Roberta Elaine Hoskovec
December 30, 1947 – April 25, 2023
Preceded in death by parents, Sylvester “Bud” and Velma Sager, and brother, Guy Sager. Survived by husband, Michael; daughter, Regina Belik (Michael); sons, Nicholas (Kelly) and Michael (Jen) Hoskovec; grandchildren: Henry and Amelia Belik, Anna, Laurel, Benjamin, Eleanore and Alexandra Hoskovec; sisters, Marilyn Slezak (John) and Connie Richardson (Ken); aunt, Deloris Chase; many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Family will receive friends on Saturday, May 6th from 10am to 12noon at the West Center Chapel with FUNERAL SERVICES at 12noon. Private Interment: Evergreen Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the American Cancer Society or Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center.
Robbie Sager had found her way to the Sokol Omaha gym through her dance background with the Omaha Ballet Academy during the spring of 1964. That happened to be the same year that Mike Hoskovec first went to the same gym after his inaugural year involved in high school gymnastics intending to improve his skills. Because the girls and the guys went to gym on different weeknights, they hadn’t seen one another until the fund-raising pork dinner one weekend in May.
As the end of the season arrived in July, the competitions were about to begin. Mike and a few of the other gymnasts got permission to go to the gym on girls’ nights for extra practices. One night after workouts, Mike found a note on his windshield from one of the girls that read: “Meet you at Mandan.” Mike and his friends went to Mandan Park after workouts and found no one at the rendezvous. Robbie blames the note on her friend, Karen Peterson, to this day.
That summer Robbie and Mike both competed in Crete, Nebraska at the Sokol district competition held on the Doane College campus and got to know each other a little. The next fall, both continued their gym nights on opposite days.
Later that winter, a girl could ask a boy on a date to the Red Cross Criss Crosser dance that was approaching in the spring. Karen decided she wanted to go, and everyone needed someone old enough to drive. Robbie had her eye on Mike, and he was old enough to drive. She was a bit shy about making a call. Back in the days when a dime could buy something and there were pay phones everywhere, phone calls were ten cents. The entire girls’ Sokol team marched Robbie to the phone. Since she didn’t have a dime, she was given one and peer pressured into making the call.
Because Mike had been tipped off to expect a call that Wednesday night, he stayed home and was waiting by the phone. The conversation almost did not go well enough to result in a date, but as luck would have it, they did get things set for the double date that weekend. Since Jamie Hruban, the other guy that was supposed to go on the date, lived at a floral shop, getting a last-minute corsage was a snap. This date eventually led to five years of courtship. Our wedding was held at St. Thomas More Church in Omaha. Following the ceremony, a dime was returned with a thank you note to the person who had supplied it for the phone call in the first place.
The wedding ceremony itself was cutting edge for the times. The hour of the ceremony was set during the afternoon which was unheard of for the Catholic Churches of that era. Live guitar and folk music during the rite were also unheard of, but Robbie and Mike were pioneers and set the bar high! When the vows were voiced, the priest threw Mike for a loop by calling his bride Roberta! This caused a mental block in the groom resulting in hesitation and stuttering. That was because she had ALWAYS been Rob or Robbie in his mind! Afterward Mike’s mother, Mildred, said it was just because he cared so much. The details of the wedding reception were doted over by Robbie’s mother, Velma, and thus, saved the couple from fretting over the small stuff. Each of the mothers received a pink rose from Robbie’s bouquet after the vows. Sokol South Omaha’s Hall was rented along with a great polka band to supply the music. Everyone got a shot of whiskey at the door.
The honeymoon was a free trip! Somehow Mike had won a one-week all-expense paid trip to New Orleans from a local radio station. The alternative would have been a motel in Council Bluffs! On our wedding night it started to pour buckets of rain. We were scheduled to leave the next day from the airport in Omaha. That did not work out because part of the access runway was washed out and flights out of Omaha were cancelled. A hasty rescheduling got us a flight out of Lincoln instead. We had to take a puddle jumper that hit Little Rock and Oklahoma City on the way to Dallas. Because we were late arriving and our original connecting flight was long gone, we had to use the money we stuffed in the luggage from the ‘Dollar Dance’ to finance the last leg to New Orleans. It was a week to remember! Fortunately, the radio station covered our added air travel expense later.
There was a Girl Scout conference being held at our hotel and a clutch of them were assigned to the room next door to ours. There happened to be a connecting door with an old-fashioned keyhole between our rooms and the girls tried to make the most of their opportunities to eavesdrop on the honeymooners. Their giggling was incessant by the door and in the halls and elevators. It was obvious to them that we were ‘The Newlyweds.’ It seemed that each morning the radio would start our day by playing the song ‘Everything is Beautiful’ by Ray Stevens. We felt that it was! At the end of our stay, we left the scouts a note wishing them the same good fortune we had in getting such interesting neighbors when they went on their honeymoons.
