Andon Jurukov died in the early morning hours of July 19 at Foothill Retirement in Tujunga, California at the age of 89 after a short, yet valiant battle against pancreatic cancer and its many complications. He is survived by his daughter Carla Walker and son-in-law Bill Walker along with his niece Anastasiya Chipeva, and grandnieces Victoria Chipeva and Lilia Chipeva. Andon's wife of 46 years, Dorothy, and his brother Stephan preceded his passing.
Andon was born in Svelingrad, Bulgaria and lived a full and extraordinary life filled with danger, excitement, and adventure, yet those who knew him well will always remember him dearly for his unconditional love of family and his unequaled generosity to friends.
At the age of 22, Andon escaped from his native Bulgaria under the threat of execution by the Communist Party due to his active participation in organized resistance against them. Upon his arrival in Istanbul, Turkey, as a “displaced person” he was granted work as a pastry chef where he made yogurt, pudding, and baklava.
After a year and a half, Andon moved on to Italy, and while living in Rome he even earned a few lire as an extra in the film: Quo Vadis. After eight months in Rome, his nomadic adventures next took him to France whereupon he chopped wood as a side venture to supplement his very small income from the Renault Car Factory in Paris.
However France’s dismal post-World War II economy ironically forced Andon to Germany where, for four years, he served as an ammunition guard for the US Army occupational forces and achieved the honorary rank of sergeant.
Because of his good standing with the USA he applied for an American Visa and, after a two and a half year waiting period, Andon emigrated to the USA where he made his first American home in Chicago for six years.
After earning his American citizenship Andon, like so many at the time, took the "Go west young man!" adage to heart and headed to our "Golden State" where, in 1962 he began his 25-year career at Hughes Aircraft in the Research Development division. It was here that in 1966 he proudly worked on the USA’s first unmanned spacecraft to land on the moon: Surveyor.
Andon, this time with his beloved wife Dorothy and daughter Carla at his side, was able to poignantly retrace his youthful journeys and proudly introduced his wife and daughter to the many friends Andon made throughout Europe during his hectic and life-threatening early years. Later, they expanded their travel itinerary to the point that, in retrospect he would often boast to have visited every continent during his travels (except Antarctica) and considered Kenya, Morocco, Egypt, China, Japan and Thailand as among his favorites.
After retiring in 1987, Andon found his newest passion ... golf! Happily addicted to his new love he was an active member of the Scholl Canyon Men’s Golf Club for 26 years where he competed in numerous tournaments and earned championship titles several times. At the ripe old age of 85, Andon even accomplished a feat that even Tiger Woods would envy -- a hole in one!
A celebration of the extraordinary life of Andon Jurukov will be held at the Church of the Recessional, Forest Lawn Memorial Park at 1712 South Glendale Ave., Glendale on Thursday, August 21 at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family instead encourages considering a donation in Andon’s memory to the The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research so as to help exterminate this heinous disease once and for all. Donations can be made by calling (310) 473-5121 or via the web at www.pancreatic.org.