Frank Neil Kucera, Jr. passed away September 4, 2021 at the age of 91. He served honorably in the US Air Force from 1951 to 1955, earning him the right to be cared for until his passing by the extraordinarily loving and caring staff of the Community Living Center at the Fort Meade VA facility in Sturgis, SD.
Frank was born February 2, 1930 in Gregory, South Dakota to Anna (Musilek) and Frank Kucera, Sr. He graduated from Gregory High School in 1948, just one day after his Mother’s unexpected death. He went on to attend SDSU in Brookings, but at his father’s request, left college after one year to return home to help on the family farm. He travelled to Lead, SD during the slow winter months on the farm where he worked for the Homestake Mining Company and met his future wife, Frances Peerboom. With the Korean War heating up, he enlisted in the Air Force in December 1951. He was assigned to FE Warren AFB in Cheyenne, WY. He attended and excelled in electronics training and was subsequently asked to stay on as an instructor. While at FE Warren, he proposed to Fran by mailing her an engagement ring in a candy box. She accepted, so Frank took a 3 day pass and they were married on April 12, 1953 at St. Patrick’s Church in Lead, SD. Upon discharge in December 1955, they moved back to Lead where he once again hired on at Homestake, remaining there until his retirement as the Electrical Department Head in 1991. As he had during his 37 years at Homestake, he continued to do electrical work around the community in the evenings and on weekends, eventually having worked on nearly every house in Lead. He renewed his electrical license for the last time at age 80.
Between his service to the community, walking to work every day during his tenure at Homestake, no matter the weather, and walking 5 miles per day after retiring, he was an icon in the community. His service included a term on the school board, President of the Lead Recreation Association and teaching CCD classes at St. Patrick’s church, where he was an active member.
He was an avid sports fan, attended every one of his children’s events and rarely missed a Lead High sporting event. He also coached his boys to school records in track and field. In spite of a work ethic that was second to none, he always put his family first. After family, work and sports, gardening was his personal passion. He cultivated a legendary raspberry patch and vegetable garden which he gladly shared with all of us, neighbors included.
Frank was proceeded in death by his wife of nearly 61 years, Frances Ruth (Peerboom), his parents, siblings Marvin, Dorothy, LaVerne and Joyce. He is survived by his brother Bill (Myrna), his four children Cheryl Vomhof (Dean), Jack Kucera (Vianne), Scott Kucera (Robyn), Marianna Morrison (Todd), and seven grandchildren, Cara Vomhof, Michael Vomhof, Robert Vomhof, Troy Kucera (Stephanie), Cory Kucera (Jailing), Neil Kucera (Julie), Sarah Morrison and coming this December to Neil and Julie, his first great grandchild, yet to be named.
A service honoring the life of Frank will be held at 10 AM September 17th at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Lead, followed by a full military honors burial service at Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Homestake Opera House or St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, both in Lead, SD.
Arrangements are under the care of the Lead-Deadwood Memorial Chapel in Lead. Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com.
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