By HDN Staff
Lada James Kafka, 78, died Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2000 at a Havre hospital following a long battle with cancer.
Private memorial services are being planned by the family at the Eleskay Ranch.
Kafka was born on the family homestead near Fort Assinniboine southwest of Havre on Aug.
23, 1922 to George and Josefa (Rypalova) Kafka, immigrants from Czechoslovakia.
He attended a country school near the farm and graduated from Havre High School in 1939. He continued his education at Northern Montana College.
Kafka took over the family farm following his father's death. He married Sylvia Sara Schafer on June 7, 1944 in Chester. They made their home on the farm. They lived in Havre briefly in the 1950s when he worked for the ASCS, but returned to the farm. He was active in farm operations from 1941 to 1998.
Kafka was a Democratic state senator from Hill County in the 1965 Legislature. He served as vice chairman of the journal committee in that session. He also served on the agriculture, commerce, and labor committees, and the fish and game committee. During the 1967 session, he was chairman of the public lands and journal committees and served on the agriculture, commerce, labor and taxation committees.
Kafka and his wife enjoyed traveling and made several trips back to the Czech Republic from 1975 to 1993 to visit relatives. He also sponsored four visits by relatives to the United States in the 1980s. The Kafkas wintered in Sun City, Ariz. to be close to Kafka's brother, George.
Kafka was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother, George, who died in January.
Survivors include his wife, Sylvia of south Havre; son, Kim Kafka of south Havre; daughters, Ladene Mangold of Big Sandy, Deitra Kraske of south Havre, and Dorcie Dvarishkis of Missoula; sister, May Drga of Big Sandy; 11 grandchildren; one great-grandson; numerous nephews, nieces and relatives in the Czech Republic.
Memorials are suggested to the Gift of Life in Great Falls or the Northern Montana Hospital Foundation in Havre.
Cremation and arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel in Chester.