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Creston News-Advertiser
Creston, Union County, Iowa
January 21, 1988


Otto SOBOTKA, 92, of Diagonal, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 13, 1988, at the Ringgold County Hospital at Mount Ayr.

He was born Oct. 29, 1895 in Diagonal, the son of Mandel and Anna (JIRACEK) SOBOTKA. On Feb. 25, 1917, he married Albena JEZEK in Diagonal.

Mr. SOBOTKA was a lifelong resident of Diagonal and a retired farmer.

He is survived by his wife, Albena of Diagonal; three sons, Robert of Shelton, Wash., Marvin and wife, Margaret SOBTKA of Diagonal, and Carrol and wife, Marlene SOBOTKA of Diagonal; a daughter, Dorothy SOBOTKA of Diagonal; eight grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Saturday morning at the United Church of Diagonal with the Rev. Eydie STEPHENS officiating. Burial was at the Bohemian Cemetery.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2010

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
January, 1988


What is living? It is trouble and risk, struggle and worry, accomplishment and failure, love and death on the way, and a little bit of everything including fun. Life is a challenge and everyone tackles it in a different manner and at different times. When we think of centuries we think of long periods of time. It was toward the end of the last century that the last child and only boy was born to Emmanuel and Anna JIRACEK SOBOTKA. On October 29, 1895, they claimed him and promptly named him Otto Emmanuel. This exciting event took place in a litle white house which is still standing in the town of Diagonal. Otto was welcomed by half-sisters, Alma, who was later married to Lester WILEY, Anastazia, who died in 1907 at the age of 20 years, and Agnes, who later married Howard WOODS. One half-sister, Vlasta, had died in 1890 after only six months of life. The girls' mother, Anna PETERKA SOBOTA, had passed on in 1890 and Emmanuel had since remarried.

Otto, known as "Pug" to many, grew up in Diagonal and attended the Public School there. While he was growing up he also helped his dad in the store, a General Merchandise store located near or at the site of the present bank or post office.

In 1911 Emmanuel sold the store and moved his family south of town to the family farm, the one on the corner where Mark GARRET now lives. Otto farmed with his father here until marriage. It was during a good friend's wedding dance that one of Frank and Barbara KRECKY JEZEK'S pretty daughters took Otto's eye. After a long courtship, Otto and Albena Barbara JEZEK tied the knot on Feburary 25, 1917. It was then that Emmanuel moved back to town to manage the Farmer's Market and Otto and his bride took over the family farm. This was also home to Robert Milton, Dorothy Irene and Marvin Lee, who all found a niche in the SOBOTKA household. Later came hard times and drought, which caused the family to move in 1934 to the farm now owned by son, Marvin. It was while here that the last son, Carol Wayne, better known as Ossie, came along.

Otto, Albena and family tenderly cared for Otto's mother during the last three years of her life. Grandma had fallen and was bedfast for a long time. When Albena was down with a badly infected leg, Grandma Anna needed care and Ossie was small, Otto helped out everywhere -- even to baking bread -- one couldn't go to town and grab a loaf off the shelf in those days.

After years of hard work Otto, Albena and family moved in 1946 to the farm now owned by son, Carol. They lived here until 1960 when Carol and family moved from Des Moines to the farm. Otto had constructed, mostly by himself, a new house in Diagonal and it was here that they enjoyed retirement -- almost. They always had a big garden and lived off the produce of hard labor. Otto was kept busy being the number one town and country handyman -- electrician, carpenter, mason, or whatever anyone wanted done.

Being born in the last of one century and living to nearly the end of the next century is in itself a great accomplishment. Otto met that challenge and was ready for the peaceful end which came January 13, 1988, at th Ringgold County Hospital in Mount Ayr. Gramps, as the nurses called him, bore his illnes with utmost courage. His courage, no doubt, was inborn as his grandfather, Joseph SOBOTKA, too, had courage. Grandfather Joe had emigrated from Bohemia to America in 1867 with his wife and three children -- one being Otto's father, Emmanuel.

Think of all the events a century brings: the Chautauquas, one big one in 1917 in Lenox when a famous Bohemian band performed, of the wireless, motion pictures with sound, the automatic rifle, radio, television, automobiles, tractors, airplanes, helicopters, hydroplanes, many wars, space travel, and missiles, to name but a few. Yes, Otto had seen many changes during this long period of time.

Those left to remember Otto are Albena, his faithful wife for almost 71 years; son Robert of Shelton, Washington and daughter-in-law, Shirley, of Des Moines, Dorothy of the home, Marvin and wife, Margaret, and Carol and wife, Arlene, all of near Diagonal. Eight grandchildren survive him, as do 11 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

This poem by an unknown author is from Albena's scrapbook. It tells Otto's story perfectly.

The hands that did so much for us
How helplessly they lay
God knows they worked continuously
But they are still today.

Rest in peace, your work is ended
Sweetly sleep, your race is run,
You have gone where those who love you
Soon are coming one by one.

Funeral services were held January 16, 1988, from the United Church of Diagonal at Diagonal, Iowa, conducted by Rev. Eydie STEPHENS. Music was provided by organist Mrs. Harold TAYLOR.

Casketbearers were Rex SOBOTKA, Jim SOBOTKA, David WILEY, Gary SOBOTKA, Doug SOBOTKA and Randy SOBOTKA. Honorary pallbearers were Robert GRACE, Ron OVERHOLSER, Alan BENTLEY and Richard SKARDA. Burial was in Bohmeian Cemetery at Diagonal, Iowa.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2012

To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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