Leora E. Zahorik, 92, passed away Nov. 4, 2018, at Bickford Senior Living. She will be cremated. A private inurnment ceremony will follow.
Born in Hawarden, Iowa, on Sept. 23, 1926, where her father Edwin V. Zahorik practiced law, she was the first baby born after a flash flood. Because of a power outage, her mother Lillian (Falt) agreed that Leora be put in a basket next to the hospital cookstove to stay warm overnight. Later, her milkman was declared a typhoid carrier, so Leora had to undergo a series of inoculations.
The family eventually moved to Cedar Rapids, where Leora graduated from McKinley High School, then went on to the University of Iowa. She earned a B.A. in marketing and journalism. After a few years in Chicago, she moved to New York City, where she wrote ads for the leading company BBDO, for Armstrong Floors, Betty Crocker Mixes, Campbell's Soup and Ocean Spray Cranberries.
In 1962, she made her second trip to Europe, extending it to four months by visiting the Near East and Abu Simbel in Egypt. She was in Cairo when President Kennedy was assassinated.
On her return, she was hired by Grey Advertising for P&G's Joy dishwashing detergent. Five years later, she was in the process of moving to Chicago to be closer to her family, when she changed her mind and moved to Cedar Rapids.
This is when she became involved with the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, eventually suggesting a new building. About that time the countries shed their communist ties; it was a propitious time for the project.
Her final years in business were as publications manager with LeFebure, a national banking manufacturer. She retired in December 1991. Following this, Leora made several trips to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, bonding with museum experts and government officials in both countries and publicizing the museum. The final payoff: "A Thousand Years of Czech Culture" and several visits by ethnic cultural experts to Cedar Rapids.
In recent years, Leora had involved herself in researching and writing about her four ancestor families who came to the United States after 1850. She also traveled to China, Thailand and Egypt and participated in a six-week archeological dig in Petra, Jordan.
She maintained close ties with her brother, Edwin V. (Helen), until his passing; her nephew, Edwin L. (Sheryl); nephew, Robert Pearce and his children, Maj. Matthew (Nebiat) Pearce, Christopher Pearce and Jennifer Pearce; her grandnephew, Ian (Erin); and grandniece, Julie (Edward Nesby).
Memorial donations may be sent to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Pl. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.