Gladys M. Vrana


Gladys M. Vrana

Jan. 4, 1932 – Sept. 7, 2020

Gladys Marie Vrana, 88, died peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Monday Sept. 7, 2020. She was born Jan. 4, 1932, to Frank and Evelyn (Chmelka) Makovicka on a farm north of Seward. When Gladys was only three years old, her mother died, leaving three small children. Gladys was raised by her grandmother, Mary Makovicka, in Bee. Gladys loved her grandmother and all the older Czech residents in the small town.

She received her first eight years of education in Bee, and later her grandmother bought a house in Seward so Gladys could have a high school education, graduating from Seward High in 1950. During this time, she became acquainted with Don Vrana, a high school senior in Garland, through basketball and volleyball. All through her high school years, they remained a couple and on June 6, 1950, they were married at St. Vincent Catholic Church in Seward. To this union, five daughters were born. Their first home was the family farm northeast of Garland. Gladys told often of how she had to cut her pretty fingernails and learn how to milk a cow.

From Seward, Don’s job with the Soil Conservation Service sent them to Papillion. While there, Gladys worked in the courthouse for the Sarpy County assessor. After five years, the SCS sent them to Syracuse, where Don and Gladys worked together for 40 years in the auction business. She also served as a bookkeeper for a variety of businesses.

Gladys was a nurturing mom and homemaker, sewing clothes and stuffed animals for her children and grandchildren, with whom she loved to spend time. She had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother, loved her flower gardens, playing the piano, quilting and assembling puzzles. Don and Gladys were avid bowlers and ping pong players in their earlier years. Gladys had a knack for being meticulous in everything she did. Until very recently, she enjoyed volunteer work at the Syracuse Area Churches Food Pantry, Otoe County Museum of Memories and Syracuse Area Health Auxiliary Thrift Store. She also served on the St. Paulinus Altar Society and was a former member of the Syracuse Library Board.

Gladys is survived by daughters, Katherine Kay Bruns, Laurie Ann (Jim) Deseck, Rebecca Jo (Doug) Antes, MaryBeth (David) McWilliams; grandchildren, Amy (Tim) Frederick, Corie (Kirk) Gorton, Kristine (Andrew) Stolley, Matthew (Danielle) Deseck, Jeni (Mike) Leefers, Joshua Antes, Tim (Carlie) Antes, Sarah (Matt) Kelly, Ethan (Alicia) McWilliams, Anthony (Madison) McWilliams; 15 great-grandchildren; in-laws, Tony (Elaine) Vrana, Janice (Larry) Sorge, Sondra Vrana; nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

 She was preceded in death by her parents; beloved husband of 69 years, Don; infant daughter, Mary Elizabeth (born and died on Sept 7, 1968); grandmother, Mary Makovicka; son-in-law, Bob Bruns; sister, Dorothy Bye; brother, Robert Makovicka; in-laws, Eddy and Vivian Soucek, Jerry Vrana and David Gene Vrana.

Public visitation (no family greeting - masks required) is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, at Fusselman-Allen-Harvey Funeral Home, 644 Park St., in Syracuse. A public Rosary (no family greeting - masks required) is 7 p.m. - Friday, Sept. 18, at St. Paulinus Catholic Church, 476 Poplar St., Syracuse and Mass of Christian Burial  (private - immediate family members only - masks required) is at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19 at the church. The Mass of Christian Burial will be live streamed on the St. Paulinus Catholic Church Facebook page. The link is posted on the Fusselman-Allen-Harvey website. In lieu of flowers or plants, memorial contributions are suggested to the family for later designation. Condolences may be left for the family at


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