From the Heart of Europe to the Heart of Houston Texas
in the Museum District

4920 San Jacinto Street, Houston, Texas 77004 - 713.528.2060
Open Monday - Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm
Happy St. Valentine's Day
February 2014 Topics - Bill Souchek and The Endowment Fund
Members and Friends Annual Meeting and Dinner. Saturday, March 1, 2014, The Czech Center Museum Houston in the Museum District, 4920 San Jacinto Street, Houston, Texas 77004, presents its Twentieth Annual Members and Friends. A Spring Festival with Music, Bazaar Treasures and Auction Benefiting the Museum's Endowment Ten Years - Ten Million and featuring Houston's Musical Youth The Treble Choir. Doors Open with Cocktails & Butler Passed Hors d'oeuvres; Reception at 5:30pm until 6:15pm in Pilsen Hall; 6:30pm in Hanus Prague Hall, Carnegie Hall Invited Choir entertains until 7:00pm. Honoring William E. Bill Souchek and introduction of Special Guests from the Czech Republic; 7:00pm Dinner Served. RSVP 713.528.2060 or Thank you for your reply prior to February 21, 2014 please. Business Cocktail Attire and Complimentary Valet Parking. Admission is $75.00 for adults and $25.00 for children under 10. Click here for a return card…
The following generous individuals and families are Endowment Fund for Perpetuity Sponsors to date (noted in red are contributors added since the last notice in January): 10,000 to 25,000 Marek Family Foundation+, Mary & Frank Pokluda*, Laverne Nash*, Cynthia Gdula & Charles Westervelt*, Lorraine Rod Green**, Chris Hlavinka**, Rosene Family*. 5,000 to 10,000+ Larry & Cathy Rosene Anderson, Robert Janak, Emil Kovalcik, Charles Kubin, Lindsey & Sherry Rosene Pierce. 1,000 to 5,000+ Eva Maria Bartoskova Campo, Adelma Graham, Grace & Bill England, Eric & Christie Rosene Johnson, Mark & Betty Kubala, Kerry Mazoch, Edward & Sandra Jircik Pickett, Rudolf Rusnak, Marilyn Sikora, Glenn Sternes 500 to 1,000+ Purvis & Lynne Harper, Danette Cornelius, Ann & Bert Link#, James & Jeanette Mallory, Tammy Mikeska, Charlotte Matula, Jean Stratton, Albert & Margaret Smaistrla, Henry Tyroch, William Vavrik, Gladys Oakley. 200 to 500+ Joy Koym Balderach, Cathy Jankovic, Dan & Suzanne Kubin, Alma Berger, T.P. & Burnette Boyett, Larry Janak, Cecilia Forrest, Jere & Sue Wallace. 0 to 100+ Jerry & Anna Brannan, Tim Opatrny, Virginia Hodge, Eddie Janek Sr., Harper & Pearson, Emil Ogden, Jane Cyva, John & Frances Istvan, Stephen Hlavinka, Jean Humlicek, Clare Kollaja, Emil & Connie Stavinoha, Barry & Marian Malac, Norman & Tracey Zetka, Veronica Frost, Jean Humlicek, Wayne Shandera, MD, Agnes Shimanek.
+ Response to appeal & pledge; * Certificate Loan Surrender; ** Legacy Gift; # Certificate Loan Interest Deposit;
+/- Endowment to date $140,000

   Thanks to Friends of the Czech Center Museum Houston who have made a contribution to CCMH’s Endowment Fund Appeal. We are grateful to these supporters who will help our museum become one of Houston's treasured gems and who have recognized in their generous and thoughtful gifts this critical component of support to establish an Endowment to allow CCMH to continue its mission for future generations. The Endowment will relieve the constant striving for funds over, above and beyond basic admission and membership dues. This effort continues, so please consider Gifts to the Endowment Fund 2014 at this time. Your gift may be made on-line right here, or make a check payable to CCMH.
