The Colfax County Press and the Clarkson Herald Consolidated/Silent messenger summons Anton Odvarka, sr.

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The Colfax County Press and the Clarkson Herald Consolidated, vol. 26, no. 7  (1929) 
Silent messenger summons Anton Odvarka, sr. by anonymous

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Dec. 13, 1866 – Sept. 29, 1929
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Pioneer Clarkson Resident and Widely-Known Newspaper Man Dies Suddenly In His Sleep

It becomes our painful duty this week to chronicle the death of one with whom we had been closely bound. Father has gone to his eternal rest and all that now remains of him is his rememberance. His departure came suddenly Saturday night in his slumber, his death being attributed to heart failure.

Anton Odvarka, sr., was a pioneer resident of Colfax county and perhaps one of the best known lodge and newspaper men among the Bohemian people of this state. He was the founder of the “Domaci Noviny,” a Bohemian newspaper published in Clarkson for many years and besides his newspaper career he was for a number of years head organizer of the Z. C. B. J. order, the leading Bohemian fraternal society in America. It was this occupation that brought him into contact with his countrymen in diverse parts of the country and gained him wide acquaintance.

Father had been enjoying apparently good health and on Saturday was in town as usual attending to his work as local representative of the “Narodni Pokrok,” a weekly paper published at Omaha. He returned home in the late afternoon and enjoyed a hearty supper following which he had made arrangements to attend a party given in honor of his brother-in-law, James Kmoch, residing northwest of Leigh. In the early evening relatives with whom he was to have attended the party called for him at his home. He chatted with them for a moment and because of the light mist which began to fall about that time, he decided to stay at home. He remained home himself and according to neighbors who saw a light in the house up to that time, he retired for the nigh at about ten o’clock and his lifeless body was discovered in the late hours of the night by Mrs. Odvarka and Mr. and Mrs. Frank J. Srb, who came here Saturday from Omaha for a visit. Dr. F. G. Vosika was summoned and upon examination it was found that he died peacefully in his sleep of heart failure without the least bit struggle. His sudden death came as a severe shock not only to the members of the family but the entire community.

The body laid in state at the family home until Tuesday morning, the time of the funeral. The services were in charge of the local Z. C. B. J. order of which the deceased had been a charter member and also one of the organizers: Brief services were conducted at the home by J. R. Vitek, president of the order and J. M. Mundil, had charge of the sad rites at the opera house to which place the remains were escorted by the Z. C. B. J. lodge and a large assembly of friends and relatives. Mr. Mundil, who is an old-time friend of the deceased, delivered a most eloquent and touching farewell eulogy in which he paid high tribute to the work of the deceased and also gave a review of his civic activities, which were numerous. Mr. Mundil and the deceased have worked side by side for many years in lodge work and were friends from the cradle days of this community. The lodge choir sang several hymns during the services at the hall.

In compliance with the wishes of the deceased expressed many years ago, the remains were escorted to Omaha where they were cremated at the Forest Lawn crematory. Services were conducted at the Forest Lawn chapel in the presence of a large gathering of Omaha friends and relatives, by Otakar Charvat, editor of the Narodni Pokrok, who reviewed his life as that of a patriot and loyal son of his native country.

Anton Odvarka, sr., was born in the picturesque hamlet, Ceska Heralec, Bohemia, on the 13th day of December, 1866, and would have attained his 63rd year next December. He spent his boyhood days in the vicinity of his birth and upon completing his studies at the public school, he entered a university where he became a student of theology. When almost through with the course he left the university and departed for America. He came here in 1886 and located in Clarkson which at that time had only a handfull of shacks. Not being accustomed to hard work and there being nothing else here for him to do at the time of his arrival, he engaged in the shoemaker business and besides this took up correspondence work for various Bohemian periodicals. In 1888 he was united in marriage to Miss Josephine Teply, who died in 1892, two sons, Anton and Otto, having been born to their union. In 1894 he married Miss Agnes Kmoch, who remained his companion until parted by death. Two children were born to their union, Bessie and Vladislav, the daughter having proceeded her father in death in Omaha in the year of 1920.

The deceased was the first teacher of Bohemian school in Clarkson. He also became an ardent lodge worker and organized a number of local societies. He was one of the founders of the national Z. C. B. J. order and became its first traveling organizer. He also served as secretary of the two first national conventions held by the association. In addition to other lodge activities, he was one of the organizers of the Bohemian-Slovanic cemetery at Clarkson and for many years acted as its secretary. In later years he abandoned the lodge work and devoted himself exclusively to newspaper work and established the “Domaci Noviny,” a Bohemian weekly which was published here for many years and enjoyed a very liberal patronage. Having disposed of his business interests here, he moved with his family to Omaha where they remained for a number of years and then again returned to Clarkson which remained their home.

The deceased was a public-spirited man and the best years of his life had been devoted to social and fraternal work which will remain as a lasting monument to his memory. He advocated what he believed was right and above all he always aimed to be honest and considerate of others in all of his dealings. He believed that all people were created alike and always lived up to these convictions.

Surviving are the widow and three sons, Anton and Otto, engaged in the printing business in Clarkson and publishers of The Colfax County Press, and Dr. V. L. Odvarka, dental surgeon, also of Clarkson. Besides his family, the deceased leaves a brother, Frank, living near Dodge, and a sister, Mrs. Rudolph Kuzelka, of Omaha, and two sisters and a brother residing in Czechoslovakia.

Peace to his ashes!

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) between 1923 and 1977 (inclusive) without a copyright notice.