Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Athlete, Entrepreneur Whose Designs Grace Public Buildings Nov. 9, 1942 - June 4, 2018

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Athlete, Entrepreneur Whose Designs Grace Public Buildings Nov. 9, 1942 - June 4, 2018

Article excerpt

Bob Gillespie got a call last year from his longtime friend Paul Popovic, who told him, "By the time I pass, I want to see Miami again."

On Nov. 11, the former University of Miami Hurricanes football teammates and Sigma Nu fraternity brothers found themselves shoulder-to-shoulder with crazed students and fans, watching the Canes beat Notre Dame, 41-8.

For Mr. Gillespie, watching the Miami football team "become relevant again" was in itself invigorating-but it paled in comparison to how the trip revived memories of their collegiate years.

"His health wasn't the best- he had to have one of those portable oxygen things. But we went to this game and got to see a great Hurricane victory," recalled Mr. Gillespie of Naples, Fla. "Aside from portable oxygen, you'd never know. He had this tough will to deal with things in life; he'd meet things head up and move forward."

Mr. Popovic, 75, of Pittsburgh, died June 4 of respiratory failure. What started as a bout of the flu became pneumonia, which caused further problems and hospitalizations.

He would spend more than 100 days in intensive care, but for the two-and-a-half weeks prior to his death, he was taken off a respirator and breathed on his own.

It was a period for "proper goodbyes," according to his wife of 25 years, Cheryl Haus.

It also showcased how much of a fighter he was, she said. That trait flared throughout his life, especially when he insisted that the respirator be taken off for her birthday so they could talk and kiss. Or when he was advising business partners during meetings held while still in the ICU.

"The journey was brutal. Every day was something else, but he fought like a champ for so, so long," Ms. Haus said. "Everybody was impressed with his will to live, and when he had had enough, he had enough."

Mr. Popovic was born in Cleveland. At the University of Miami, he majored in business administration and played football for a year and baseball for all four. …

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