October 15, 1947 - February 3, 2018
Our hearts are heavy as we announce the passing of Karel Hladik (our Dedo) who passed away at the Grace Hospital on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at the age of 70.
Karel is lovingly remembered by his wife of 48 years, Marta. He is also survived by his two daughters, Martina Hladik-Kucey (Bruce) and Karolina Dressler (Cory). Dedo was a family man who was the happiest when our family was gathered together at his cottage or at the dinner table. He adored his 4 grandchildren and through his sheer optimism, he taught them the importance of having a zest for life. Chris, Lauren, Jasmine & Carmen miss so many things about Dedo already. Karel is also missed by the many friends he has living in both the Czech Republic and in Canada.
Karel was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia and he spent much of his childhood in Přišimasy. In 1980, Karel and Marta left Czechoslovakia with their daughters in tow and lived in a refugee camp in Austria for almost one year before they immigrated to Canada in March of 1981. Together with his wife, Karel loved his daughters and willingly made many sacrifices so that they could have the bright futures that he envisioned for them in Canada. During their new life in Canada, Karel’s family met many people in Winnipeg who were a part of the Czech-Slovak community through the Canadian Czech-Slovak Benevolent Association. Karel definitely valued the friendships that he made through this organization. Karel was trained as an auto mechanic and for many years he maintained a fleet of trucks while working at Canadian Linen Supply.
Although Karel provided well for his family, he also had many interests that fed his soul which was filled with Czech culture. Karel loved nature and although he was terrified of bears, being outdoors at his cottage near Grand Beach was a must. He spent a lot of time at the cottage cooking, building, reading, fishing, enjoying music, cutting wood, planting trees, and forging for blueberries or wild mushrooms. As long as he was equipped with his bear spray, he gladly spent hours in the forest.
Karel was also an exceptional cook who could easily put together a gulash stew dinner and other traditional Czech dishes which he would often deliver to his daughters (as long as they didn’t expect chicken as it wasn’t his favourite). Karel’s Saturday mornings were spent making a trip to the Natural Bakery to pick up salt sticks and stopping by many butcher shops along the way. He definitely showed his love through the sharing of food. Karel loved to keep up to date on sports such as soccer and hockey. He also loved to fish even though his trips often ended with him basking in the sun for an afternoon nap instead of catching fish.
Throughout his life, Karel loved being surrounded by his friends. Friends would often gather to play cards, enjoy Pilsner beer together or sing while Karel played his guitar. He loved to listen to blue grass, country music and traditional Czech camp songs. Over the years, he visited his family back in Prague and every time he returned back home it felt as if he never left because he often ran into old friends as he walked along the cobbled streets. Although he had many Czech speaking friends, Karel’s closest English-speaking friend was Cory’s Dad, Don. They spent a lot of time together as they built the cottage and went for daily coffee at Tim Horton’s. They made a good team because Don could build and Karel could cook. Don also fit in perfectly with Karel’s community of cottage friends.
Although many will remember Karel for his sense of humour and wit, most people don’t know that he was also very philosophical and prolific. He had a very close bond with his daughter Martina and they had many conversations together about world issues and about life. The relationship that he had with Martina (named after Marta) and Karolina (named after Karel) were each special and unique, but he always wanted them to know that they were loved equally.
Karel was a kind soul and he loved to be surrounded by people. For this reason, we would like to thank all of the friends who visited with him during the recent weeks when he needed them the most. Karel truly did appreciate all the kindness that you showed to our family during our time of need.
Together family and friends will gather to celebrate Karel’s life from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, February 24, 2018 in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg, 603 Wellington Crescent at Academy Road.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Karel's memory can be made to the Canadian Czech-Slovak Benevolent Association at 154 McKenzie Street, Wpg, MB, R2W 5A2.
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