Stan Bozich, John Becic and Vince “Pesky” Paveskovich serve as leadership of a crew informally known the Slabtown Boys. The three convinced dozens of pals to chip in to create a University of Portland scholarship for a graduate of a Portland-area Catholic high school who will play the grand old game for the Pilots. “You are here for a purpose and that’s to help each other — to do better, not only for yourself, but for your family,” Vince explained. “What goes around comes around.” (Courtesy University of Portland)
Stan Bozich, John Becic and Vince “Pesky” Paveskovich serve as leadership of a crew informally known the Slabtown Boys. The three convinced dozens of pals to chip in to create a University of Portland scholarship for a graduate of a Portland-area Catholic high school who will play the grand old game for the Pilots. “You are here for a purpose and that’s to help each other — to do better, not only for yourself, but for your family,” Vince explained. “What goes around comes around.” (Courtesy University of Portland)
Well known former educator, local athlete and coach, Vincent J. (Pesky) Paveskovich, 99, passed away Jan. 3, 2021.

Vincent was born to Croatian immigrant parents, Jakov and Marija Paveskovich, and was known to many as Coach, Vince or Vinnie Pesky. He was born Aug. 21, 1921, and was the youngest of a close-knit baseball family.

His eldest brother Tony played semi-pro ball. Brother Johnny, who legally changed his name to Pesky, grew up playing baseball for American Legion, High School and Semi-Pro teams in Oregon before becoming a star player for the Boston Red Sox for many years. Vince’s three sisters were avid baseball fans.

Vince was confirmed at St. Patrick Church in Slabtown in Northwest Portland. He credited the nuns of St Patrick's for his interest in sports as they made sure the students were involved in athletic activities.

In 2009, he described his childhood to the Catholic Sentinel. “It was a humble beginning and a wonderful beginning,” he said. “The parish was the binding force because our parents believed in the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church.”

Vince graduated from St Patrick's School in 1936 and Lincoln High School in 1940. He was coached by Wade W. Williams in American Legion baseball and at Lincoln. He also played ice hockey in the Journal Juniors ice hockey league and also for Lincoln High School. Vince was penalty timekeeper for the Portland Buckaroo hockey team in the 1960s.

According to a Catholic Sentinel article about him in 2001, most of his corps of friends knew what Vince’s passions were: the Catholic faith, baseball and hockey — in that order. “I have faith in the man upstairs he is the guiding light,” he said — moments before launching into a conversation about his view of Portland baseball history, a discussion that “went into extra innings.”

Vince was convinced that growing up with baseball and sticking with it helped him negotiate life with poise. “I learned to think,” he said. “What is the situation? What’s the out? Where are the runners? What do I do if this happens or if that happens? It helps you keep your head.”

Vince attended the University of Portland under a baseball scholarship. In 1942 he entered the Navy as a hospital apprentice and was stationed at the Naval Air Station (NAS) in Pasco, Washington, where he also played baseball with many Pacific Coast League ballplayers. He learned the Gene Tunney Method of Physical Training at the Naval Training Station in Bainbridge Maryland. Vince was later transferred to the NAS at Seattle Washington where he also played baseball with Fred Hutchison. Vince was the master of ceremonies for Friday night dances at the NAS and gained a following for his quick wit and was compared to popular band leader of that day, Kay Kaiser. He also served in Hawaii and Guam before being discharged at Camp Shoemaker, California, in 1946. Vince said "My highest rank was Athletic Specialist 1st Class, no medals, no honors, just did my job.” He completed his degree at University of Portland in 1948.

He signed with the New York Yankees farm system in 1948 and played for the Ventura Yankees and in 1949 for the Victoria Athletics. Vince coached the University of Portland Pilots in 1950 and was also the manager of a team in Calgary Alberta that same year. He continued playing and coaching semi-pro baseball until the early 1960s.

Vince taught at Irvington Elementary School and Lincoln High School while working towards his master’s degree at University of Portland State,which he attained in 1956. Following this, he was employed at Jefferson High School teaching and coaching alongside Andy Pienovi and Tom DeSylvia.

In 1960, he was hired by Gaynor Petrequin, principal of the new John Marshall High School, to be on the inaugural staff. That first year, Vince taught physical education and other classes and coached baseball, which he continued to do for several years. He later became an administrative assistant, a position with many of the duties of a vice-principal. He was a guiding influence for many who needed direction. Vince was also a loaned executive to the United Way campaign in the mid-1980s. He retired in 1987.

Vince was one of a group of old NW Portland friends who started the Slabtown monthly breakfast gathering which was originally comprised of those who attended St. Patrick’s School and the University of Portland.

In 2007, the Catholic Sentinel reported on the St. Patrick’s Slabtown Endowed Scholarship. “We did this to get the kid who wants to get the Catholic education,” Vince, then 86, told the Catholic Sentinel. “We have to get back to the belief that right is right and wrong is wrong.”

Reporter Ed Langlois wrote, “As he is wont to do, Paveskovich gets to the heart of the matter: ‘We’re human beings and we are here to help each other.’”

Vince was a member of the Old Timers Baseball Association of Portland, since 1943, and was a former president of the group. He was also a past member and president of the Ex-Newsboys Association.

He was an encourager and supportive to those he knew. Vince was appreciative of the loving caregivers and staff that had taken care of him at Regency Park since 2014.,

Vince was predeceased by his parents, brothers Marko, Tony and Johnny as well as his sisters Anne, Catherine and Millie. He is survived by his nephew, David Pesky and grand-nephew Patrick, numerous friends and former students. He will be missed.

A private funeral Mass will be held. Due to COVID occupancy limitations, attendees may only attend by reservation.

For reservation information, please call Kevin O'Connell 503 227- 2998.

This service will be live streamed here: https://www.facebook.com/events/146373227099417

Vince's final resting place will be at Mount Calvary Cemetery.