Halata, Bernard “Barney” Joseph


Source Unknown
Friday, May 29, 1987

Bernard Halata Laid to Rest

Bernard Halata, of Houston, was laid to rest at Ascension Church Cemetery, at Moravia, Texas, Thursday, May 21, 1987.

Bernard was born September 29, 1929, in Lavaca County, which he always considered his home. He was the fifth child born to Aloysia Olsovsky Halata and the late Joseph Halata.

At the age of 4 years, Bernard started first grade at Old Kinkler School which he attended through the 10th grade. Bernard then attended Moravia High School through the 11th grade. He met his future wife, Dorothy Rektorik at Moravia School.

With the intention of attending the twelfth grade he moved to Weimar to live with his older sister; he graduated at Weimar High School at the age of 16. He then attended college and received a teacher’s certificate at the age of 17.

Bernard then taught the next two years at Old Kinkler School. He then moved to Houston. On October 10, 1949, he married Dorothy. During the next 17 years of their 37 years of marriage they were blessed with eight children, 5 boys and 3 girls: Michael, Richard, David, Thomas, Mary, Regina, Theresa and Mark.

Throughout his life Bernard was a dedicated Catholic, husband, father, grandfather, and employee, and yet he always had time for the community and for his many friends when it was asked of him. No matter what was asked of him by his family, his employer, by the church, and also by the Knights of Columbus, he answered the call, many times above and beyond what was expected of him.

Bernard will not only be loved and missed by his family, but will also be missed by hundreds of friends he made throughout this short 57 years here on earth. He was laid to rest at Moravia, but will never be laid to rest in the hearts and minds of those who new and understood him the best. We will always love and miss you Barney. – Contributed.

Houston Chronicle, 21 May 1987


Bernard “Barney” Halata, 57, beloved husband, father, Grandpa, “Pa-Pa”, passed away May 19, 1987.

Member of the Catholic Community of St. Luke’s The Evangelist. Employed by American General Life Ins. Company for 38 years where he served as the Ass’t Vice President-Manager of Graphics Services. He was the Vice President of Houston Association of In-Plant Printing. Member of Knights of Columbus, past Grand Knight, District Deputy, former State Warden and served on numerous State Committees for the Knights of Columbus. Member of the Peter and Paul K.J.T Society, Moravia, TX. Coach and Board Member of Edgewood American Little League. Obtained a teaching certificate at the young age of 17, and taught two years at Boethel School, Lavaca County, TX before coming to Houston.

Preceded in death by his father, Joseph Halata, Houston and his sister, Ollie Pohl.

Survived by wife Dorothy Halata, Houston; sons, Michael Halata and wife, Linda, League City, Richard Halata and wife, Celeste, Pearland, David Halata and wife, Diane, Halletsville, Thomas Halata and wife, Debra, Houston and Mark Halata, Houston; daughters, Mary Ann Gardner and husband, Mark, Houston, Regina Rayner and husband Dudley, Houston, and Theresa Howell and husband Earl, Houston; 15 grandchildren; mother, Aloysia Halata, Halletsville; mother-in-law, Lillie Rektorik, Hallettsville; brother, Father William Halata, Houston, TX; sisters, Mary Anders and husband, Eddie, Weimar, TX., Leona Sooter and husband Charles, Los Angeles, CA., Bernice Nowak and husband, Marvin “Brother-in-law”, Pearland; brother-in-law, Alfred Pohl, Hallettsville; sister-in-law, Daryln Smith, Houston; numerous nieces and nephews.

Rosary 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, St. Luke’s Catholic Church. Mass of Christian Burial 10:00 a.m. Thursday, May 21, 1987, St. Luke’s The Evangelist Catholic Church, 11011 Hall Road with Rev. Dominic Pistone Jr. and Rev. William Halata, co-celebrants.

Graveside services and interment 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Ascension Church Cemetery, Moravia, Texas. Pallbearers: Floyd Tafelski, Thomas Coler, David Korkmas, Alfred Stryk, Leonard Kuenstler, Stan Loibl, and Bill Cowart. Honorary Pallbearers: All Past Grand Knights of Knights of Columbus Council No. 4577.

Your love will be with us forever. We know that you will continue to watch over and guide us. We will miss you. Daddy, we love you.

Both obituaries contributed by Sandra Long Anders

Source: Lavaca County Obituaries


Koenig, Doris (Giese)

Doris Giese Koenig, 90 years young, passed peacefully into the arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ, on Saturday, the 29th of September 2012, at her home of 64 years in Houston.

Doris graduated from Southwest Texas State University where she was an honor student and a college beauty. She was a devoted wife to Victor L. Koenig for 67 years and loving mother to Bill Koenig and Diane Koenig Holden. As a devoted follower of Christ, who lived a life full of love and faithfulness, she was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Houston for 67 years and was Moderator of Presbyterian Women there from 1969 to 1970. She was an avid gardener and a member of the Afton Oaks Gardeners, holding leadership roles within the organization. Doris was a member of the Texas A & M Mother’s Club and an avid Aggie fan. She saw the good in all she met and was everyone’s supporter and encourager.

