Donald Emil Rokusek
September 15, 1936 – April 27, 2022
VISITATION: Sunday, May 1st from 3pm to 5pm at the West Center Chapel, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 5pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Monday, May 2nd at 11:15am, St. Cecilia Cathedral. 701 N. 40th St. Interment, Bohemian Cemetery.
To view live broadcasts of the VIGIL SERVICE AND MASS, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
Donald Emil Rokusek was born on Sept. 15, 1936, in Omaha, Nebraska. He passed away peacefully on April 27, 2022, after a brief but intense battle with cancer. Don celebrated an active life centered on athletics, music, family and friends.
Don is survived by three daughters, Anne Jetter (Matt), Beth Boler (Mike) and Chris Kramer (Dan), as well as seven grandchildren: Zach and Caroline Jetter; Lauren and Drew Boler; and Alex, Jack and Lucy Kramer. He was preceded in death by his beloved mother, Evelyn Fuxa Rokusek Dierks, and father, Emil Rokusek.
As a boy, Don lived with his mother, his two uncles Ray and Robert Fuxa, and his Grandma and Grandpa Fuxa in Little Bohemia, just a few blocks from Little Italy. He attended Bancroft Elementary and graduated in 1954 from Central High School. He enjoyed outdoor activities, especially ice skating and hockey. One of his first jobs was delivering flowers for Janousek Florist on Hanscom Boulevard, which helped him learn to spell just about anyone’s last name and navigate the brick streets of Omaha. Don graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree from Omaha University, where he played baseball, performed in musicals and met his “brothers for life” in the Theta Chi Fraternity.
After college, Don started working as a teacher at Tech High School but later switched to a lifelong career in insurance sales and eventually served as vice president of Connecticut General, where he made lifelong friends. He never really retired and taught insurance certification classes through March of 2022.
Don married Mary McAndrews in 1960 and together moved into their first apartment near Our Lady of Lourdes. As an only child, Don was embraced by Mary’s boisterous Irish family, which included her parents, 12 brothers and sisters, their spouses and 35 nieces and nephews. Don and Mary soon had three daughters of their own – Anne, Beth and Chris – and moved to what was then called West Omaha near three of his closest fraternity brothers, all of whom shared a commitment to raising their children together. This led to Fourth of July parades and New Year’s Eve parties with the kids at one house and the adults at another, where they moved the furniture to make room for dancing. The group has remained close, still get together often for dinner and call themselves the “Old Farts.”
The Rokusek House was a lively place with frequent dinner guests, sleepover parties and countless girls getting ready for a night on the town. Don tried to escape the social chaos (and all that hairspray!) by reading his newspaper, but he secretly enjoyed getting to know everyone who passed through, which led to lifelong relationships.
Don especially enjoyed getting to know three wonderful sons-in-law, Matt, Mike and Dan. His life was full with the addition of his seven grandchildren, who were the true loves of his life.
Later, he was fortunate to have Mary Bohnert as his loving companion and partner since 1998. For the last decades, they enjoyed cooking, discussing current events, and spending family time together. He adored Mary’s family, especially the grandchildren.
Grandpa Don loved sharing his sportsmanship with the grandkids – especially Husker football, College World Series baseball, skiing and golf. He loved coaching and teaching his grandkids how to score a baseball game or ski down a mountain. He also enjoyed coaching hockey and was inducted into the Omaha Hockey Association Hall of Fame, alongside his best friend, Tom Dudycha. Don remained active throughout his life and even skied in Colorado just a few months ago with his family, including several grandkids.
Don was an avid sports fan, too, and wasn’t afraid to share his opinions. He had a season ticket for the men’s College World Series ever since the tournament first came to Omaha. He loved Rosenblatt and continued to go to games in the new stadium (even though he thought they put home plate at the wrong angle). As a teenager, he took the train from Omaha to Lincoln to volunteer as an usher for the Cornhuskers. In 1955, he became a season ticket holder and was a devout attendee for 67 years. He traveled to many of Nebraska’s away games, including the 1969 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. He particularly loved the rituals of tailgating: navigating routes to avoid traffic, bringing the same foods in the same red cooler, and getting to his seat before the downbeat of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
For decades, Don sang in the Omaha Symphonic Chorus. He loved performing with the choir and served on the board until the end of his life. He was a member of and usher at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral, where he enjoyed listening to the organ. He was private in his beliefs but faithfully attended church each Sunday.
Don could be sentimental and loved to share his Czechoslovakian family history and heritage. He especially loved Christmas Eve, when family and friends gathered for beef tenderloin, torte and Champagne. He loved to dance and sing and was sociable his entire life, making countless friends along the way. As they can tell you, his laugh was contagious and legendary.
Everyone who knew Don will miss his sarcastic sense of humor, energy and spirit.