Joe and Helen Valenta
A graveside memorial service for Joe and Helen Valenta will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2019. The brief service will begin at 11 a.m. at the Czech National Cemetery, 2200 C St. SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Pastor Kevin Moore of Sharon United Methodist Church will officiate. Military rites will be provided by American Legion Post 298. Following the ceremony, a luncheon will be hosted by Joe and Helen's children at the Legacy Center at Murdoch-Linwood, 520 Wilson Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids.
Helen S. Valenta was born on March 31, 1923, in Cedar Rapids. Joe was born on March 6, 1921, in Lozice, Czechoslovakia. Helen grew up in Cedar Rapids and attended Wilson High School. As a young adult, Helen was active in Sokol, a Czech gymnastics club in Cedar Rapids. Helen also sang on live radio for the Czech Hour on Sundays. Helen was a wonderful cook, making many varieties of Czech pastries and breads. As a young girl, Helen would be found behind the cash register at the Sykora Bakery, which was owned by her uncle, in the historic Czech Village. She also was a wonderful seamstress and loved making beautiful count-thread gifts for her family.
Joe immigrated to the United States in 1928 and grew up on a farm operated by his aunt and uncle. Joe would travel to Cedar Rapids every few weeks and, in Cedar Rapids, he first met Helen.
Helen was very active in Sokol, learning gymnastics and the Czechoslovakian language, and Joe was raised in a Czech-speaking area in Black Hawk County, Iowa. Helen and Joe courted briefly until World War II erupted. Joe was attending Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in Cedar Falls, and volunteered in the U.S. Army to defend his adopted country. In order to serve, he had to be a citizen and, while in the Army, he accomplished this goal. He served with distinction in the Pacific Theater at the Battle of Okinawa and later served in the Army of Occupation in Japan. Upon being discharged in 1945, he returned to Iowa and married Helen in Cedar Rapids. They moved to Cedar Falls so Joe could continue his education and raise their three children.
Joe earned three degrees in education and guidance counseling at UNI and at the University of Iowa. He was a teacher, coach and guidance counselor in the Cedar Falls public school system, and Helen was the administrative secretary at Peet Junior High School. In 1977, they retired and moved to Horseshoe Bend, Ark. Joe continued to work as a part-time public school system guidance counselor. Helen was active in the Horseshoe Bend United Methodist Church Choir and Mary Circle, the Flower and Garden Club, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, Red Hat Society, Blenders Choir, Boating and Fishing Club and Little Theater. Joe was active in the Lions Club and the Horseshoe Bend Municipal Recreation Improvement District, where he served as manager for a short time. Both enjoyed golfing, gardening, lounging on their pontoon boat and entertaining friends and neighbors.
Joe and Helen lived a full life together, raising three children and making many friends along the way. They were inseparable for 67 years, and it was their wish to be united again in a quiet place near their relatives and friends.
They are survived by their daughter, Linda Flug (Palm Coast, Fla.); sons, Jim Valenta (Dexter, Mich.) and John Valenta (Havasu City, Ariz.); seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Please share a memory of Joe and Helen at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under Obituaries.