Bernard M. Luketich holds the distinction of longest serving National President (36 years), longest serving executive officer (50 years) and longest tenured national officer (55 years) in the history of the Society. The Croatian Fraternal Union experienced its most significant progress and expansion in all facets of the organization throughout history under his leadership.
Brother Luketich first became active in the CFU at age 16 when he was elected president of Lodge 354, Cokeburg, PA, a position that he still holds today. That once small lodge has now grown to more than 2,000 adult members, the largest in the Croatian Fraternal Union.
It seems that Brother Luketich was born into a lifetime of fraternalism and music. He has been credited with founding many organizations and activities throughout his involvement with the CFU. He is widely known as the “Father of the CFU Junior Cultural Federation” and the “CFU Adult Tamburitza Federation,” since these tamburitza cultural programs were organized under his leadership. He also organized the St. George Junior Tamburitzans of CFU Lodge 354/Nest 122, Cokeburg, PA and the St. George Adult Ensemble of Cokeburg, in which he is one of the performers. Brother Luketich was also instrumental in the organization of the CFU Ski Holiday, the Croatian American Professional and Business Association of Pittsburgh (CAPBAP), and the National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCA). At the 2003 CFU National Convention, the delegates unanimously approved honoring President Luketich by renaming the CFU Museum, located within the CFU Home Office in Wilkins Township, PA, as the “Bernard M. Luketich Museum and Library,” in recognition of his 25 years of leadership as National President of the Croatian Fraternal Union.
National President Luketich is one of the founders of the United Four County CFU Lodges and the popular Four County radio program, “Voice of the CFU-Four Counties,” which he has served as Program Host and Announcer for the past 50 years. It has been heard over the Western Pennsylvania airwaves since March 1955.
President Luketich is a Delegate and Past Director of the Pennsylvania Fraternal Congress where he was awarded the John Jordan Upchurch Award, the highest award for outstanding fraternal service in 2003. President Luketich is a Delegate and Past President of the Fraternal Societies of Greater Pittsburgh, an organization for which he also served for a number of years as Secretary and was previously honored as Fraternalist of the Year. He also served as a Past Director of the National Fraternal Congress of America and remains an active member of this organization. Brother Luketich has been honored by the United CFU Lodges of the Four Counties as Fraternalist of the Year.
In addition to the above listed accomplishments and being an active family man, President Luketich serves in his local community of Cokeburg, PA. In January 1958 he was elected and served as a Cokeburg Borough Councilman. Following the election in 1974, President Luketich accepted the position of Mayor in Cokeburg.
Other notable awards and recognitions include: POVELJA REPUBLIKE HRVATSKE – received from President Josipović; REDNOM KNEZA TRPIMIRA S OGRLICOM I DANICOM – received from President Mesić (2003); POČAST ZLATNOGA GRBA OSJEČKO – BARANJSKE ŽUPANIJE – received from Župan Ladislav Bognar (2003); REDOM HRVATSKOG PLETERA – received from President Tuđman (1998); POČASNI GRAÐANI OGULINA (POVELJA GRADA OGULINA) (1996); REDOM DANICE HRVATSKE SLIKOM KATARINE ZRINSKI – received from President Tuđman (1996); PRESIDENT’S AWARD – received from the Tamburitza Association of America (1983).
Brother Luketich retired from his role of Chief Executive Officer on June 1, 2014 and was given the honor of National President Emeritus in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contributions to the Society.