Comenius' Ten Commandments for a Moral Life - Seek Virtues, Avoid Vices
1. Don't tell all that you know; don't The Kolibal  Family in Presov, Moravia Czech Republic, Kamila at leftComenius' Ten Commandments for a Moral Lifebelieve everything that you hear; don't ask for all that you see; don't do all that you can, but only what is your obligation: these things will enable you to be prudent. 2. Be modest, rather than impudent; reticent, rather than talkative! When someone speaks, be quiet; when they talk to you, listen; when they tell you to do something, fulfill their wish. 3. Be kind to all; avoid being ingratiating; and avoid flattery! 4. In addition, be just! Don't strive to gain what is not rightfully yours! 5. Be courageous and eager to work. Leave emptiness to those who are lazy! 6. Fortune is fickle-bringing different, often unhappy things to different people. The patient person bears all these things; the delicate one sighs, cries and wails! 7. Be also kind and merciful! If someone asks you for something, give it, if you are able to. If you can, help the poor. 8. If someone has offended you, forgive them. If you have hurt someone, confess to your fault, apologize, ask for forgiveness, and thus turn away their anger. There is beauty in taming anger, forgiving the guilty, and pardoning the one that seeks pardon. 9. Don't envy anyone, desire good for everyone, please others whenever you can and you will be liked by all good people. 10. Always speak the truth; don't be tempted to lie.
Ed: John Amos Comenius (Jan Amos Komensky) was born in 1592 in Nivnice, Moravia, in the area that is now the Czech Republic. Known today as the 'Father of Modern Education,' he pioneered modern educational methods. A contemporary of Galileo, Descartes, Rembrandt, and Milton, Comenius contributed greatly to the Enlightenment. He was the first to use pictures in textbooks (The Visible World In Pictures, 1658) and believed in what might be called a holistic concept of education. He taught that education began in the earliest days of childhood and continued throughout life. He advocated the formal education of women, an idea which was unheard of in his day. We are grateful for this beautiful document gifted by Business Intern from Czech Republic Kamila Kolibalova. Text translated by Allen Livanec.
Remembrances of William E. Souchek 12-1-1905 – 3-5-2004, which we share with you.
We must not forget the ones we "stood on their shoulders" to reap where we are today! Our friend Bill Souchek was one of those whose friendship and advice has "stood us in good stead" and now ten years since his passing we will celebrate ten years on September 1, 2014 of the opening of the building which he and many significant others helped to achieve.
   William E. SouchekEffie M. Rosene's eulogy at Bill Souchek's memorial service on March 10, 2004. "Thank you for being here to celebrate this man's life, a giant in the Czech community. I was attempting to determine the year I joined Bill's language class at SPJST Lodge 88, perhaps 1993 or 94. James Ermis said he remembered I was always asking questions how something was pronounced because I had heard it one way and Bill Souchek would reply, "Well that's because you were among Moravians. I speak my grandmother's authentic Czech." I learned early on he was an extraordinary individual. When I heard there was an effort to find the Texas Czech of the year, my husband and I recommended he be considered and were asked to submit his nomination to the president of the Texas Czech Heritage Society then, Marjorie Matula. He received that award, the medal, which he wears in his picture here.
   Bill and Alice and Thelma and Dr. Henry R. Maresh became friends very early on – the early 30's. After Dr. Maresh wrote the renowned book "Czech Pioneers of the Southwest" in 1934, Bill with his great wisdom and vision awesomely thought to have that original hardbound book signed by many visiting dignitaries and those noted in the book. As our mentor and supporter, Thelma Burnett Maresh noted, it's about the Who's Who of Czech Slovak immigrants – the aristocracy of Czechoslovaks as she called them. When it was confirmed we would be building the Czech Cultural Center Houston, Bill presented that book to the Center and it remains in safekeeping in the Willowbend library.
   Bill was with us in our very first meeting in 1995 of the Czech Center Houston in the then new Consul Ray Snokhous' office on Shepherd – all organizations were represented. When there was some discussion about it needing to be an arm of the Czech government, a totally foreign movement from our local grass roots' project, the Rosenes and Bill Souchek left. Louis Hanus smiles still today as he remembers Bill Souchek walking towards the elevator, his walking cane in the air stating, "We'll show them. We'll build it right here," and of course we did.
