Mildred Molnar Svoboda
August 20, 1921 – March 20, 2018
Mildred Molnar Svoboda passed away on the first day of spring, surrounded by her loving family at the Holladay Park Plaza at the age of 96. Millie was born in Berwyn, Illinois, to Mary Vosecek Molnar and Joseph Molnar, who both immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. As a teenager, she worked at the family-owned delicatessen with her mother and siblings (Joe, Marie, and Edwin (Babe). In her youth, she loved playing softball, going to the dance hall with her brother, and socializing with her many friends and family.
During the World War II years, Millie worked in support of the War at Sunbeam. Millie married James (Jimmy) Panek, an Air Force pilot, who tested planes in New Mexico. Their marriage was cut short when his plane crashed and he was killed. Her father died that same year. Millie began communicating with Jimmy’s best friend, Laddie Svoboda, and when the War ended, they began dating, and in 1946, they were married. They had three children. By the time the youngest was one year old, they moved their young family to California, eventually settling in the small desert town of Rancho Mirage.
Along with Millie’s mother, Mary, they built a 14-unit hotel in Rancho Mirage called the Desert Holiday. The family lived in the duplex on property where Millie and Laddie raised their children. Laddie maintained the hotel grounds and worked as a realtor, while Millie served as the hotel manager and housekeeper. She often cooked dinner portions far too big for the family and shared the home-cooked meals with hotel guests. Many of the guests became family friends largely because of Millie’s vibrant friendly and generous nature.
As their children got older, they sold the hotel and Millie earned her realtor’s license to join her husband at Svoboda Realty and later at Seven Lakes Country Club. They had many successful years in real estate, developed deep friendships and were very active in the desert community. Upon retirement in 1988, Millie and Laddie moved to Talent, Oregon, enjoying years golfing, touring the country in their RV, as well as being hands-on grandparents to their four beloved grandchildren.
Following Laddie’s death in 2004, Millie moved into Portland’s Holladay Park Plaza. There, she made many new friends, both with residents as well as the kind employees there. She volunteered at the local elementary school, participated on several committees, played lots of cards, and worked at the Wise Buys store there. She spent 14 enjoyable years at the Holladay Park Plaza. Millie's family is grateful for the devoted caregivers in Assisted Living as well as the entire staff on the second floor who took care of her always with loving kindness during her final years. They always brought a smile to her face.
Surviving relatives include: daughter Joy Meskel and husband Milo; daughter Jan Svoboda and partner Denise Kennedy; son Randy Svoboda; loving grandchildren Brian Meskel and wife Jenn, Kristi DaMassa and husband Steve, Micah Meskel and fiancé Katy Myers, and Jordan Meskel; and great grandchildren EV, Vivian, Milo, and Luci.
In honor of her life, you can make a contribution in Millie’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association https://www.alz.org/
Mildred Molnar Svoboda
April 10, 2018
My heart is heavy today knowing that you are mourning. Just wanted to take a moment to thank you, Joy, Milo and family, for your love and devotion. How grateful and proud Millie must be!
Thank you also for sharing your memories of a life well lived. One of love, commitment, caring and resilience. Millie will be cherished always,
Blessings and Peace,
Ray and Judy