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Butte lost one of its most generous souls Saturday with the death of Bob Koprivica, friends and colleagues said Monday.

Koprivica, 84, died Saturday after years of declining health. Until the end, though, friends said he was still plotting ways to improve his beloved hometown.

"The last conversation I had with him was how he was concerned about the future of Butte and what could we do, and I remember thinking, 'The fight is still there,' " said Marko Lucich, who knew Koprivica as a family friend and devout member of the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church where Lucich is parish president.

In addition to running Bob and Joe's Wholesale Inc., for more than 40 years, Koprivica also worked on numerous community projects throughout the years.

In the early 1990s, for example, Koprivica noticed the children in Central Butte needed a playground and proceeded to build and improve the lot across from his business on Second Street. He had invested more than $50,000 in the park by 1994 and leased the land to the county for $1 a year.

In addition to Butte projects, Koprivica was proud of his Serbian and Croatian heritage. He became involved with international politics during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Koprivica paid for fact-finders to travel to the country and document the situation. Their interview with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic ran on the "CBS Evening News."

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