During our honeymoon, the adventures of the Apollo 13 astronauts were in the news every day. It was launched on April 11, 1970, our wedding day, and ran into trouble after an oxygen tank exploded. Their mission was scrubbed and the men on board were in a life and death struggle to return safely to earth. Somehow, through round the clock efforts and with great ingenuity by the NASA team, they returned safely on April 17, 1970. Eventually a movie was made about the exploit.
When we returned from our French Quarter honeymoon, we were anxious to view the hundreds of photos taken during the ceremony, dinner, and reception. Our photographer stalled us for weeks before finally coming clean about what happened. He did not want us to find out that he had left our film in his car on an extremely hot day and that the shots were all ruined. Many of his future wedding contracts were sorority sisters that were later in the year than ours, and he did not want to lose all the income by getting ‘exposed’! He eventually returned our money and then assembled a makeshift album from the camera work our guests had recorded. We should have known something was off when he did not have Robbie’s portrait ready on time.
We settled into apartment dwelling for over two years while we were both working and saving one paycheck a month. Sometime in 1971 we were convinced that buying a home was a sensible idea. After searching the possibilities, we settled on building a new home instead of a preowned place. We landed in Oak Heights with a brand-new mortgage at 7.75%. It was located across the street and two doors up from the neighborhood pool. The move in date was St Patrick’s Day in 1972. It was seven months after the ground was broken.
Work, work, work…kids! They started showing up in 1974, again in ’76 and ’78. Girl, boy, boy. Robbie took time off to be a mom and that took a financial toll. One year dad worked seven different kinds of revenue producing efforts to make the financial ends see one another from several feet away. Nobody ever said being a teacher and coach would make for the life of Riley.
Life kept happening at a frenetic pace. Diapers, little leagues, art lessons, Athletic lessons, chicken pox, religious lessons, driver’s ed, high school sports, prom. Bang. Zoom. Graduation! Refinancing the house for college turned out to be an exercise in money magic with smoke and mirrors. Poof! We had three in college at once. Three different colleges, three different majors, three different states and sets of needs. Saying goodbye to their childhoods was emotionally draining. We both wept at times and then our empty nest materialized. Empty nesting can be a shock to hard core parents. Hard core parenting lasts a lifetime for the parents as well as the children (and grandchildren). It morphs into various aspects of support, advice, distancing, financial and emotional support, and many other life experiences that were unanticipated. In for a penny, and then in for way more than that! Isn’t that what all parents bargain for?
Then began the next phase of living. The fretting over the happiness factors and the spousal selection trauma and career drama for our offspring. There was a lot of silent tongue biting and behind the back eye rolling, but eventually each of our children managed to make an excellent choice of spouse, managed a wedding, and became gainfully employed along with their spouses.
Grandchildren! Mom and Dad became Nana and Papa. Seven more reasons to roam the country in search of hugs and kisses. Damn the Highway Patrol! Full speed ahead. Periodic cross-country migration has become the norm.
Travel has been a fun thing for us for the past several years. Nine countries in Europe, Alaska, US Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Bahamas, cruising the Panama Canal, Mexico…we have had more travels in line and scheduled, but some of those plans ran aground so to speak. In April 2017, there was Jamaica, man! In June we scheduled Italy with a trip through Rome, the Vatican, and Pompeii with a stop in Ireland on the way home that July. Damn…! Here we are after 47 years. We were blindsided by an unexpected eventuality that came from out of the blue…red? Robbie had several nosebleeds (clue?) over the previous six months that ended up being the tipoff to a big problem: ACC.
Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma is a nasty cancer. Trip cancellation, trip cancellation, appointment, appointment, scan, scan, scan, scan, MRI, and PET, details you never want to witness resulted in having to deal with surgery, reconstruction, pain, agony, surgery, exhaustion, radiation, and the unknown future. Robbie’s recovery from dramatic, invasive, lifesaving operations has been heroic. The whole cancer experience has been challenging and our lives have been forever changed. Chemotherapy is awful. It’s debilitating and sucks the energy out of a person’s day and life.
Nearly six years later we have been through the emotional wringer. FYI: a wringer is something people used to use to squeeze water out of the clothes before they hung them on a clothesline outdoors to dry. We sometimes feel all wrung out in coping with life’s new normal.
Our shared life has now reached 53+ years. We have witnessed the latest challenge in life with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening life as we know it for the near future. Fortunately, we are in a secure situation. With determination and a bit of luck we are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Vaccinations are life savers!
On April Double Fools Day (April 11), every year we celebrate our shared travels, travails, and bliss. Marriage has been an adventure, a party, the hardest work ever done by a man and a woman; and worth every second of our blood, sweat and tears. We feel we have been lucky to be in love, more fortunate than most of our friends from the time when we married. Most of them are either separated by divorce or death from their original spouses. April Double Fool’s Day will be Golden, for it has been a long time coming, but seems to have happened overnight while we weren’t looking!
This has been written with love and the hope that some of life’s little stories get passed along.
Love you all, forever and ever!
Nana and Papa (a.k.a. Robbie and Mike Hoskovec).