Milan Zivanovic


MILAN ZIVANOVIC of Olathe did not “go gentle” into his good night– to the last, raging at the cancer which took his life on January 23, 2013 at his home; his wife Judith at his side. He was born on March 18, 1933 in Beograd (Belgrade), Serbia, Yugoslavia, the son of Dusan and Olga Zivanovic.  He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from the Drama School of the University of Belgrade.  He acted at the main comedy theatre in Belgrade.  He was later under contract to the National Theatre of Croatia, performing in Shakespearean repertory, including the role of Demetrius in “Midsummer Nights Dream.”  He was an actor and director of his own touring company, where he produced American plays, including “Our Town” and “The Heiress.” In 1959, he defected from his homeland, ruled by the dictator Tito, and came to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he was reunited with his father, who had been a Major in the Yugoslav army and prisoner of war during World War II.  He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in broadcasting and film.  His first week at the University, he met his future wife, Judith Goergen, who was his steady companion since that day in 1963.  He proudly became a United States citizen in 1966, sponsored by his academic advisor Lee Dreyfus, who was later to become the Governor of Wisconsin.  Milan taught broadcasting and film at the University of Wyoming and Wichita State University.  Subsequent to their move to Brookings, South Dakota in 1969, Milan established MZ Apartment Rentals, owning and managing rental properties until his retirement in 2003.  He and Judith were ballroom dancers since their first days together in Madison.   They moved in retirement to the Metro because they had so enjoyed the KC dance and cultural scene while Judith was an administrator at Kansas State University in Manhattan.  They attended many ballroom dance classes and dances, especially at Walters Dance Center and the Camelot Ballroom.  He continued to dance until his last days. He was preceded in death by his brother, Dragan; mother, Olga and father, Dusan.  He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Judith, brothers-in-law; Tom Goergen (Vicki) and Lee Goergen; sister-in-law, Pam Stucke; nephews Jim, Mike, Chris, Jak , Josh Goergen and several grand-nieces and nephews. Judith and Milan express gratitude to Dr. Peter Bock and to Vitas Hospice for the quality of care he received.  A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date.


  1. Michele Park on February 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm


    I’m sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

    AOII Alumnae

  2. Jenny Horsley on February 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Judith you are in my thoughts and prayers at this tough time!! If you find you need a sister to lean on, please LEAN! XOX Alpha Love!

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