   Bill watched the construction progress closely; his girls, Julie and Carol, would drive him by as they went to the grocery store with him. We spoke several times a week and he always told me, "We had to keep on keeping on." We have.
   Bill was, and will always be, a large part of this and all Czech organizations. We urged him to write his memoirs. Bill Rosene took him a computer and taught him to master it. We have been publishing these vignettes in The News of the Czech Center.
   Yes, Education and Heritage were his forte. He and Alice came over for dinner several times. I always marveled at him negotiating our heavy freeways at his age. I loved his telephone conversations. After about 60 seconds he would graciously say in a cherry voice, "Well, thank you for calling," and I'd say "Wait, wait, I'm not through!"
   So before you hear other wonderful memories about our Bill, we want you to know when we, the Czech Center, have the necessary funding after we accommodate our education center and other needs, will publish his Book of Memories. Therefore we invite each of you to submit your personal memory of how this great man touched your life. In that way you, his friends and family, will be a part of his book as well. We are thankful he was part of our life."
Following is Robert Dvorak's eulogy.
   "For two or more years now, as a board member of our Czech Cultural Center Houston, one of my assigned tasks included responsibility for our Czech language classes, and I have been privileged to pick up Mr. Bill Souchek each Monday night and take him home after class. These trips to and fro have been priceless. I can share with you the fact that he was deeply concerned that in all the years he had been teaching he had not concentrated more on teaching his students to teach themselves. He was convinced that he had not done as well as he should have. He added that if he had another chance he would have tried to teach them to make it a hobby to continue study on their own and to use the language however and whenever. So I'm sharing this with you all as his first thought for us.
   Also you might appreciate knowing that outside of his enjoyment with telling wonderful stories of his childhood on the farm, he knew how to have fun in other ways. Each Monday night when we returned to his home, Bill would go to his favorite chair and wait for me to pour a jigger of "Becherovka" for him. It was his favorite nectar. He would make a long toast in Czech. I would follow with a simple "nazdravi," and then he would proceed to savor it and expound on the delights of this marvelous beverage created from herbs. As the medicine man of the old west did from the tailgate of his painted wagon, Bill would assure me that it could cure most anything. I also remember his reaction when I told him about an old friend back in Cicero, IL, a rather elegant and pompous gentleman who also loved Becherovka and taking care to speak his English correctly called it a "delicacy." (He would pronounce it "dell-ah-kacy") We did have a lot of laughs.
   Finally, there is one theory that the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs built those huge pyramids to have all of the things of this world to take with them to live a good life in the afterworld. Well today, of course, we say that you can't take it with you. But then I'm thinking that maybe somehow they knew something we don't know so I have here a small container I brought from Karlove Vary of Becherovka. I'm hoping you'll all turn the other way or pretend you didn't see me do it and I'll leave it with Bill, our wonderful friend, and hopefully to enjoy in his afterlife as a gift from us all and a big thank you for giving us himself."
Mural Featuring Prague's Charles BridgePlease note a new feature on the campus of the Czech Center Museum Houston visible from our parking area and even to those traveling on San Jacinto Street of a mural which is on the south facing wall of our neighbor's building. This previously blank concrete block wall is about to come alive with a mural featuring Prague's Charles Bridge. Thanks to our neighbor Farouk Plummer, owner of the Doggie Day Care and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance for its placement; it will shortly be finished after suitable wording is added. The CCMH will celebrate its creation and hopefully will lend visitors the opportunity to experience Prague first hand here in Houston!
