributions from family, hometown, friends, food, and interests. As for our dad, he was born in 1929 to his father, Marko Kupresanin, born in Zagreb, Serbia, and his mother, Helen Zupcic, born in Pittsburgh to Croatian immigrant parents. The family lived in Imperial, PA where his father managed the company store for a mining company employing Serbian immigrants. Dad grew up speaking Serbian until he went to primary school. Shortly after graduating from High School he enlisted in the Army and served as a radio operator in the Aleutian Islands during the Korean War. Upon completing his service, he took the GI Bill to Kent State University where he met the professor who became his mentor and guided him to an undergraduate major as well as a Master's degree in Sociology, and a subsequent academic career. Significantly, his mentor also taught him to play tennis which led to a lifelong pursuit and love of the game. While a student at Kent State, he also found an outlet for his love of music; he and three fellow students formed a barbershop quartet, one of their activities as members of the Collegiates, a fraternity they helped to found at Kent State. Mike, the quartet's baritone, and Tom LaGuardia, the tenor, reconnected at a Collegiates Reunion in 2010. Their wives were also drawn to each other and the four of them enjoyed a close friendship and many fun visits together throughout Mike's final years. He began his teaching career at West Liberty University, and moved on to a position at Duquesne University while pursuing a PhD in Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh which he completed in 1980. He spent the remainder of his 30-year career on the Duquesne faculty where he was beloved by colleagues and students alike. Throughout his tenure at Duquesne, he coached the men's tennis team. He became a close friend and mentor to many of his team members who maintained contact for decades thereafter. When he was no longer able to play, Mike, for the remainder of his life, enthusiastically followed his favorite professional players throughout the year and around the world as they competed in all the major tournaments. At the beginning of our dad's tenure at Duquesne University he was single and living on the ground floor of a carriage house in Squirrel Hill. Five-year old Willie lived with his siblings and their mother Emily, on the top floor. Willie would watch for Mike to come home in his bright yellow Porsche. Eventually, Willie approached Mike and was invited in for Coke and peanuts. This became a regular tradition known as the peanut party and ultimately led to Mike and Emily meeting and marrying in November of 1968. The family then settled in Point Breeze and Evie was born in August of 1969. Mike had an enduring love for animals and the family lived with a menagerie of dogs and cats throughout the years. The cast of animal characters changed over the course of his life, but the bonds were constant. Mike was widowed in 1991. In the Fall of 1993, he met Celia. They fell in love and married in 1994. Mike spent his golden years with Celia gardening, traveling, and eventually purchasing a small Amish farm in Venango County, PA. They adopted two horses and soon added sheep, goats, and chickens. The farm was also staffed by their Australian Shepherd Mollie and five farm cats. Mike was pre-deceased by first wife, Emily Malone Kupersanin, mother to Frederica, David, Elizabeth, William, and Eve. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Celia Nourse Eatman Kupersanin. He is also survived by his son, William Kupersanin (Priscilla) and his daughter, Eve Kupersanin; as well as stepchildren, Frederica Champagne Welsh (Joe), David Champagne (Jane), Elizabeth Champagne (Peter), Laurel Sullivan (John), Heather Eatman (Heather Dawn), and Robin Eatman (Sarah Kate); and grandchildren Paula Kupersanin (Jason), Emily Kupersanin, Edith Sullivan, and Opal Sullivan. In addition, he is survived by his only sibling, younger sister Marie Holden who resides in Mesa, Arizona and by his nephews Mark Holden and Greg Holden. Arrangements by SCHPERNER-MCDERMOTT FUNERAL HOME, Crafton Determinations about a memorial service will be made at a future date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be sent to either Animal Friends at https://secure2.convio.net/animal/site/Donation21544.donation=form1&df_id=1544&mfc_pref=T or to Venango VNA Foundation at www.venangovnafoundation.org 562 Camp Horne Rd., 15237.
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