The history of Pandel Savic's home is almost as colorful as the history of Pandel Savic.
But not quite. It's hard to top Savic's own tale. An immigrant from Macedonia, he served on the front lines in World War II before enrolling at Ohio State University, where he quarterbacked the Buckeyes to their first Rose Bowl win.
After college, Savic built a company that sold safety supplies and moved to Upper Arlington, across the street from an athlete named Jack Nicklaus.
And that's where the tale of Savic's house takes root. Savic became a trusted confidant of Nicklaus while the golfer was planning Muirfield Village and the Memorial Tournament. When the tournament launched, Nicklaus named Savic its chairman, a position he held until 2003.
While designing Muirfield Village, Nicklaus kept a gem hidden in the middle of the course — 17 acres of wooded rolling turf isolated from the other homes. How isolated? So isolated that visitors must pass through not one but two gates. So isolated that Urban Meyer, who lives nearby, is locked out.
In the 1980s, Nicklaus decided it was time to build in the inner sanctum, called Nicklaus Estates. According to Savic's son-in-law, Donald Lewis, who co-wrote Savic's autobiography, "A Wonderful Run at Life," Nicklaus allowed his closest Muirfield associates — Savic, Ivor Young and Bob Hoag — to draw straws for three of the five lots in the enclave.
Lewis said his father-in-law got the best lot, 1.6 acres on the 2nd fairway, tucked behind a wall of oaks, maples and beech trees.
Savic and his wife, Janice, toyed with the idea of building their dream home on the lot, but they never pursued it.
When Janice passed away in 1991, Savic might have been tempted to tuck away the dream and stay put in his Muirfield condominium. Instead, he went to work, prodded on by a discovery.
"I found a white box in Janice's closet with the words 'the dream' written across the top," he wrote in "A Wonderful Run at Life."
He discovered "sketches, pieces of fabric, 18th-century engravings of old Scottish manors and Italian villas."
The box also included a note from Janice: "My dearest Pandelis, Everything I gathered to help get the design in place for the house is in this box. Go ahead and build it."
So that's what he did, with the help of prominent Chicago architect Elva Rubio. The result is a manor of a home, all stone, with a cedar roof, stained-glass windows, walnut paneling — 6,756 square feet in all.
Savic enjoyed his baronial retreat, which includes a full coat of arms, for more than two decades, hosting the likes of Sean Connery, Bob Hope and George H. W. Bush in its 26-foot-high dining room. His four neighbors include Nicklaus and former Columbus Blue Jacket James Wisniewski.
But now, at age 92 and battling Alzheimer's, it's time for Savic to sell. His — and his wife's — dream home is listed for $2.75 million (down from $2.95 million).
He's selling it in peace.
"For the first time since Janice died, no thoughts of what I could have done differently lingered in my soul," he wrote after constructing his dream.
Dispatch Reporter Jim Weiker writes about home topics. Reach him at 614-461-5513 or by email.