Ivancica “Ina” Efthimiou
Ina, our lovely, energetic, positive, and vivacious matriarch passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones on September 30th 2022. She battled heroically stage 4 colon cancer at an untimely age of 46 when she was first diagnosed early ‘21. Ina, Ivančica Efthimiou, leaves behind her husband John Michael Efthimiou, and their 2 children Michelle and Peter, her brother Zoran Jurkovic and his wife Asmira and their son Adrian, and sister-in law Elizabeth Efthimiou. Ina was born in Zagreb June 16th, 1974 to Ivan and Zorica Jurkovic, both rest in peace and sadly Ina is with her parents now watching over us. Ina was such a well-respected woman that her absence is devastating. Ina wanted us all to be positive and live day by day to the fullest.
Service arrangements at Farenga Funeral Home are being finalized and we will update you shortly.
Visitation are between 4PM-8PM this Thursday October 6th.
Ina wasn’t too fond of flowers, but loved her kids and their athletics and academics. Ina believed that any hard-earned money if used at all for her services or memory, should be contributed instead to her children’s academics. A GoFundMe page is setup for Michelle and Peter.
Ina Ivančica Efthimiou Eulogy,
June 16th, 1974 – September 30th, 2022
by her beloved husband, John Michael Efthimiou
Ina, born Ivančica, a daisy flower in Croatian, although not very fond of flowers, exuded a magnificent luminescence, Ina was our sunshine, and we were her flower bed. Ina’s every action illuminated our lives and provided us with the resolute action and motivation to prevail over any adversity or any challenge.
Ina was inclusive, she embraced all walks of life, not a discriminatory bone in her existence, all ethnicities, races, religions and sexes were respected, in fact she was a new creed, a transcending global humanist. And as her work and colleagues and part of our family are Croatian, Bosnian, Greek, Israeli, Catholic, Orthodox, Moslim and Jewish, we were reminded by our Jewish family and colleagues that Ina passed during the holiest time of year and in the Jewish tradition, anyone that passes away during this time is considered the most righteous and innocent of people on earth.
Ina was sporty, intelligent, vivacious and most of all she was a loving dynamo, irradiating energy and life force in every breath she took.
Ina entered my life 25 years ago this month, October 1997. Ina was visiting NYC and worked several jobs, back to back, indefatigably, one of which was a Greek coffee shop called Edelweiss, just a few blocks down from this very spot on Ditmars Boulevard. I had just returned from a motocross race in Greece, heavily jet lagged, and I went to the counter and ordered a Nescafe Frapé, extra strong and chugged it and quickly ordered another. Half way quenching my thirst I paused noticing her perplexed amazement and we started talking. She looked like a super athlete, a model, and so attractive, in fact I worried a bit that she might be underaged and was surprised when she said she was 23, but that was still 11 years younger than me, same difference as her parents. We talked about our diverse language and sport interests, her cross-country skiing, soccer and roller blade commuting… I mentioned that I was on my way to my friend’s restaurant, Trattoria Dell’Arte for a bite to eat, and that if she likes fine Italian food we can go there, I jotted down on a napkin my phone number and bid farewell… I’d later find out Ina had a voracious appetite.
Days of silence went by before I was surprised by Ina’s call and the first of several dates, we grew inseparable. We coordinated a date with the caveat that she would bring her nephew along. I quickly became mesmerized by her maternal protective behavior and mannerisms. I also noticed her close relationship with her brother Zoran, who she loved immensely and helped him move to the US and demonstrated her family devotion. I had to suppress my irrational exuberance and thoughts of marriage and kids, and instead discussed and arranged for the next date to be at Trattoria. At the restaurant we ordered a variety of foods, but her favorite was the veal chop parmigiana, she devoured it and awakened a taste for other fine dining and foods. We went next on a motocross date, it was a rainy day where she dazzled me with her riding skills, which were more like a fearless bravado that culminated in safely backflipping into the mud… The feelings were mutual, and increasingly apparent we were a match made in heaven, Ina was my dream girl.
Within weeks we were inseparable and her infinite energy was increasingly directed towards me. She would call me every morning and say “good morning, this is your friendly wake up service.” Within months, Ina said she’s my “priljepak,” Croatian for a symbiotic leech type organism, when I last checked the dictionary priljepak also translated to adhesive tape… Steadfast till the very end, she continued to caffeinate me with Nescafe Frapés.
Fast forward a few months in early ‘98, we went to Disney World in what we called a pre-honeymoon, we stayed at the Contemporary and she loved the Goofy character, all things Disney, she acted like a kid, funny and goofy, yet she was well balanced and serious especially about our love, and without any hesitation, we married.
In parallel, Ina’s intelligence continued to impress me, Ina enrolled into Hunter College and took English classes, and with the birth of Michelle Ina became a full-time mom, dabbling in graphic design and assisting in building our IT Consulting firm. Eventually, Ina took over the consulting and focused on one of our fragrance clients called Royall, where she quickly rose through the ranks, developing new products, branding, packaging, fragrance mixtures, bottles, shipping, inventory, warehouses and logistics, and when Royall was sold to Cobalt Brands, she was promoted to their Director of Operations. She worked till the very last day of chemo, even during the countless appointments, infusions, and even worked from the hospital bed, she just loved her work. On the 14th of September new chemo was offered to her, she asked the doctor for a realistic assessment, the answer was bleak. Ina said emphatically, “I’m done,” and I urged her to take the chemo home in the event she would change her mind, but refused the chemo and entered in home hospice and resigned from work at Cobalt Brands Royall, Sep 16th. The very fact that she was able to dig deep and work during every increasingly debilitating phase of her cancer treatment, was a herculean feat, she was also my super hero. I continue to be amazed that the last 10 years of her life, instead of plateauing and being content, she seemed to raise the bar, every day, her vocabulary, quick-wittedness, decisiveness, clear vision and acuity were increasingly impeccable, she was a bright glimmering star.
