Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Jan Emil Kucera: 03/01/1935 - 12/15/2023
Jan Kucera was a complicated and fascinating man who was born and raised in communist Czechoslovakia, immigrated to the United States of America after becoming a well-respected mathematician, and lived a really exciting and interesting life as a proud naturalized American. He was an adventurous man and took up many great hobbies during his life.
Over the years Jan eagerly took up painting, alpine and cross country skiing, mountain climbing, kayaking, gardening, wood working, gardening, and developed a nearly insatiable love of traveling the world; which he did during the golden age of travel. He was even declared the most traveled man ever to be born in Czechoslovakia at one point, and collected countries to the point of having gone everywhere except Antarctica. One of his greatest triumphs of all was visiting Cuba on a 'religious interest' visa, and he certainly made the most of that!
Most of his greatest stories relate to his numerous travels, and I challenge you to find someone else who would dream of traveling to Angola the way that most of us would talk about a trip to Bora Bora. But that was Jan! He had a very unique perspective on the world that could only be gained by actually seeing it, and his stories were far more colorful than any travel brochure. He was so interested in travel that he would often be planning his next trip while still on an exciting trip. This of course led to so many stories.
One particularly fun story that really highlights his personality and humor perfectly was a time when he was walking in a park in the Czech Republic and spoke with a maintenance lady about the peacocks that live there. On the way back from his walk, a completely different lady (not particularly pretty or young, and quite overweight) was tending the garden and he tried to continue in the conversation, mistaking her for the one from the morning. The lady did not know what he was talking about and once he realized his error, he excused himself by saying "I am sorry, I mistook you for another lady, who was almost as beautiful as you are".
Jan triumphantly married the love of his life (Vera Theodore) in 1984 and she provided great stability and comfort for him that would last for the rest of his life. They were a wonderful pairing and loved to entertain their many friends at the family home in Pullman. Many a party was had where there was plenty of food, wine, music, and dancing. Great classic meals from the old country were enjoyed and plenty of stories were told. Although he was thrust into fatherhood quite suddenly, he learned to become a wonderful father and provided steady support and guidance to his family through patience and generosity.
Although it's certainly no fun growing older, Jan managed that feat quite gracefully into his mid-80s, and even recurring bouts with prostate cancer couldn't stop him from living his best life as he defeated it on a number of occasions. His steady devotion to Vera was always evident, and they really enjoyed their twilight years together all the way up until this past July when time and health concerns finally became too much to overcome.
Jan was preceded in death by his younger brother (Pavel) and his older sister (Noemi), but is survived by his wife (Vera Theodore) and his son (Steve Theodore) and daughter-in-law (Laura Theodore). He will always be remembered so fondly by those who knew him as an extremely intelligent and generous man who loved to entertain and share stories about his many worldly travels. Although he was stubborn as they come, he was also extremely considerate and kind in all that he did. There may never be another quite like him, and that is something that should always be celebrated and remembered well.
Kramer Funeral Home, Palouse, WA is caring for the family. On line condolences may be left at www.kramercares.com.