Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


With the passing of the late Edward B. Lettunich at Watsonville in the last month of the year 1919 many thereabout felt regretfully that all untimely had come the close of a most promising business career. In the very height of his vigorous and energetic manhood Mr. Lettunich was stricken down with the then all too commonly prevailing influenza that took such dreadful toll in this country and there thus came an interruption to the culmination of the extensive plans for business expansion he had set on foot. As a promoter of the material interests of the Watsonville trade and shipping area few had rendered more active service than had Mr. Lettunich and he had done much toward the development of the material interests of the community, with particular reference to realty development and the expansion of the fruit shipping industry. Active in business, faithful in his various relations with his fellowmen, a fine companion socially and an indefatigable worker, Mr. Lettunich not only had acquired a wide acquaintance but had endeared himself to all. At his passing therefore he left a good memory and it is but fitting that in this definite history of the region he had so faithfully and so usefully served there should be carried some brief review of his life and career.

Edward B. Lettunich was of European birth but had been a resident of this country and of California since the days of his young manhood and was thoroughly Americanized, a true "one hundred per cent American" in all his feelings and aspirations. Mr. Lettunich was born in Mehanice in that section of the then Austrian empire now included within the republic of Jugoslavia and was a son of Nicholas and Luce (Kukuljica) Lettunich, both also natives of that region. He was reared in his native place, where he received excellent schooling and then as a young man came to America and on out into California to rejoin his elder brother, M. N. Lettunich, now the president of the Fruit Growers National Bank of Watsonville, who had become established at Watsonville in 1881 and was recognized as one of the leading growers and shippers. Upon his arrival E. B. Lettunich became employed in his brother's plant, packing and shipping apples, and thus learned the fruit shipping business "from the ground up." A few years later he engaged in business on his own account as a packer and shipper and in this connection gradually developed a business in orchard lands brokerage that was destined to become one of the most important commercial developments of that sort in this section of the state. In time Mr. Lettunich brought this business, the buying and selling of orchard lands, up to a high standard and at the time of his death was widely recognized as one of the leading realtors in Watsonville, some of the deals he successfully carried through having been of large magnitude. In this connection he did much to standardize not only orchard land values but gave a degree of stability to the realty market that it theretofore had not had and in this sense he rendered a very real and permanent service to the community. During the time of this country's participation in the World war Mr. Lettunich revealed his "hundred per cent Americanism" in no unmistakable manner and as a Californian of central European birth left no doubt as to where his sympathies in that world struggle were centered, his activities in connection with the promotion of the sale of Liberty bonds and in other local war service movements being actuated by real patriotic fervor. In his land deals Mr. Lettunich was quite successful and at his passing on December 16, 1919, he then being thirty-nine years of age, left a considerable estate, which is being administered by his widow.

It was in the year 1909, at Oakland, this state, that E. B. Lettunich was united in marriage to Miss Stella Elizabeth Milcovich, who was born in that city, and to this union three children were born, two sons, Edward B. and George A. Lettunich, and a daughter, Anna Stella. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Lettunich has continued to make her home at Watsonville. She is a member of the Roman Catholic church, as was her husband, and is affiliated with the local society of the Daughters of Isabella. In the general social affairs of the city of which she has been a resident for more than fifteen years Mrs. Lettunich has ever taken an earnest interest and she is a member of the locally influential Woman's Club of Watsonville.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.