DANIEL KUCERA obituary
Daniel Bernard Kucera, 76, a retired railroad engineer, died at his home Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005, from complications of meylodysplastic syndrome, a disease of the blood.
A prayer vigil will be 7 p.m. Thursday and the funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. Friday, both at St. Jude's Catholic Church with the Rev. Robert D. Grosch offi-
ciating. Burial will follow at the Highland Cemetery and a luncheon will be held at the St. Jude Parish Center immediately after the services at the graveside.
Daniel was born to Louis and Helen Svoboda Kucera in Prague, Neb., on May 24, 1928. He attended St. John's Catholic School in Prague, until he was in the third grade, when the family moved to Brainard, Nebraska. He finished his elementary education there, attending Holy Trinity Catholic School and then moved on to Brainard Public High School. During those years he worked on the railroad. After his junior year, worked at Kellogg in Omaha during the summer months.
In June of 1946, upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was honorably discharged on April of 1948. He attended boot camp in San Diego and then served a six-month tour of duty in China. His ship, the USS Wiltse DD-766, was attached to the Chinese Navel Academy in Tsingtas. In late March, because of the Communist Revolution, they left Tsingtas and moved to a naval base in southern Japan. Then it was back to the United States and into dry dock and his discharge.
The train trip from Seattle to Omaha was interrupted by a stopover in Havre, where he and another sailor spent two days. They were very impressed with the friendliness of the people and the pace of life. Back on the train, he was seated at a table in the diner with an older man and they talked about the future. Dan told him he had enjoyed his stay in Havre and hoped to come back if things didn't work out back in Nebraska. The man told Dan that if he ever returned to Havre, he would give Dan a job or see to it that he could get one from one of his friends. He returned to Nebraska and found that there was not much going on there, jobwise. With Montana on his mind and his mustering out check in hand, he headed up to Montana. Instead of going on to Havre, he got off in Glasgow, where his brother and family lived, and found work with a plumbing contractor as a laborer. In September, a co-worker was going to Havre to attend college at Northern Montana College. Dan went along to see if he could get in and found that everyone with the GI Bill was welcomed. He enrolled in the secondary education program. Needing extra money, he went job hunting and ended up working in the Havre Laundry plant for the gentleman he had met on the train and also as a clerk at the Great Northern Railway. In June of 1950, he went to work as a locomotive fireman, until he was recalled to the Navy for the Korean conflict in June of 1951. He served until September of 1952, when he returned to Havre and continued his work on the Great Northern. In 1953, he enrolled at Creighton University in Omaha.
In September of 1954, he met Mary Margaret McBride and they were married on May 27, 1955 in Blue Hill, Neb. Dan decided then to return to Havre where he continued to work as an engineer for the railroad, and he and his wife raised their seven children.
After 41 years, Dan retired from the Burlington Northern Railway on May 1, 1990. He and his wife enjoyed traveling to see their children and their families during the years immediately following their retirement, but also found that it was nice to be able to spend time at their home and to enjoy their friends in Havre. Dan enjoyed working in his flowerbeds each summer and was an avid reader.
He was preceded in death by his parents, six brothers and a grandson, Thomas Kucera.
Survivors include his wife Margaret of Havre; children, Mike (Pat) of Ann Arbor, Mich., Tim (Jeanne) of Duluth, Minn., Mark of Billings, Eva (Ed) Tucholski of Annapolis, Md., David (Cathy) of Jefferson City, Tenn., Margaret of Madison, Wis., and Daniel of Missoula; two brothers in Nebraska; two sisters in Nebraska; and 11 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. Jude Parish Center, P.O. Box 407, Havre, MT 59501 or to Bear Paw Hospice 30 West 13th Street Havre, MT 59501.
Services and arrangements are under the direction of Holland & Bonine Funeral Home.