Sykora, Richard Henry
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June 25, 1923 - September 9, 2013. Richard Henry Sykora, 90, passed away on Monday, September 9th in Peoria, Arizona. He was born in Vinita, Oklahoma on June 25, 1923 to parents Amelia Ruzicka Sykora of Moravia and Richard Sykora of Vienna, Austria. Dick was proud to be a first generation American. The family moved from Oklahoma to Omaha when Dick was a young boy. He attended school there, graduating from South High in June of 1942, just as the United States entered World War II. Dick served his country with great pride in the United States Army 8th Air Force Division while stationed in Peterborough, England. His specialty was servicing the radar equipment on the bombers that flew over Europe. Three days after returning from the war to Omaha in December, 1945, he met his future wife, Marian Leonard, while ice-skating at AkSarBen. Married September 14, 1946 at Holy Name Church, they began their lives together for the next fifty-four years, while raising their four children. As the Manager of the Industrial Development Department at the Omaha Public Power District, Dick's career focused on public relations encouraging commercial businesses to relocate to the greater Omaha area. He wore a suit to OPPD every day, but his passion was working with his hands. He built the family home on Spaulding Street. He assembled a replica of a 1936 Cadillac. He built play houses, doll houses, box race cars and toys for his children and grandchildren. He loved everything mechanical; his basement was a sophisticated display of tools and saws, and his gifted use of them showcased what a talented and creative man he was. Dick's other passion was boating. He and Marian owned five boats, the smaller ones used for skiing on Carter Lake, and larger cabin cruisers docked on the Missouri River. Their social lives centered around boating and their boating friends. Upon retirement in 1987, Dick and Marian followed their children to Phoenix, Arizona, which allowed them the joy of more time with children and their six grandchildren. In Phoenix, Dick continued his woodworking, jewelry making and painting. He was able to reconnect with friends in Sun City from his childhood. Dick was a man of quiet dignity, yet, he would never miss an opportunity to tell a good joke at family gatherings. Dick is preceded in death by his wife, Marian. He is survived by Gloria Welch, his beloved companion for the past 12 years; his daughter Lenni (Bob) Griego, Ken (Toni), Dennis (Savana), Penni (Don) Klick; seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren; and older sister, Lilyan Chilese of Omaha, Nebraska. A private family celebration of Dick's life will be held in December. Internment at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. Contributions in Dick's memory may be made to the Arizona Women's Board in support of kidney health at www.authorsluncheonaz.org or AWB 5921 East Indian Bend Road Paradise Valley, Arizona 85253
Published in The Arizona Republic on Sept. 15, 2013