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8495Re: [TexasCzechs] Celebrating the life of the Dad of the Storyteller

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  • Gerri Martisek
    Aug 2, 2001

      What a wonderful tribute to your father and to you. It brought tears to
      my eyes.

      I sense your pain, but also sense the wonderful memories and joy you
      have now and forever of your time with your father and of his and your

      Thank you for sharing,

      Gerri Martisek

      > Susan Rektorik Henley wrote:
      > Dear Friends,
      > First, I do not have words to adequately express how important the
      > messages you all sent concerning my Dad are to me. With a little
      > time, I hope to respond to each individually. Please be patient. In
      > the mean time, I thank you all.
      > Now, I want to share with you how we celebrated my Dad's life. When
      > we chose the pall bearers for my Dad, we first turned to his grandsons
      > and three four men stood for him.
      > Then we turned to our old Family connections. My cousin, Michael
      > Rektorik, asked for the honor and represented the Rektorik Family. We
      > asked our cousin, Jaro Blahuta Jr. (Rudy) to stand for the Blahuta
      > family but he could not because of a bad back. Instead he followed
      > the casket as an honorary bearer. For my Mother's family Schmitty
      > Schmidt stood...his father said, "one of his boys would carry Uncle
      > Julius." Schmitty said it would be an honor. All of the local
      > Hrncirs are past the age when it is okay to be a bearer. Wilson
      > Hrncir, the oldest son, was asked to wear a rose (as did all the
      > bearers) and stand for the Hrncir family. With joy, he did. Sadly,
      > our Maze line lacks men who knew my Dad. I asked Josie Maze Hayden,
      > as the daughter of my Grandmother's closest brother (Joe) if she would
      > wear a rose and stand for the Mrazek family. She did with honor and
      > dignity. She wore the rose and sat next to me with the family. My
      > Dad's older brother, Frank, also wore the yellow rose.
      > After the Mass when it came time for the eulogy, we had two speakers.
      > The first was Leo Vrana. My families (Mrazek and Rektorik) moved from
      > Moravia, Texas, in 1907. The Vrana family moved from Moravia to
      > Robstown in 1921. The patriarchs of the Rektorik and Vrana families
      > hit it off great and they were soon drinking buddies who got into more
      > mischief than a single person could relate.
      > Their sons, Julius and Leo, were friends from youth and remained close
      > even now. Leo was the first to speak. He spoke of how generation
      > after generation of Texas Czech families (ours) were friends. He
      > then told a Rektorik story and a Mrazek story. Then he spoke of my
      > Dad through the years.
      > He was followed by the husband of one of my sisters. He started his
      > speech by explaining the significance of the pall bearers and their
      > connections to our family.
      > He followed this with his view of meeting my Dad when he was in his
      > 80's and all that my Dad was still doing.
      > Two priest spoke for my Dad. When we had lunch in the parish hall, I
      > put out enlarged photos that I had made for my Dad recently to remind
      > him of happier times. There was probably about twenty in all.
      > Not too long before he died, my Dad asked me, gave me permission, to
      > share his photos, his stories, his life. As you know, I have been
      > doing this for some time...and I will continue.
      > People walked up and down and saw my Dad and his family in the snow of
      > January 1926 (in South Texas), Frank in his high school football
      > uniform, my mother and grandmother standing before a trophy white-tail
      > buck hung from a live oak tree, and many others.
      > And, for the past three evenings, my family has gathered in his house
      > and told "Julius" stories. (We probably just touched the surface!)
      > There was so much laughter that when the priest of one of my sisters
      > called to console her, she couldn't hear him for all the laughter.
      > This morning, as I was steeling myself for the funeral, I
      > thought..."This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us be glad and
      > rejoice in it!" Then I thought, "How could this be possible on the
      > day we bury my Dad."
      > This evening as I saw the families of SIX CHILDREN sitting in a room
      > together telling stories and celebrating Julius Rektorik and his life,
      > I knew that it had, indeed been a joyous and glorious day.
      > There was gorgeous sunset in the west and also a glorious silver
      > almost-full moon rising in the east. What a sign this was.
      > Life (and death) provides us with opportunities. It is up to us to
      > make the most of any situation.
      > So, when a time of great sadness befalls your family, look to turn it
      > into a positive. It is a good choice...I know.
      > Rejoice in life. Rejoice in our heritage AND carry it on!
      > Susan Mrazek Rektorik Henley
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