Feb. 20, 1933 – May 5, 2020
Gladys (Vavra) Skala, better known as Jean, died May 5, 2020. She was born Feb. 20, 1933, the sixth child born to Charles and Francis (Kubicek) Vavra.
She grew up on a farm north of Dorchester. She attended country school #103 and graduated from Dorchester High School in 1950. She attended summer school at Doane College in the summers of 1950 and 1951. Jean was a country school teacher for two years at District 65, was a nurse’s aide at St. Elizabeth's Hospital and worked at the Elgin Watch Factory until it closed.
Jean married James Skala on July 9, 1955, at the Dorchester Methodist Church and they were married for 51 years. They lived and worked in Lincoln until Jim started the OK Tire Store in Crete in 1961. They had two children, Michele and Scott. Working outside was one of Jean's favorite things to do. She enjoyed maintaining the yard, gardening and canning fruits and vegetables. She enjoyed many activities, including golf, bowling, bridge, genealogy and attending her grandchildren’s activities when they were young. Jean volunteered with Brownie and Girl Scout troops for her daughter, was a Boy Scout den mother for her son and a 4-H leader.
Jean and Jim were proud Nebraska football fans, going to all the home games as well as some away games. She also had a passion for her Czech heritage and could often be seen at many Czech festivals throughout the midwest. She loved to polka dance. Jean was baptized and was a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Crete. She was a charter and lifetime member of Beta Sigma Phi as well as a hospital auxiliary member, often contributing to bake sales.
Jean and Jim travelled to many places during their marriage. Some of her favorite destinations were Hawaii, Virgin Islands, Arizona and a cruise to Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Aruba. They often wintered in Mesa, Arizona, where they enjoyed the company of many friends. Jean had a special friend, John Fiala, for the last 10 years of her life. They travelled to many Czech events throughout the midwest, travelled to the Czech Republic, enjoyed polka dancing, playing the organ and cribbage.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Jim; daughter, Michele Noel; parents, Charles (Francis) Vavra; sister, Sylvia Vavra; sisters and brothers-in-law Evelyn (John) Korinek and LaVerne (Glenn) Johnson; brother and sister-in-law, Stanley (Katherine) Vavra; brothers-in-law, Milo Klasek and Roger Skala; sister-in-law, Peggy Jensik, and special friend, John Fiala. She is survived by son and daughter-in-law, Scott (Sheryl) Skala; son-in-law, Merle Noel, Strang; grandchildren, John Noel, Strang, Jamie (Kevin) Boyer, Wellington, Colorado, Jennifer Noel and fiancé, Shayne Rausch, Hebron, Kelsie (Jake) Riley and Kimberly Skala, Lincoln; sister, Ellaurine Klasek, Swanton; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Mary and Deryl Marsell, Springfield, Missouri, and many nieces and nephews.
Graveside services were May 9 at Riverside Cemetery in Crete. Memorials are suggested to the family for future designation. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kunclfh.com.