Ina was the best mom I could have ever imagined for our children, she raised Michelle and Peter analogous to what Plato’s Republic prescribes, music, athletics and academics. Ina had a voracious appetite for books, she read nearly every day on her kindle and shared that passion with Michelle. Ina took the kids to piano lessons, Michelle to karate and coached her volley ball team, and took Michelle and Peter to mathematics classes, chess lessons and tournaments. She took Peter to the US Chess nationals where he finished 7th one year, and the last 7 years preceding Covid, we ran as a family in over 200 running races, recently Peter branched out into HS Track and there was and is soccer…
Soccer was Ina’s #1 sport and passion, she would watch women’s and men’s soccer at any time of the day or night, she’d stay up late, or wake up early, 3AM, 4AM, whenever, she’d display the Croatian flag proudly. This passion transferred to Peter, and Ina would take him to all his local and travel team events, last year, in her compromised state, with Peter’s Istria team, she travelled to Florida for the Super Y nationals. In Ina’s last outdoor hurrah, late August ’22 she hobbled ever so slowly and witnessed Peter’s Istria team win their regional qualifier making it again to the Super Y Nationals in Tampa this December…
Ina had no regrets, for 20 months she valiantly battled colon cancer, she would repeatedly remind us that “it is what it is,” no what ifs, no looking back, learning and living each and every “day by day…” Ina often said, “I can do this”, and was positive.
Ina loved the color blue, when we needed to replace our car last year, which was more often in the repair center than in our garage, Ina had a specific requirement, a royal blue Subaru Outback Wilderness, it could NOT be white, black nor any other color other than royal blue, this specific model was rare and several months back-ordered throughout the northeast and being sold at a $3k premium. Ina loved the wilderness, our trail runs, off-roading, our motocross, mountains, upstate NY, Pennsylvania, Maine, Cape Cod’s beaches and trails, she loved the rugged look and feel of nature…. Time was running out, she didn’t have months to spare, I searched the entire continental US and found one in Charlotte NC, closed the deal with no premium on a Saturday morning, flew down at 2PM, and drove the car back to Ina that same night into Sunday, and when I arrived after a 14 hour drive in traffic, she named her new car “Spaceship.” She was so happy with the Subaru service the following month she mustered the strength and trekked back during a snowstorm with her portable chemo, brother Zoran and Michelle to the same Charlotte dealership and traded in our unreliable GL Benz for a Subaru Crosstrek for Michelle. Ina wanted to leave reliable cars for Michelle and Peter to transport them to their respective academics and athletics.
Ina and I bonded years ago in binge watching all things Start Trek related, intergalactic odysseys, and the underlying theme was often seek out new civilizations and build on common ground, inclusive principles of non-prejudicial relationships often prevailed and of course science and medicine. We drove several times to Disney World and nearly each time turned it into an academic and fantasy adventure, visiting major historical and academic sites and institutions, with emphasis on NASA. Ina now has left her spaceship and is amongst the stars, illuminating us from afar. Science didn’t advance enough to save her from this untimely demise, yet I am certain she will make a difference from afar, amongst the stars imparting her energy upon us all to advance humanity.
In the last 20 months, her love for eclectic foods persevered, although her ability to eat waned, the foods brought her smiles, the sights and smells were satiating and left her with eager enthusiasm and planning for the next meal, we ordered from her favorite restaurants, no matter how far, Trattoria, Japanese, Peter Luger’s steaks, Croatian, Polish, German, Colombian, Thai, Chinatown Chinese, and her favorite Greek food place Bahari. Ina’s reciprocated love for Bahari’s owner Anna had to be seen, hence our last celebratory meal and drinks are after this service at Bahari between 31st and 32ndStreets on Broadway, Astoria.
In conclusion, everyone,
We celebrate Ina’s life and take solace in the reality that she is now pain-free, and pray that her supreme abilities will continue to illuminate our spirits and empower us to achieve victory in anything we choose to do with vivacity, vigor and virtue.
Ina wished to express her final vision in the following poem that reflects her beliefs, by Anthony Dawson:
“Speak of me as you have always done.
Remember the good times, laughter, and fun.
Share the happy memories we’ve made
Do not let them wither or fade.
I’ll be with you in the summer’s sun.
And when the winter’s chill has come.
I’ll be the voice that whispers in the breeze.
I’m peaceful now, put your mind at ease.
I’ve rested my eyes and gone to sleep,
But memories we’ve shared are yours to keep
Let your sorrow last for just a while Comfort each other and try to smile.
I’ve lived a life filled with joy and fun.
Live on now, make me proud of what you’ll become.”
Ina Eulogy Video:
Ina GoFundMe for Childrens’ education
Ina Farenga Obituary Posting
Ina FB Eulogy by John Micheal Efthimiou Post: