Gary Eldon Dvorak, 73, died Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha.
Memorial Mass will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 27, at St Mary Catholic Church in Vinton with Father Ardel Barta as celebrant.
Gary was born April 1, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Eldon Raymond and Helen Barnes Dvorak. He graduated from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids and attended Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa.
On July 4, 1985, Gary was united in marriage with Joan Rose Jensen in Las Vegas, Nev. Gary was a chef and he teamed with Joan to build Cafe de Klos into a Cedar Rapids institution that spanned three decades. A bold and self-made entrepreneur, Gary's constant search for new challenges and experiences sent him around the world. He brought his adventures home and shared them in the form of secret Dutch recipes learned in Dutch cafes, decor that transported guests to exotic places and lessons picked up in a life well-lived. Gary's clarity of vision and the never-quit force of his follow through transformed each room in his restaurants into works of art and his eye for tables filled with the finest quality foods and, of course, happy patrons. When the Dvoraks reopened a lavishly reimagined Cafe De Klos in Vinton years after closing the doors on the original cafe, customers old and new continued to flock to the restaurant until Gary's retirement in 2015.
Gary was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Vinton. He will be missed for his companionship, his spontaneity and his unwavering loyalty. His legendary strength of will and love of adventure will continue to inspire those who knew him to dream big and live every day to the fullest. No matter the challenge, Gary never merely tried he did, and he did it big. He is no doubt already hard at work planning his next project a cafe in heaven as he watches over his loyal friends, his devoted wife and his beloved children.
Gary is survived by his wife of 32 years, Joan, of Vinton; four children, Gary Eldon Dvorak, and daughter, Hana, of Largo, Fla., Dara Michelle Crow, and children, Stone, Gavyn and Garrett, of Marietta, Calif., Diamond Rose Dvorak, and fiance, Levi Grefe, and his children, Taylor, Drake and Maddie, of North Liberty, and Dakota Ralph Dvorak of Charlotte, N.C.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorials may be directed to the Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha and the American Cancer Society.
Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home of Vinton is caring for Gary and his family. Condolences may be left at vsrfh.com.