BRAINARD – Donald E. Soukup was born to Edward and Lucille (Bruner) Soukup on Jan. 3, 1930. He was the oldest of four children.
During his childhood, he attended District No. 45, a rural school, for eight years. It was about six miles southwest of Brainard. He attended Dwight Assumption Parochial School his high school freshman year and completed his last three years at Brainard High School (now, East Butler). He graduated in May 1947 and began farming with his father, Edward.
Don joined the Army on Jan. 17, 1951. He and Vangie Bouc were engaged in May 1951. He completed 13 weeks of Basic Training at Fort Riley, Kan. and was sent to Korea, manning an artillery Howitzer gun and clearing the way for the infantry ground troops. He was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. from June to August 1952.
The couple was married on Sept. 11, 1952 at St. Mary’s Church in Valparaiso, prior to his assignment in Austria and Germany. After his discharge, they lived in a small house seven miles southwest of Brainard, where one daughter, Donna Lynn, was born. The couple moved southeast of Ulysses, where another daughter, Valerie Lea, was born.
Don was employed by Western Electric for two years. In 1963, the family moved to the “home place” farm and lived there for 30 years. In 1993, they built a ranch style house in which they now reside. The family attended Holy Trinity Church, and the two children spent their elementary years at Holy Trinity Parochial School. Their high school years were at East Butler Public school, where Don and Vangie were loyal fans of the girls’ school events.
Don farmed for 63 years, retiring in 2017. He kept busy doing yard work and odd jobs around the farm. He was an active church board member, a Northrup King seed dealer and loved to hunt, fish, bowl, play pool and cards. He especially enjoyed “Darda” and passed his Darda-playing skills onto his grandchildren.
Don had several health issues. In July of 2018, he had a hospital stay with a broken hip. In December, he had an artificial heart valve inserted with a long stay at the Heart Institute. Christmas was spent with all of the family visiting in the hospital and one week later at his home. His health issues kept increasing from January to July, with many emergency room visits and hospital stays. Don died peacefully early morning July 9 at Seward Memorial Hospital.
His greatest joys were his seven grandchildren, his nine great-grandchildren, and receiving the Quilt of Valor in March. Don also has a brick at the Memorial Wall at Columbus and one at Evergreen Park in Brainard which commemorates his service to his country.
Don loved to attend the grandchildren’s activities, especially the boys’ baseball. He gave four-wheeler Honda rides, which were a favorite of all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He had a beloved cat named Pepper, who also rode the Honda with him every day.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Lucille Soukup; parents-in- law, John and Adeline Bouc; sister-in-law, Gail Soukup; and nephew, Allen Kudlacek, who died in the Vietnam War.
Survivors include his wife, Vangie Soukup; daughters, Donna (Ron) Furasek and Valerie (Dave) Tvrdy; seven grandchildren, Jonathan (Allison) Furasek, Jessica Furasek and Ryan Smith, Amanda Furasek, Zachary (Erin) Furasek, Joseph Furasek, Candice (Matt) Martin and Ashley (Ryan) Holt; nine great grandchildren, Lucie and Addy Furasek, Nevaeh Tyler, Trinity and Stryker Youngblood, Derek Martin, Maeble, Jordon and Jackson Holt; brother, Merlyn Soukup; sisters, Maxine Armstead and Darlene (Edwin) Kudlacek; and many cousins and friends.
The funeral service was Saturday, July 13 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Brainard.
Memorials may go to the family, designated for family choice. Online condolences may be left at Zabka-Perdue Funeral Home.