Passed Away On: December 11, 2021
Celebration of Life
Peter Joseph Rajkovich, age 53 of Hollister, CA passed away at home surrounded by family on Saturday, December 11, 2021. Peter faced his illness with characteristic determination and intent, fighting valiantly with purpose and dignity to the very end. He was a devoted Son, Father, Brother, Uncle and Friend, however most knew him as a damn fine farmer.
Peter was born in San Jose on June 18, 1968 and moved with his family to the Fairhaven Orchards farm in 1970. He attended Sacred Heart Parish School and graduated from San Benito High School, class of 1986. He was a Hollister FFA Chapter member and was an active member of Santa Ana 4-H club throughout his childhood.
After graduation, Peter attended Fresno State University where he was an active member of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Peter earned his bachelor’s degree in Ag Business then returned home to work alongside his father at Fairhaven Orchards – becoming the 3rd generation of Rajkovich family farmers to work the fertile ground of San Benito and Santa Clara Valley. Peter’s agricultural pursuits extended beyond Fairhaven Orchards when he partnered with his lifelong friend and brother-in-law, Tim Gillio, to grow cherries under their Valley Top label. Peter worked tirelessly to perfect his growing operations, constantly experimenting with new techniques and innovative fruit stock, ultimately establishing several new and successful varieties for the farm. Peter formally took over farming operations at Fairhaven Orchards in 2007 and spent the next 15 years modernizing operations – his meticulously groomed cherry, apricot and walnut orchards were admired by all and created a picture-perfect gateway to Peter’s hometown of Hollister.
Peter had many hobbies, all of which he pursued with passion and precision. Chief among these would have to be hunting and cooking – he was a skilled and well-traveled hunter and a member of the BEE & ESS Gun Club. If you were fortunate enough to be his guest for a meal, you also knew him as a master chef who took great pride in preparing and sharing his culinary handiwork with his family and friends. Peter was an active member of the American Slovenian Society and the San Benito County Farm Bureau.
Peter is survived by his daughters, Ava Rose Rajkovich and Charlotte Lucille Rajkovich; his Mother and Father, Lucille and George Rajkovich; sisters, Marie Rajkovich Hoffman (Gregg), Julie Rajkovich Gillio (Tim) and Nicole Rajkovich Hagel (Tim); nieces, Kylie Gillio, Grace Gillio and Emma Hoffman; nephews, Marshall Hoffman, Haydon Hoffman and Jack Gillio and aunts, Irene Romano and Helen Estienne. A private memorial service will be held for immediate family only. A Celebration of Life to honor Peter will be hosted on January 8, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Gilroy Elks’ Lodge on The Hill located at 2765 Hecker Pass Highway Gilroy, California 95020.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in honor of Peter to the Sacred Heart Parish School, 670 College Street, Hollister, California 95023.