Alex Stuchlik was born May 3, 1931, to Charles and Millie Stuchlik on the farm near Lost Springs where he lived his entire life. He passed away Feb. 6, 2015, in Wichita, Kansas.
He is survived by his wife, Jean, and children: son, Christopher and wife, Melissa, of Lincolnville; daughter, Debra and husband, Robert Burns, of Wichita; son, Gary and wife, Jo Ann, of Pilsen; daughter, Diann and husband, Tom Ensz, of Wichita; and daughter, Rita and husband, Kelby Schawe, of Wichita. He is survived by 31 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and his sister Mary Jane Steiner.
He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Adela Makovec, Nettie Horelica, Angela Tajchman, Richard Stuchlik, Olga Tsumpes; and a grandson Anthony Clegg.
Alex attended grades 1-8 in a one-room schoolhouse across the road from the farm where he lived. He graduated from Lost Springs High School in 1949. He farmed with his Dad until his Dad’s death in 1956. He continued to farm, and worked in the oil fields by pumping wells and working on pulling machines. He continued pumping wells into the ’90s.
Alex bought his first welder in the late ’50s to repair farm machinery for himself and his brother, Richard. The brothers and their families were very close, sharing farm equipment, farm labor, and always taking time to celebrate birthdays. Area farmers began to bring welding jobs to Alex for repair. Eventually, he built up a custom welding business. He discovered a talent for creating and fixing things with his welding. Some of his more memorable projects include building a water-well drilling machine from old farm implements, a windmill used to water the garden, and a ditch trencher used to dig the water lines for the farm.
Alex met the love of his life, Jean Watts, on a blind date arranged through mutual friends in 1961. They were married Aug. 11, 1962. The couple attended many polka dances throughout their married life, with dances held in Pilsen on their 40th and 50th anniversaries.
Alex always had a love for music. He was very gifted and could play any song he knew by ear. When he was 15, he bought an old broken accordion for $1. He spent many hours repairing it with wallpaper and glue. That was the beginning of his accordion playing. In the mid-’80s, he formed a Polka band with his children. Throughout the years, he played many events across the state and was well known for the annual Lincolnville Octoberfest and Burdick Labor Day celebrations. He enjoyed every time he played. Customers that came for welding repairs were treated to Polka music. “While repairs are made, Polka music is played.” Even as his knees began to fail, he was determined to play for Father Kapaun day and the annual celebrations in Burdick and Lincolnville.
Alex had a strong faith and passed this on to his children and grandchildren. He and Jean taught high school Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD), he was active on the church board, and was a Eucharistic minister for many years. He also sang in the choir for most of his life.
Alex loved to visit with people and always enjoyed going to social gatherings. He will be greatly missed, but his music and memories will live on.
All services were to be at Holy Family Parish, St. John Nepomucene Church, Pilsen, with the Rosary on Tuesday, and the Funeral Mass today. Interment was to be in the Pilsen Cemetery. A Memorial Fund has been established for the Fr. Kapaun Legacy Fund, in care of Zeiner Funeral Home, 205 Elm, Marion KS 66861.