| Peter Sajevic, former coach, athletics director at St. Paul Johnson High School, dies at 91
Brig. Gen. Peter J. Sajevic, the former athletics director at St. Paul Johnson High School and president of the National Guard Association, died Saturday, Nov. 3, at Waverly Gardens in North Oaks. He was 91.
His son, John Sajevic, said that his father was a very social person who impacted many people -- in the military and as a coach.
"The recurring theme is that when responsibility was put in front of him, he always stepped up to it," John Sajevic said. "He was somebody people could rely on."
Sajevic was born on July 27, 1921, and was raised in Chisholm, Minn. He graduated from Colorado A&M, now Colorado State University. Sajevic was captain of the basketball team.
In 1943, he left school to enlist in the military and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in World War II as a field artillery officer in the Marine Corps. He served at the Battle of Iwo Jima as a platoon leader.
"He was somebody who loved assisting people as a leader," John Sajevic said. "He was old-fashioned, and that's consistent with his military background."
After coming home and completing his degree, Sajevic was teacher for the next 35 years -- 26 of them spent at Johnson High School in St. Paul. There, he was the track, gymnastics, basketball and football coach. He also was the athletics director.
In 1953, Sajevic transferred from the Marine Corps Reserves to the Minnesota Army National Guard. In 1976, he retired as the 47th Infantry Division artillery commander and was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Minnesota Medal for Merit and the Presidential Unit Citation for his service at Iwo Jima. Sajevic also was president of the National Guard Association.
In his retirement, Sajevic was an avid golfer, a "life master" bridge player and was president of the men's club at St. Louis Catholic Church.
"He was a well-rounded individual," his son said. "Through sports, playing bridge and traveling with his wife, they were really able to touch a lot of lives."
Sajevic is survived by his wife of 68 years, Florence; six children; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, with visitation at 9 a.m. at Holcomb-Henry-Boom-Purcell Funeral Home, 515 Minnesota 96 W. in Shoreview.
Interment will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
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