Niman K. Luci
Niman K. Luci

December 2, 1937 - September 10, 2017
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Obituary

Niman K. “Steve” Luci passed away on September 10, 2017. Services will be held at Horan & McConaty at 11150 E. Dartmouth Avenue in Aurora on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., immediately followed by a reception to remember and celebrate his uncommon life. A private family interment with military funeral honors will be held later at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

Niman was born December 2, 1937 in Pec, Yugoslavia, current-day Kosovo, spending his early years living under the authoritarian regime of Tito. At only 16 years of age, he and three friends left their families under the cover of night and escaped into Italy. After spending two years in a refugee camp, he was able to join the US Army with the promise of citizenship after a term of service. After completing basic training, his first posting was in Germany where he met Anna Marie Zinsmeister on a blind double date. The two fell in love and married on February 15, 1961. Soon, the couple had two sons, Sammy and Steve, and were on their way stateside.

They settled in base housing at Fort Riley in Junction City, Kansas, and had their daughter, Janet. Niman held down three jobs and traded deployment duty from Korea to Vietnam in order to support his growing family. He was shipped off to fight in Vietnam as a staff sergeant under Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, of the 1st Division - the fabled Big Red One. Not long after earning a Bronze Star Medal for acts of valor in combat (aka the V-Device), he was wounded in Bien Hoa by a shot through his left eye that exited above his left ear. Judging from the severity of his wounds, his platoon assumed that he was killed in action, and his dog tag was taken and processed for notification. Late in the night of December 24, 1965, a taxi driver delivered a telegram to Anna with the erroneous news of Niman’s demise. It wasn’t until later on Christmas Day that she learned that he had indeed survived and had been evacuated to the Philippines. When he was well enough to travel, he was transferred to Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado, to begin his recovery. By the time he was released from the hospital and honorably discharged from the Army, Anna had packed up all their belongings and three children into their station wagon, driven to Aurora, and rented a new home.

Not unlike many other immigrants and his brethren veterans, Niman faced several challenges transitioning from military to civilian life. He persevered through every new, unfamiliar obstacle he faced with his well-known unflappable stoicism and kindhearted nature.

Niman found the job that would last the rest of his career at Fitzsimmons in the Optical Fabrications Laboratory where he worked as an optician. Shortly after starting there, he and Anna had their last child, Jeffrey. For the next several years, Niman and Anna each worked several jobs in order to raise their family and put their children through the Catholic schools that they insisted would be key to their kids’ success. One of those jobs was working security at Denver Bronco games, where Niman learned (and generously passed on to his entire family) to love the game of football and the immeasurable joy of being a Bronco fan. After moving to Aurora, he managed the bingo operation for almost a decade at the family’s long-time and current parish, Queen of Peace. His innate managerial skills running bingo late into the night generated enough funding to pay his kids’ tuition, as well as enough to cover the tuition of countless other bingo workers’ children; none of whom could have otherwise afforded their educations. During those years, Niman also volunteered as an Assistant Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts. He attended weekly meetings to teach outdoor skills & citizenship, went on high mountain hiking & camping trips, pedaled through 50-mile bike rides, and gave up his only vacation time every year to accompany anywhere between 15 and 25 Boy Scouts to summer camp.

He and Anna finally retired in 1992. He enjoyed his retirement years by helping raise his grandchildren and pass on the best traits of his remarkable character - committed perseverance, and limitless generosity. He relished each minute he got to spend with his family, especially all of his grandchildren. To him, family meant everything and he would do anything for each and every one.

Niman is survived by his wife, Anna; his children, Sammy (Debora), Steve (Theresa), Janet (Jeff), and Jeffrey (Kimberly); his seven grandchildren, Sara, Nicholas, Barrett, Benjamin, Matthew, Emma, and Douglas; and his sisters Fetanet and Hidayet. The family asks that you memorialize Niman’s life by doing something kind for someone you don’t know today.

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Services

Funeral Mass
Horan & McConaty - Parker
11150 E Dartmouth Ave
Aurora, CO US 80014
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Family Gathering
Reception
11150 E Dartmouth Ave
Aurora, CO United States 80014
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM