Albert Joseph Kolarik, Sr.
February 4, 1922 – September 7, 2019
Albert Joseph Kolarik, Sr., 97 died peacefully September 7, 2019 at his home in Prairie Village, KS surrounded by his family. The Rosary, followed by a Visitation will be held at St. Ann Catholic Church in Prairie Village on Wednesday, September 11th, from 5:30-8:30 pm. Funeral services, also at St. Ann, will be held on Thursday, September 12th, at 10:00 am followed by the burial at Resurrection Cemetery, Lenexa, KS. A luncheon will be served at St. Ann after the burial.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to Sister Servants of Mary, 800 North 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102. www.sisterservantsofmary.org. Years ago, Al was a volunteer driver to transport the sisters to homebound patients. His volunteer work came full circle when the sisters recently came to care for him.
Al was brought into this world by a midwife on February 4, 1922. He graduated from Oxford Junction High School in 1939 and attended the University of Iowa where he studied to teach science and to play baseball. His college career was interrupted by the US Army. He did not want to be in the Army, so he took a test to get in the Air Force, passed it and became a 2nd Lieutenant. In the service he became a bombardier and flew in a B24 plane. He was prepared to serve in either the European or Pacific Theaters, but the war ended with the dropping of the atomic bomb. He came back to the US to finish his last semester of college and to graduate with his sister Eleanor in 1946.
Pursuing his love for baseball, Al signed with the Storm Lake Whitecaps, a collegiate summer baseball team, where he was a standout pitcher. During this time he was approached by a scout from the Chicago White Sox who offered him a pitching position after the war. However, (and fortunately for the Kolarik family and Al’s whole legacy), the scout was killed in the war so Al’s major league career ended before it got started.
With his teaching degree, Al got a job at the high school in Clarence, IA where he taught science and coached boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball and boys’ baseball. Ken Blackman, Al’s former high school basketball coach encouraged him to get a teaching job at a larger school. He applied at the high school in Waukon, IA and was hired to teach science and to coach Junior High football and Senior High baseball. It was during this time that he met and married the love of his life, Patricia Kopecky. They were married on August 11, 1951 at St. Wenceslaus Church in Cedar Rapids, IA. They resided in Waukon where their first child, Thomas Joseph, was born in 1952.
While teaching in Waukon, Al met Harry Kennedy, the Vice President of Continental Oil Company who offered him a job working for Conoco. Al accepted and resigned from his teaching job of four years at Waukon High School. In July 1952 he went to Lincoln, NE for a six month training course to become a district sales supervisor for Conoco. Two month old Tommy and his mother left for Cedar Rapids, IA to live with her parents until completion of the training. Al and his family were then transferred to Huron, SD to begin his job with Conoco. In addition to his new job, new city, new home, new wife and new son, Al joined a couple of new baseball teams, the Huron Jims and Stahl’s Flyers.
While in Huron, Al and Pat became involved in CFM (Christian Family Movement) whose purpose is to restore Christian ideals to family life. CFM focuses on the environment in which the family lives and thus promoting a happier family life. Families meet in small groups following the three objectives Observe, Judge and Act. In September 1957 the CFM Federation was formed. Al and Pat were appointed as the first “President Couple”. They lived in Huron for 10 years during which time 7 more children were born.
In 1963, Al got a promotion with Conoco as a Dealer Training Center Manager. This promotion resulted in a transfer to Prairie Village, KS. With an increasingly growing family, eventually up to 11 children, Al’s baseball playing transitioned to coaching his own kids in baseball, basketball and softball. He umpired at 3&2 Baseball for many years, eventually becoming the Umpire in Chief until he retired. He formed many lifelong friendships with parents and kids of the teams he coached and umpired over decades.
In 1965, Al and another St Ann parishioner became the co-presidents of the parish council. Al and Pat continued their involvement in CFM by initiating and developing the program at St Ann Catholic Church. In 1971, Monsignor Harvey, pastor of St Ann approached five men of the parish inviting them to become Eucharistic Ministers. This was a new ministry and privilege in the Catholic Church. Al Kolarik, Pat Croker, Hank Broyles, Bob Murphy and Joe Carnelia were the first lay Eucharistic Ministers at St. Ann. This was a very special honor and commitment. For 20+ years Al was the sole Eucharistic minister for the Monday 8AM Mass with Father Paul Sanders. He continued this until early 2019.
In addition to serving as Eucharistic Minister at the church, Al headed the group of parishioners who took communion to the sick at Shawnee Mission Hospital. This led to an additional Hospital Ministry at St. Luke's and a ministry to homebound parishioners. Al continued these ministries for 10 years until 2016 and was nominated for Volunteer of the Year at St Luke's.
Al and Pat served on the Funeral Luncheon Committee at St. Ann where Al and Truman Abram were the “muscle guys” that set up the tables. He was a strong pro-life advocate, a member of the Respect Life Committee and he attended many pro-life rallies. He was a member of the KCK Serra Club whose main purpose is to promote religious vocations. He and Pat were involved with Catholic Marriage Encounter, where married couples explored their lives in the presence of God. They also were active in the diocesan marriage prep program where they counseled young engaged couples. Al was a school board member for Bishop Miege High School where 8 of his children attended. The 3 oldest boys went Rockhurst High School.
Al and Pat recently celebrated their 68th Wedding Anniversary on August 11, 2019. Mass was held at their home by celebrant and personal friend, Father Craig. All 11 children, several grandchildren and great grandchildren attended. Al and Pat served as Eucharist ministers and as always sang the hymns beautifully!
Albert Joseph Kolarik, Sr. was a blessing to our family and his friends. He lived life to the fullest. He was the epitome of God’s faithful servant, committed to love of faith and family. There are not enough words to describe him and all his contributions to this world. He was a man of great stature (6’2”) with the most gentle and kind deposition. He was patient, humble, strong, gentle, faith-filled and generous with a quick witted sense of humor. He was a positive faithful servant, loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend. He was the ultimate pillar of strength and shining light in all our lives.
Al was preceded in death by his father, Frank Kolarik, his mother Mary (Havlik) Kolarik and his sister, Eleanor McMahon (John). He is survived by his wife, Patricia Kolarik and their 11 children: Thomas Kolarik (Debbie), Albert Kolarik, Jr. (Patty), Michael Kolarik, Anne Kolarik, Mary Jo Audley (Mark), Margaret Mangum (Ron), Elizabeth Specht (Joe), John Kolarik, James Kolarik (Michele), Anthony Kolarik (Teresa), and Jean Yates (Phil); and nephew, Bruce McMahon (Kim). He is also survived by 27 grandchildren, their 6 spouses and 14 great grandchildren.
- Sister Servants of Mary
- Rosary Service Wednesday, September 11, 2019
- Visitation Wednesday, September 11, 2019
- Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, September 12, 2019
- Committal Service Thursday, September 12, 2019
Albert Joseph Kolarik, Sr.
September 11, 2019
To the Kolarik Family,
My thoughts are with you all, especially Mrs. Kolarik. After talking with Jean this week, I heard how love and respected Mr. Kolarik was by so many.
Love to all of you.
September 11, 2019
I spent time at the Kolariks’ house in the early 1970s when all 13 of them were living, laughing and loving under the same roof. Mr. Kolarik was the firm and funny patriarch who welcomed me and countless other kids to join in! And oh what fun we had- bless you all.