Wesley Vondracek, 76, of Cedar Rapids, died Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, at the Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House after a long battle with prostate cancer. A Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. Burial will follow in St. John's Cemetery. Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14, at Brosh Chapel and The Avacentre in Cedar Rapids, located at 2121 Bowling St. SW.
Wesley was born Sept. 27, 1941, in Cedar Rapids, the son of Joseph and Marie (Kucera) Vondracek. He attended Czech school for several years on Third Street SE. He graduated with the first class from Regis High School in 1958. He was in the U.S. Army Reserves, stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for six years. Shortly after being in the reserves, he met his wife, Michele Lorenzen. He married Michele on Oct. 14, 1972, at St. Wenceslaus Church, where he attended elementary school and was a longtime parishioner as well. He opened Cedar Acres Custom Meat Processing, where he was a butcher and meat processor for 49 years until it flooded in 2008, causing him to retire "early." He was a member of Western Fraternal Club, Cedar Rapids Snow Ski Club, Knights of Columbus, Iowa Locker Association, Sokol's Gymnastic Club and Czech Catholic Union, and a longtime supporting member of the University of Iowa Scholarship and Athletic Foundation.
Wesley loved life. He was a lifetime Hawkeye fan, attending numerous Iowa men's football and men's basketball games. This love and passion for the game took him to many bowl trips over the years, including the "granddaddy" of them all, the Rose Bowl in 1981. He also went to Hawaii with Lute Olson and his team for the Hawaii Classic in December 1970.
He loved watching his children and grandchildren play. He loved to go boating, waterskiing and snow skiing. He was an avid car collector, mostly Mustangs and T-Birds, attending many car shows over the years. He loved listening to his weekly Sunday morning polka music on the radio. Never missed one!
His love of travel took him many other places as well, even to Las Vegas to see Elvis. He went to Czechoslovakia in 1968 with his mother, Marie, when the Russians invaded. While they were there, their taxi got "held" up by the Russians. They demanded there was gasoline in the trunk at gunpoint, when the taxi driver did not comply, Dad told him, "Open the trunk, I want to go home!" The only way to get out of the country was through Austria. Some hair-raising travel as well. 100% Czech Power.
Wes was a very hardworking man his whole life, being a butcher and meat processor for years. He was widely known for his deer products. Even after his business flooded in 2008, the customers still kept calling and stopping by, wanting his "secret recipes," which only he knew. He had a couple of pets he loved dearly, Peaches and Sasha (who is currently holding down his recliner at home).
We will all miss him more than he knows. He had "the heart of a lion, the skin of a rhino and the soul of an angel." A true champ! A fighter to the very end of his long, brave, courageous battle with prostate cancer. He fought hard for over 21 years. He was a true picture of strength and resilience during the face of adversity, between this illness and the devastating loss of his only son, Jason. He never gave up, not once! We are at peace knowing he is going home to be with God and reuniting with Jason (who passed almost 21 years ago).
Wes leaves behind his wife, Michele; daughters, Kim and Kristin Vondracek; his grandchildren, Alexis Vondracek and Detrick Vondracek; his brother, Lumir Vondracek; sisters-in-law, Arlene Vondracek, Barb Vondracek and Betty Bedell; as well as his nieces, nephews, their children, relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Roy, George, Jerry, Joe Jr. (Jean) and Ray Vondracek; his beloved son, Jason Vondracek; and a sister-in-law, Rose Vondracek.
Memorials may be directed to the family.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.broshchapel.com.