Marko Buncich was passionate about horses.
Grace Buncich said her husband bred, raised and trained sulky race horses at his Buncich Horse Stables in the Valparaiso-Wheeler area for many years. In addition to occasionally racing some of his horses in New York, Buncich raced them locally at Balmoral, Sportsman’s and Arlington Park racetracks.
“He raised these horses from babies,” Grace Buncich said. “He did the training. He loved them and talked about them even just before he died. He just lit up when you mentioned horses.”
Buncich, 85, of Crown Point, loved his grandchildren whom he enjoyed taking to his barn to see the horses and equipment.
“He would sit them on the horses and sit them on the tractors,” Grace Buncich said. “They looked forward to that.”
Buncich loved farming and animals so much that as a youngster he would skip school and walk from Glen Park to Hobart to his grandfather’s farm to help milk the cows.
Buncich also was a talented brick mason but quit at age 39 to raise horses. Grace Buncich said he built their home.
The couple were childhood sweethearts who met at a dance. They lost touch when Buncich joined the Army near the end of World War II. He was stationed in Europe, mainly in Paris, Belgium and Germany, Grace Buncich said.
After both had married others and divorced, they reconnected and were married for 32 years.
“It was like a storybook romance,” Grace Buncich said.
Buncich was fun loving and enjoyed dancing. He was a fan of the Chicago Cubs and Bears.
“He liked to have a good time,” Grace Buncich said.
Later in life, Marko and Grace Buncich spent winters in Florida, usually near Orlando.