She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Alma Giese of West Point, Texas; her loving husband, Victor Koenig; and her brother, H.C. Giese, of West Point. Doris’ focus was on her Lord and her family. She is survived by her sister, Annette Binning of Dayton, Ohio; son and wife, Bill and Susan Koenig of West Point; daughter and husband, Diane and Don Holden of Missouri City; grandchildren, Kristi and Terry Bryan, Andy and Angela Holden, all of Richmond, Texas, and Lee and Rachel Koenig of Plano, Texas. She is also survived by her great-grandchildren, whom she loved dearly, Ashleigh Holden, Luke and Daniel Bryan as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank Phil Ditto, Adrienne Kipp, and Susan O’Neil for their love and support in the passing of their mother.

Source: Koenig & Strickland Funeral Home-La Grange, Texas

Vasut, Estella Justina (Coufal)


Estella Justina Vasut, 92, of Houston, Texas (formerly of Fayetteville, Texas), passed away on Saturday, July 2, 2011, at Trucare Living Center in Columbus, Texas.

Estella was born in Fayetteville, Texas, on October 7, 1918, the daughter of the late Emil and Johanna “Jennie” (Slovacek) Coufal. She was baptized by Rev. Henry Juren in the Fayetteville Brethren Church and was confirmed at Industry Brethren Church by Rev. Anton Motycka where she played the organ for the confirmation class.

Estella married Edward “Eddie” W. Vasut on August 7, 1938, in La Grange, Texas after which they moved to Dallas. During WWII they moved to Freeport where her husband accepted a job in the Dow Chemical Plant. In 1959 they moved to Houston. She worked as a Sales Clerk for Palais Royale and retired in 1982 after 18 years of service.

Estella was a life-long member of the Unity of the Brethren Church, a member of the Christian Sisters Society in Fayetteville and Houston, an honorary member of the Fayetteville Brethren Christian Sisters Society and an organist/pianist at both churches. She was also active in the PTA and volunteered in the school library.

She is survived by three sons: Edward James Vasut and wife, Nancy, of Columbus; David Dean Vasut and wife, Janis, and Terry Lee Vasut and wife, Karen all of Houston; sister Doris Miller and husband, Leland; sister-in-law Adelle Coufal all of Fayetteville; four grandchildren: Brent David Vasut and wife, Sara; Sarah Louise Vasut Rose and husband, John; Rachel Louise Vasut Phan and husband, Quan; and Lindsey Leigh Vasut; three great grandchildren: Claire Katherine, Carsten Alexander, and Caden Brent Vasut; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Estella was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Eddie, who passed away on October 6, 2007; daughter Roxanne Vasut Harris; brother Emmett Coufal; and sister Ruby Reid.

Visitation will be held from 9:00 to 10:30 A.M. on Tuesday, July 5, 2011, at Fayetteville Brethren Church in Fayetteville.

Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 A.M., immediately following visitation, on Tuesday, July 5, 2011, at Fayetteville Brethren Church with Rev. Milton Maley and Rev. Vanessa Mitchell officiating. A private burial will be held at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery in Houston.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Fayetteville Brethren Church Building Fund, P. O. Box 11, Fayetteville, TX 78940.

Source: Koenig & Strickland Funeral Home


Kana, John “Johnny”


John “Johnny” Kana, 87, of Houston, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 in Houston.

John was born in Hostyn, Texas on December 28, 1924, the son of the late Frank J. Kana and Emile (Cernoch) Kana and the grandson of John and Marie Kana. He married Frances Cernosek in Holman, Texas on November 8, 1948. They were married 60 years before her passing on July 8, 2009. She was the love of his life and a devoted partner. After her passing, life was never complete and they can now be together eternally in Heaven.

John was very proud of his Czech heritage having grown up on his family’s farm in Hostyn and attending school in Hostyn. Throughout his life, he attended many of the Czech social functions in the communities surrounding the Houston and La Grange area. He was a past charter member of the POLKA Lovers Club of America and one of his greatest enjoyments was dancing the polka and waltzing to the tunes of his favorite Czech bands with his wife.

John was also proud to serve his country in WWII by joining the U.S. Navy in April, 1944. He took his training in San Diego, California and was then assigned to a destroyer escort, the USS Dennis (DE 405). He participated in numerous island invasions in the Pacific. Beginning on October 12, 1944, the Dennis screened the escort carriers and supplied the air cover for the invasion of Leyte. Arriving at Leyte on October 17, 1944, the Dennis joined her carriers (the combined unit was designated as Seventh Fleet Task Unit 77.4.3, radio call sign, Taffy III). History was made as they fought a gallant action with the Japanese counter-attacking force in the Battle of Samar phase of the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The Dennis rescued 434 survivors from the bombed St. Lo. For this action the Dennis shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to “Taffy III” and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Four Bronze Stars. In this battle, John was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart. He was discharged from the U.S. Navy in February, 1946 having been previously awarded the American Campaign Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.

John and his wife attended many of the Dennis Shipmate Reunions held throughout the country. As the number of the Dennis shipmates diminished, the reunion was combined with the survivors of the St. Lo. These reunions were a highlight of his life. He loved to listen and tell the stories of his battle days with his comrades and with his family.

