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Louise (Ljubica) Birt 98, passed away peacefully to her heavenly home on November 12, 2018 at her home in Kansas City, Missouri after a brief illness. Louise was born on 11/17/1919 in Vilika Paka, Croatia to the late Ljubica and Janko Mehelic.
Services will be held at St John the Baptist Catholic Church, 708 North 4th Street Kansas City, Kansas on Friday, November 16. Visitation from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM at the Church and with Funeral Mass at 11:AM. Interment at Mt Olivet Cemetery Kansas City, Missouri following the mass.
Louise lived a very full, exciting and sometimes heroic life. She was born at the end of WW1 and grew up as a young woman when WWII began. She found herself in situations during WWII that made a person a hero by the circumstances of the day. In the fall of 1941 two Jewish families came to her village on the Kupa River separating Croatia from Slovenia and asked for help. She sheltered the 8 family members for several days and arranged transportation in a small boat across the river into Slovenia. She often discussed the danger she put her family through but felt God had rewarded her in many ways through her life for helping these people.
She started a clothing design business in Zagreb after the war and eventually left for Vienna since it was difficult having a business in a communist country after the war. During her time in Vienna she continued to design and eventually received immigration papers to come to the United States. She settled in Kansas City with the help of relatives in the area. She worked for the Nellie Don Company for a brief period before venturing out to start her own womens clothing design business after meeting a prominent Jewish fabric owner on the plaza that helped her get customers. She won several awards for her designs including a Bill Blass Design Competition in Kansas City. She continued to design beautiful gowns, suits and dresses into her 90s. She married Maurice Birt of Kansas City in 1966 and they spent many happy years traveling with friends around the world until his death in 1996.
Louise was a founding member of the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Commission, representing the country of Croatia. The EEC now is represented by over 65 countries and Louise was proud of the fact that this organization continues to be very important in the Greater Kansas City Area. She remained active in the organization until her recent illness. Louise was a member of Global Ties formally the International Visitors Council, a proud member of Croatian Fraternal Union Lodge 35 in KCK, as well as CFU National. She was a member of The National Federation of Croatian Americans. She was a member of St. John the Baptist Church in KCK and St Johns Altar Society. She was proud of her Croatian heritage and always ready to promote this as a supporter of an event, interpreting for new immigrants or physically helping at an event. She was a great hostess and prepared some wonderful meals for many of her family and friends.
Louise was preceded in death by her parents Janko and Ljubica Mehelic, sisters Anna, Katica, Marica, and brother Joseph all of Vilika Paka, Croatia, her husband Maurice W. Birt, son-in-law Tom Patten, and many aunts and uncles in Croatia.
Louise is survived by her daughter Sherry Patten of Washington DC, step-son Larry Birt (Patricia) of Bonita Spring, Florida, a step-son Dr. Maurice Birt, (Peggy) Wheaton, Illinois. Louise was a loving grandmother to Elizabeth Koshgerian, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Dr. Brooke Patten, Washington, DC and Dr. Carolyn Patten Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trey Birt, Michael Birt, and Tyler Birt all in Chicago, Ill. And Brian Birt of Des Moines, Iowa. Louise had 6 greatgrandchildren and many niecesand nephews.
Louise had many friends that helped her along the way, Dr. Judy Vogelsang, Gary Kessler, Dr. Pam Vogelsang, Dr. Jeff Hampel, Dr. Janice Langholz, and Dr. Chris Sirridge. A special thanks to Milka Subesic and Phyllis Hampton and Father Peter Jaramillo as well.
Louise had an indelible spirit and great energy and enthusiasm for life in all that she did. She shared this energy with her many friends and to all she came in contact with. She will be remembered and sadly missed by those she touched along the way.
Memorials St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 708 North 4th St Kansas City, Kansas 66101, Strawberry Hill Museum 720 North 4th St. Kansas City, Kansas 66101.
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