Anybody remember Mike Jovica?

Photo AP
March 22: NTSB investigators, local police
and members of the sheriff department investigate
the scene of fatal plane crash outside the Butte Airport in Butte, Mont.

Anybody remember Mike Jovica?
by John Fischer

The picture on the cover of the Los Angeles Times this morning caught me as being hauntingly familiar. It was a picture of a desolate graveyard, brown grass and treeless except for a distant stand of evergreens. Neglected gravestones line a broken curb on either side of a dirt road, rutted with frozen mud. In the distance, but still within the confines of the graveyard, was a ball of flame and a plume of black smoke where a plane had just crashed killing everyone on board including 7 children.

As I mulled over this horrible tragedy, I couldn't escape something familiar about the graveyard in the foreground.

Then I saw references to the Holy Cross Cemetery and the nearby airport in Butte, Montana, and realized this was the cemetery I jogged through for three days in a row while I spoke in a hotel across the street a little over a year ago, and wrote about it in the Catch of the Day. I wondered then at the cemetery's close proximity to the runway as I watched small planes take off and land no more than a football field away. And now a plane had crashed right where I ran, putting that unlikely graveyard I thought I'd never see again on the front page of my morning newspaper.

It's the graveyard where Anna, the beloved wife of Mike Jovica, was buried in 1925, after being shot twice in the stomach by the spurned lover of their daughter Lena. How do I know this? While I was running, I had noticed a "JOVICA" headstone with Anna 1884-1925, and Mike 1866 – (no deceased date), and that had prompted thoughts of those who die homeless and unmarked.

During the ensuing days following my Butte, Montana comments, some of our Catch readers did some unsolicited research and the strange story slowly unfolded. Though we never found out where Mike ended up, we did learn how Anna died such a violent death, and how their daughter, who survived the bizarre attack, ended up eventually in San Mateo, CA.

And now this plane crash…

What do I make of this? Well, for one thing, I can't avoid writing about it—this place with its secrets that still has such a strange pull on me. Perhaps, among other things, it is the fact that the story goes on, and the things we call consequences are all potential connections. It's all intertwined. Our histories all connect, and God is the one who holds it all together. To us, so much remains a mystery. So much appears senseless, chaotic. To God, it is all woven into a tapestry of interlocking stories where no one is forgotten, and no one dies alone, especially the children.
Note: Three Familes were killed in this Montana plane crash. To read more go to:,2933,510238,00.html

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