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Obituary of Joe Duane Koukol

Another Czech polka lover and kolache eater has earned his eternal resting place. Joe Duane Koukol passed away on December 13, 2012 at Republic County Hospital at the age of 89 years, 9 months and 25 days, just a couple of months shy of his 90th birthday. He was born on February 18, 1923 near Cuba, Kansas to Joe J. and Bessie (Plevka) Koukol. He and his older sisters, Lillie (Kauer) and Laura (Benyshek), attended Bates school where he was an excellent student.

Joe served in the European Theater during WWII as a telephone line communicator and also used his Czech language to help with translations. He earned a purple heart and several other distinguished medals for his tour of duty in Germany and France. After his discharge from the Army, he began working on a farm near Munden where he met Marcella Pachta. They were united in marriage on August 6, 1946 and to this union three children, Helen, Duane, and Marilyn were born. Joe was a diligent farmer bringing plentiful crops from the rich Kansas soil just southeast of Belleville. He enjoyed raising cattle and would rescue orphan calves from the feed lot. His kids got the chore of bottle feeding them! His black angus heifers or “muchachas” as he called them were dear to his heart. Joe also worked at John Deere Implement during the winter months where he assembled various implements . He was a school board member for McCune Country School, where he kept the pump from freezing in addition to making sure his kids “arithmetic’ homework was finished. Later he began building Norris homes around Republic County and would remodel existing structures. In February of 1966 he was deeply saddened by the passing of his wife, Marcella. Now, he was no longer just the bread winner but the total caregiver for three children. But, he was up for the challenge! Joe’s apricot pie would have won a blue ribbon at the local fair!

Joe was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Faternal Herald, and a past member of the Moose. He enjoyed the dances and especially liked taking Betty Wilson for a spin on the dance floor. They were joined in marriage on September 2, 1972. Camping and fishing were other adventures they enjoyed. Did he ever catch some big catfish from the local lakes and rivers! And, Christmas wasn’t complete without Joe playing his accordion while all his kids and step kids enjoyed the music. These children include: Helen (Willis) Poppe of Olsburg, Kansas; Duane Koukol of Craig, Colorado; and Marilyn Koukol of Las Cruces, New Mexico. His step children are: Terry and Charlotte Van Wey of Harveyville, Kansas; Connie and John Sullivan of Aurora, Colorado; Jerry and Marla Wilson of Cuba, Kansas; and Vonda and Robert Wakefield of Mankato, Kansas. Joe has 12 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and lots of cousins, nieces, and loving friends.

For the last four years of his life he received wonderful care at the Belleville Health Care Center. He tried to teach the staff some Czech words and certainly gave them an appreciation for polka music! So the next time thunder rumbles across the Kansas plains, it is probably just Joe stomping his feet as he dances the polka.

Joe was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, sisters, and his first wife.

Funeral services were held at One Thirty PM, Saturday, December 15, 2012, Bachelor-Surber Memorial Chapel, Belleville, Ks, conducted by, Pastor Mark Imel. Military Graveside services by the Fort Riley Honor Guard.

Interment was made in Belleville Cemetery, Belleville, Kansas.

Memorials may be given to Golden Bell Haven or Belleville Health Care Center or Ski Apache Disabled Ski Program, Ruidoso, NM

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