After his discharge from the Navy, John moved to Houston in 1947 and found employment at Wyatt Industries, where he was employed for 37 years until the shop was closed. He then went to work for General Welding Company until he retired in 1988.

John was a member of St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Houston, Texas and a member of the Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Hostyn, Texas. He was a member of the Father Diefenbach Knights of Columbus Council 4550 in which he was awarded a 50 year pin in April, 2011. He was a member of the VFW Post 8790 of Spring Branch, Houston, Texas.

John was a caring and loving husband, father, brother, grandfather and great grandfather and was lovingly called “Papa John” by his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He lived a full and incredible life and although he will be truly missed, he is at peace and has found eternal life with his wife in Heaven.

He is survived by daughter, Patricia Guinn and husband, Fred of Baytown; son, Richard Kana and wife, Susan of Lexington; two brothers: Willie Kana and wife, Dorothy, Frank Kana, Jr.; two sisters: Rosie Hall and husband, A.F., Agnes Niesner and numerous nieces and nephews; five grandchildren: Stephen Guinn and wife, Paige, Travis Guinn and wife, Teri, Johnathan Kana and wife, Elyse, Matthew Kana and wife, Amanda, Katy Kana and fiancé, Matt Weintritt; four great grandchildren: Kara Frances Guinn, Hunter Owen Guinn, Claire Elizabeth Guinn and Marin Gayle Guinn.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; granddaughter, Crystal Dawn Kana; brother, Stanley Kana and wife, Lillian; two brothers-in-law: Ben Kolek and Ben Niesner; and sister-in-law, Emily D. Kana.

Source: Koenig & Strickland Funeral Home


Zbranek, James “Jim” Harley


James “Jim” Harley Zbranek, 77, of Houston and Industry, Texas, passed away on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at Northwest Memorial Hospital in Houston, Texas.

Jim was born in Industry, Texas on November 5, 1934, the son of the late Jerry and Annie Emilie (Zaskoda) Zbranek.

He attended Industry School at an early age and later attended Bellville High School. He went to work in the oilfield and then later married his first wife, Joycelyn Schulz. Jim then enlisted into the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany. They had three children, Cheryl Ann, Judy and Jerome. After returning from Germany the couple made their home in The Heights in Houston, Texas where Jim had held several jobs with Wyatt Millen, Hugo Haverman and Texaco. He then made a career as a Houston Firefighter where he later retired. He then married Marene Bernshausen Tipp on September 25, 1998.

Jim was a member of the Knights of Columbus 2917 of Houston, Texas. He enjoyed the cookouts where he barbequed for many of the fire department picnics including the Symposium and many Mayoral functions including weddings, anniversaries and at his daughter, Judy’s wedding.

He is survived by his wife, Marene; daughter, Judith “Judy” Zbranek Kubecka and husband, Commissioner James Kubecka of Praha, Texas; stepson, Randall Tipp and wife, Marsha of Sealy, Texas; brother, Julius Zbranek and wife, Yoshi, of Lacy, Washington; sister, Beatrice Hornak and husband, Laddie, of Houston, Texas; two grandsons: James Vincence of Waco, Texas and Bradley Kubecka of Praha, Texas; two step grandchildren: Jacob Tipp and fiancée Amy Terry and Janie Tipp.

He was preceded in death by his parents; first wife, Joycelyn (Schulz) Zbranek on April 18, 1992; daughter, Cheryl Ann Zbranek and son, Jerome David Zbranek.

Sources: Koenig & Strickland Funeral Home

Family Names: Zbranek, Zaskoda, Kubecka, Hornak

Hajek Jr., Felix Frank


Felix Frank Hajek Jr. of Houston passed away May 5, 2012 at the age of 77. He was born in Praha October 19, 1934 to the late Felix A. and Frances (Korbel) Hajek.

He is preceded in death by his parents and grandparents. Felix is survived by numerous cousins.

Visitation will start Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm at Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Flatonia. Rosary will be Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm at Smith Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 10:00 am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Praha with Father Gabriel Maison officiating. Burial will follow in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Praha.

Words of comfort may be shared with the family at

Smith Funeral Home, 128 East 5th Street, Flatonia, Texas 78941

Source: Smith Funeral Home-Flatonia, TX


Places of Research in Texas


E.A. Arnim Archives and Museum                                                                                           

101 W. North Main (Hwy 95) and Penn Street

Flatonia, TX


Open 3rd Sat. in April to the 1st Sat. in Dec. from 1p.m. to 4 p.m.


Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

5300 Caroline

Houston, TX 77004-6896


Czech Heritage Society of Texas Library and Archives

4117 Willowbend Dr

Houston, TX 77025-5705



Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives

855 S. Jefferson

La Grange, TX 78945


Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center       

250 West Fairgrounds Road

La Grange, TX 78945


Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm


Institute of Texan Cultures   

801 E. Cesar Chavez Blvd.

San Antonio, TX 78025



Monday-Saturday -9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sunday- Noon-5 p.m.