Florence Vasak Chleboun
1936 – 2019
Florence Vasak Chleboun, born in Crete in 1936, passed Aug. 14, 2019, at home among family, friends and her beloved Labrador, Indy.
Her father, Milton Vasak, owned and operated the Standard Gas Station in town. Her mother, Mary Vasak, was the stenographer for Thomas Dreadla and John Mekota at the local Crete Bank. During the 1930s, Milton’s family owned the Vasak Bakery in downtown Crete.
Florence and her brother, Richard, were born at 1520 E. 13th Street, a home their parents purchased from Dr. Burn’s Estate sale. Florence remembered the home fondly. It had a matching doghouse and beautiful window seats. On the property were chickens, goats and a large family garden—the original ‘farm-to-table.’ When Florence was in high school, the family wanted to move ‘in town’ and took up residence at 610 Forest Street. Again they had a large family garden and chickens. Her mother was an amazing cook and would can produce from the garden as well as make homemade rye bread, dumplings and kolache.
Florence graduated cum laude from Doane College in 1958 with a bachelor of arts degree. She had a large presence both academically and socially on campus. She was a member of the Doane Players and Alpha Tsi Omega drama fraternity, International Relations Club, Thi Alpha Theta’s history honorary fraternity, Student Christian Association, and was a staff writer on the Doane Owl newspaper. She played a major role in the marching band as the lead majorette. She particularly liked traveling with the football team to perform in neighboring towns and states. She played the clarinet in the concert band as well as being a member of the Tau Beta Sigma honorary band fraternity. She received many scholastic honors including being a member of Alpha Lamba Delta, Cardinal Key, Doane Scholars and the American Students in American Colleges and Universities. Florence was also a proud member of the Omega Psi Theta Sorority, holding the vice president office her junior year as well as being an Inter-Sorority Council member. She was homecoming royalty and participated in the May Fete ceremony. Last but not least, she was a member of the Coogies, a secret sorority made up of ‘other’ sorority sisters drawn to each other, with common interests and values, forming a bond that lasted a lifetime.
Florence married Tom Chleboun, whose father, Paul ‘Doc’ Chleboun was the Crete (and surrounding area) veterinarian for over 40 years. After moving to California, Florence taught multiple subjects at Sunnyvale Junior High for over 30 years. She is known by thousands of California Bay Area students as Mrs. Chleboun, the typing teacher. She was highly thought of by her colleagues, the administration and most importantly her students.
Florence enjoyed playing Bridge with several groups made up of retired teachers, traveling, floral arranging, fishing, photography, water color painting, gardening and collecting recipes. Her Czechoslovakian heritage was a big part of her life fabric. Florence loved butterflies so much she built a butterfly garden in her backyard. Above all she loved her family. Her only child, Lisa, and she were very close, living 20 minutes away from each other and speaking on the phone daily. She was also a large part of her grandchildren’s lives attending every baseball, football, basketball, soccer and volleyball game they participated in. She enjoyed coming back to Crete regularly with her brother and sister-in-law, Helen, to plant their garden, fish and play Pinochle. She had a wonderful smile that would light up the room.
Florence will be remembered by her loved ones for her sense of curiosity, joy of life and willingness to help others. She is survived by her brother, Richard Vasak; daughter, Lisa; son-in-law, Devon; and grandchildren, Devin and Lawson Joos, all of whom live in California and brought her great joy throughout her life.
A memorial service in Florence’s honor will be from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, at the First Congregational Church at 440 E. 12th Street in Crete, with a with a luncheon to follow. Contact Lisa Joos at email@example.com if you are interested in attending.