Milan Stosic

Obituary of Milan Stosic


Milan passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of February 11, 2021, surrounded by his loving children Aleksandar and Katarina and his adoring wife Irene.


Born in 1927 in Gradsko, Macedonia to Vera and Vlajko, a Serb representing the Central Yugoslav National Bank in Macedonia, Milan was influenced at a young age by his father’s passion for politics and foreign affairs. When the Second World War erupted, he returned with his family to Serbia, moving from place to place, hiding in the mountains and foothills of the former Yugoslavia and protecting his family from the German advance. During the war, he lost his younger sister Nevena to an ear infection due to Axis hoarding of medical supplies. These early experiences shaped Milan’s survival instincts and unwavering spirit - qualities that persevered his entire life.


After graduating from high school, Milan was ordered to join the newly-formed Yugoslav Army and sent for training at the Central Air Force Academy where he learned to fly a wide array of fighter jets through dangerous maneuvers. Flying became a passion for him, but his mother Vera was consumed with fears of losing another child and Milan returned to his family in Belgrade. 


Milan completed his education in diplomacy and international economic cooperation and was soon deployed by President Tito to represent Yugoslavia throughout the Middle East and Africa, then London, England and finally Canada. He built long-lasting relationships for Yugoslavia centered on economic cooperation initiatives with heads of state across the developing world,  including Nasser of Egypt, Indira Ghandi and Nehru of India, Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya, Ben Bella of Algiers, and Kenyatta and Odinga of Kenya.


By the age of 40 he had been sent as a trusted adviser and diplomat to Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Algiers, Tunis, Libya, Gibraltar, Morocco, Nigeria, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and Canada. That dynamic early life led to fascinating conversations at the kitchen table and with his children at bedtime.


One of his most memorable moments was overseeing Tito’s visit to Yugoslav troops on the Sinai Peninsula that culminated in a landmark meeting between Nasser and Tito in front of the Egyptian pyramids. Another was witnessing the birth of Kenyan independence and end of colonization in Nairobi Stadium when Kenyatta was formally passed the torch by Prince Phillip to the roar and chant of “uhuru” (freedom) by over one hundred thousand Kenyans.


Milan arrived in Canada in 1970, and quickly built a reputation with federal and provincial senior officials with his deep knowledge of the economies of developing countries, and as an advocate of counter-trade, a concept unfamiliar to most Canadian businesses at the time. He believed that Canadian trade with Yugoslavia and much of the developing world could be greatly enhanced when Canadian exports could be financed through different commodities in the same trade deal. He ultimately succeeded in convincing Jean-Luc Pepin, the federal minister of trade at the time, that counter-trade and institutes that would promote it were very much in Canada's interest.


Shortly after arriving in Canada he met and courted his wife Irene, and soon thereafter decided to marry and start a family here. A year later they were blessed with the birth of twins, a son and a daughter, Aleksandar and Katarina.


Milan's experience as a diplomat extended to one of his most endearing qualities, which was being a true gentleman up to the very last moments of his life. He treated others with kindness and respect and formed deep bonds with all who crossed his path. As a stroke survivor with left side paralysis later in life, Milan inspired countless people with his determination to continue travelling, swim in the sea, and put others before himself. His pull was magnetic, as witnessed in the countless texts, emails and notes sent to his family throughout his lifetime from the individuals whose paths he crossed.


His spirit will live on through his wife Irene, children Aleksandar (Chelsea) and Katarina and grandchildren Sofie, Zachary, Aidan, and Milan.


A special thank-you to Dr. Andrea David, Dr. Milutin Drobac, and Winnie for their love and support.


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