OBITUARY - JOE JUNIOR "JAKE" JEZEK
J. Junior "Jake" JEZEK
was a man of simple pleasures--An early morning sunrise, the melodic song of the robin, a fun-filled Sunday afternoon with
family, a music jam with dearest of music friends, the purple martin's arrival in early spring or the discovery of an
Indian artifact. These were the joys that brightened his life.
Joe Junior JEZEK, known by relatives and friends as "Jake," was born south of Diagonal, Iowa, on a farm which was
homesteaded by his great-great-grandfather, Anton JEZEK, Jr., in 1856. He was the only child born to Joseph Anton and
Matilda Marie (SKROH) JEZEK, his birth date being January 15, 1920. He departed this life on August 19, 2000, at the age
of 80 years, seven months and four days, on this same farm, the land he loved.
Jake was an only child; therefore, he learned to entertain himself at an early age. He and each of his faithful canine
companions combed the family farm from boundary to boundary always searching and finding nature's many wonders. He and
childhood friends, Don and Leonard SOBOTKA, always took an annual Easter swim, climbed the tallest trees and ice skated
on all of the local creeks and rivers.
Jake's school days began at Washington #4 Lincoln country school and he later completed his education at Diagonal high
school. After graduating from high school in 1938, Jake began working full-time on the family farm with his father.
Although his formal education ended with a high school diploma, he was one of the brightest self-taught learners. He was
a master of mechanics and nature.
On August 19, 1944, he was united in marriage to Bertha Mae BROWN. Seven years later on January 18, 1951, a daughter
Barbara Elaine was born.
Jake was a talented musician with an ear for music. He began playing at age eight when he sold his pet pig to purchase
his first accordion from Sears Roebuck. He played the clarinet in the high school band and after high school he joined a
Bohemian band that traveled throughout southern Iowa and northern Missouri. On any given night, Jake could be found
playing a variety of instruments. If he could run a musical scale, it was his to play. He continued to play regularly
throughout his life and toward the end, when his body was succumbing to sickness, music became a major portion of the
medicine that kept him going.
In addition to music, family was very important to Jake. After retiring from the farm, he continued to watch his
son-in-law Jerry STEPHENS work the land. Grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren also played an important role
in his life. Even on the toughest days, he could find a smile and clever response for the little folks.
Jake was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Matilda (SKROH) JEZEK and parents-in-law, Vern and Beatrice
Survivors include his loving wife of 56 years, Bertha; his beloved daughter Barb (husband Jerry STEPHENS); two cherished
granddaughters, Lesa (husband Roger DOLECHECK) of rural Beaconsfield, Iowa and Terri (husband Matt HIGGINS) of Diagonal;
and four adorable great-grandchildren, Kirsten and Kyle DOLECHECK and Alyssa and Cole HIGGINS; one brother-in-law Vern
"Bud" BROWN (wife Jeane) of Des Moines; four sisters-in-law, Doris (husband Bill) OVERHOLSER of Diagonal, Evelyn (husband
Sam) SICKELS of Mount Ayr, Janis (husband Elbert) SOBOTKA of Zearing, Iowa and Donna (husband Bill) DODSON of Greenfield,
Iowa; six nieces, six nephews, great-nephews and nieces, his Czech cousins and his "adopted" family, The STEPHENS Fifteen,
along with a never-ending list of friends and caring neighbors.
Services were on Tuesday, August 22, 2000 at the United Church of Diagonal with Reverend Pam FARREN and Reverend Eydie
STEPHENS officiating. Judy NEWTON and Cindy RHODES provided music. Casket bearers were Dave STEPHENS, Jim STEPHENS, John
STEPHENS, Don STEPHENS, Jack STEPHENS, Kenny STEPHENS and Steve STEPHENS.
Jake was laid to rest in the Bohemian Cemetery, Diagonal.
Wilson-Watson & Armstrong Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.
Transciption by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2010
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