Mike Erceg
Jul 03, 2013 | 2175 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Graveside services will be Saturday, July 6, for Michael Angelo “Mike” Erceg, 81, a native of Tracy who was a property developer and volunteer chef in Tracy and a rancher in Colorado.

He died June 27 at Astoria Gardens care center following a long illness.

Born at home on South B Street on April 9, 1932, he was the son of John and Friska Erceg, both Croatian natives of Herzegovina.

Mr. Erceg attended Tracy schools. He graduated in 1951 from Tracy High School, where he wrestled, played on the football team and was active in Future Farmers of America.

As a high school student, he worked weekends and summers for Angelo and Bruno Marchini on their Union Island farm.

Soon after joining the Southern Pacific as a brakeman, he entered the Army in 1952 during the Korean War, serving with one of the original Special Forces units at Fort Bragg, N.C.

He and a group of friends were the first to wear green berets, which became distinctive headgear for the Army Special Forces.

While serving as an Army corporal in 1954, Mr. Erceg was awarded the Soldiers Medal, one of the highest peacetime awards for heroism, for saving the lives of several crew members of a burning military C-119 transport plane that had crash landed at the Army base.

After leaving the service in 1954, Mr. Erceg rejoined the SP and was employed as a brakeman and later conductor for 15 years. An injury ended his railroad career.

He became a real estate associate with Yeomans Real Estate and later founded Corral Hollow Real Estate with partner Bill Rickman.

Upon selling the real estate firm, Mr. Erceg concentrated on developing Corral Hollow Estates, a rural residential development south of Tracy, and other properties.

More recently, before suffering the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, he operated two ranches in Moffat County, Colo.

Mr. Erceg became acquainted with Colorado on annual hunting trips. He also fished in Lake Nonacho in the Northwest Territories of Canada and went on periodic abalone excursions on the Mendocino County coast.

In Tracy, Mr. Erceg was a volunteer barbecue chef at a number of community events, including those at the Elks Lodge, Class of 1951 reunions and the annual asparagus and tri-tip dinner sponsored by the Tracy High Alumni Club.

Mr. Erceg kept in contact with a number of friends in Tracy and Colorado. He also enjoyed delivering local fruits and vegetables to friends.

Mr. Erceg was a member of the Tracy Elks Lodge.

Survivors include his wife, Jacqueline Marie Erceg of Tracy; a son, John Bollinger Erceg of Tracy; and a daughter, Leigh Gretchen Erceg of Hayden, Colo.

Also surviving are two sisters, Mela Prock and Draga Louth, both of Tracy; a cousin; and nieces and nephews.

The Saturday graveside services will begin at 11 a.m. at Tracy Cemetery, 501 W. Schulte Road. A celebration of life will follow at the Tracy Elks Lodge, 6400 W. 11th St.

Visitation at Fry Memorial Chapel, 550 S. Central Ave., will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 5.

The family prefers memorial contributions in Mr. Erceg’s name to the Mike Erceg Scholarship Fund, c/o Tracy High School ASB, 315 E. 11th St., Tracy, CA 95376.

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