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Restaurateur Marie Cerovac Karlovich dished up kindness

| Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010

It was always service with a smile at the former Karlo's Restaurant in Whitehall, even if you were down on your luck and needed a hot meal.

"My mother never looked down on anyone who couldn't help themselves and was hungry," said her daughter, Judith Linaburg of Mt. Lebanon.

Marie Cerovac Karlovich of Overbrook, former owner of Karlo's Restaurant, died on Monday, Aug. 23, 2010, in Norbert Residential Care in Overbrook. She was 88.

"If my mother heard that there was an indigent family that was confined, we would deliver a hot meal to that family," her daughter said. "And she would continue to help them until they got back on their feet."

Born and raised in Castle Shannon, Marie Cerovac was one of seven children in the family of machinist Nicholas Cerovac and his wife, Mary Baloga Cerovac.

She picked up her cooking and baking skills from her mother. Like her mother, she made baked goods to help raise funds for her church, Linaburg said.

"Reaching out to help others has been a trait of the Cerovac family dating back to my grandparents, Nicholas and Mary," Linaburg said.

Following her graduation from South Hills High School, she was employed in defense work with Westinghouse Corp. during World War II.

In 1945, she married John Karlovich, a resident of the South Side, who was serving in the Army Air Corps and home on furlough.

"My parents eventually moved to Overbrook where they built their home, and Mom, with the exception of operating her restaurant in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, stayed home to raise my brother and me.

"My brother, John, and I never forgot the lessons we learned from our parents and grandparents. And even when we went out on our own, we continued the family tradition" of helping others, Linaburg said.

In addition to her daughter, Judith, Mrs. Karlovich is survived by her son, John N. Karlovich of Washington, Pa.; brothers, Nick Cerovac of Bethel Park and John Cerovac of San Francisco; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John, and siblings Katherine Panian, Mildred Cero, Ethel Brickett and Rose Cleary.

A blessing service will be held at 10 a.m. today in the Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home Inc., 301 Curry Hollow Road, Pleasant Hills.

Interment will follow in Jefferson Memorial Park.

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