Daughter of Milan Petrovic and Milada Staviel. Desanka Petrovic Mohorovicic was the pregnant wife of Joseph Mohorovicic, an attaché to the Yugoslav consulate in New York, on passage aboard City of New York together with her daughter Vesna. They went into a lifeboat together after the ship was torpedoed, but while waiting for rescue she went into labor. Luckily the ship's surgeon, Leonard Hudson Conley, had followed her into the same boat and delivered the baby in the bottom of the lifeboat that was tossed about in 15 foot waves, even though he himself had two broken ribs. They were rescued by USS Roper the next day and the mother decided to name the newborn son Jesse Roper Mohorovicic after the namesake of the destroyer that picked them up. Jesse became known as the “lifeboat baby” when his story made front-page news in the press during 1942.