January 4, 2023
Paul “Puda” Vuckovich, 96, of White City, Ill., died Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022. He was the youngest son of the late Milo “Mike” Vuckovich and Eka Struga; and beloved brother to Nickola “Nick” Vuckovich, who preceded him in death in 2012.
Puda was born on July 2, 1926. He spent much of his youth in White City, making a name for himself playing baseball. He captured the attention of many notable leagues, one coach writing, “Puda was the best hitter I ever saw.” Most say he was destined for the St. Louis Cardinals.In the 1950s, Puda’s ambitions drew him to the city of Chicago. There he worked for the steel mills as a laborer, living among other young, hardworking men. Many of his co-residents were immigrants, or first-generation Americans, like himself, who were building a new life and reputation. Puda told stories of eventually running his own bar on the southside of Chicago for a time.
When he returned home to Macoupin County, he opened the famous “Puda’s Tavern” on Main Street in White City. He filled the tavern with good company and countless memories, touching the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing him.
Puda was preceded in death by his parents and brother. He is survived by his very close friends, Mary Lou Horne of Staunton, Todd Horne and James and Emily Horne of Staunton; and his grandchildren, Barrett, Madaline, Grayson, Elijah and Charlotte.
Funeral services were held Saturday, Dec. 31, at Becker and Son Funeral Home in Mt. Olive with Father Ljubomir Kristic officiating. Burial was in Union Miners Cemetery with military honors presented by the Mt. Olive VFW.
Memorials are suggested to Benld Adopt-A-Pet or Union Miners Cemetery. Condolences may be left online at beckerand son.com.