Salt of the Earth Sisters. Dobrí sousedé means good neighbors in the Czech language, and that's what the Kretek twins - Gertrude and Geraldine - have been for 83 years. Born in 1929 in Deming to Czechoslovakian parents, Gert and Gerry were the youngest of five children. Though coming from humble circumstances, they went on to graduate from college, get Master's degrees, and teach in New Mexico public schools for 40 years. They have devoted their lives to being actively involved in community activities and events, and helping friends and neighbors. Their father, Frank, was born in Czechoslovakia and came to the United States as an indentured worker. Bozena (Bessie) Klecka, their mother, was born to Czech immigrant parents in Texas. Neither Frank nor Bessie had formal schooling; both Gertrude and Geraldine Kretekwere self-taught. They moved to Deming in 1923. Once settled, they persuaded 43 Czech families in Texas to relocate to Deming, establishing the Czechoslovakian community that thrives in Luna County today. Frank died from tuberculosis in 1933 when the twins were four years old. Bessie went on to raise the children under the most difficult of conditions. Gerry recalls, "Mother taught us to work hard and be honest. She told us to learn English, go to church, to have an education, and, most of all, to be loyal to our country." In 1948, the twins attended New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. For four years they worked in the dining hall, earning 25-cents-an-hour to cover tuition, room and board. Choosing the 4:00am breakfast shift, they had the remainder of the day to attend classes and activities. Asked why they wanted to attend college, Gertrude replies "To better ourselves." Geraldine quickly adds, "I'll tell you why I wanted to go. I didn't want to work out on the farm. That's where they sent all the ladies." Gerry became a Physical Education teacher and coach, while Gert taught grades second through fourth. They began their careers in 1952, retiring in 1992. Asked why they taught for 40 years, they say it was because they loved teaching and were good at what they did. In the 1950s the New Mexico Activities Association chose Geraldine to represent the association in Oklahoma, encouraging girls to become involved in sports. She also traveled throughout New Mexico, urging school superintendents to promote sports for women. In 1992, Gertrude, Geraldine, and their brother, Edward, traveled to Washington, D.C. for two weeks, representing Deming's Czechoslovakian community for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. They demonstrated Czech cooking on the National Mall. "We made kolaches and sauerkraut. We even made klobase there," Gert says. The women continue to share their legacy by participating in Deming's annual October Klobase Festival. Staying active, Gerry and Gert play golf, serve on numerous civic boards, sponsor community events, host (and cook for) the annual Old Timer's Reunion breakfast, and deliver baskets of their homemade preserves to families at Christmas. When asked what they want people to know most about them, the Kretek twins reply, "Say we're teachers, farmers, ranchers, athletes, and friends to all."
Ed: At the January 17 Concert, Dan and Kathleen Hrna presented a gift from the Kretek sisters on Czech immigrants country, Deming, New Mexico to the CCMH Comenius Library for which we are most grateful.
Dear Friends: It Makes a Difference when People Care!
On behalf of the Officers, Board of Directors, Volunteers and entire Membership of the Czech Center Museum Houston (CCMH), we express our deepest appreciation for your generosity in joining us in the quest to make our Twenty First Annual Members and Friends Dinner Meeting, a Spring Festival with Music, Bazaar Treasures and Benefit Auction, a happy and financially viable success on Saturday, March 1. You will enjoy Houston's Youth Treble Choir. The group is invited to New York City, Carnegie Hall on June 1st. What a coup and honor to have this talent with us!
  In November/December 2013 the thought occurred to me that the End of the Year and our Tenth Anniversary of opening our building September 1, 2004 was approaching. As is usual, our modus operandi is to suggest to our Members and Friends at the end of the year there may be a tax advantage to contribute to charities at that time, and previously the priority for donations has been to ask support of capital needs, especially the completion of the building's third floor. However, since a major portion of this part of the building has been completed, it was felt the goal should now be the establishment of an Endowment Fund with which to invest with the earnings used to underwrite a major portion of the operating needs of the organization for future generations and growth. In this way, with this backing, the organization would be more secure to continue its mission. To this end, I launched a plea in early December for future contributions to be used in this manner. We were pleased with the response at the time which included Legacy gifts, Estate considerations and Personal Interest on loans to the organization set up to be sent to the Endowment Fund. However, I felt along with several members there was a special impetus needed to continue the effort not just an end of the year request.
   To pursue this effort and at a called meeting brought out that a broader and bolder vision might be for the endowment campaign being the main focus but to also encompass goals to expand our campus by the purchase of adjacent property, establish a Czech/Slovak Chamber of Commerce and/or to request of the Czech Government through the auspices of the Czech Ambassador to the United States the placing of a trade and development representative in situ here at the Czech Center Museum Houston with an office on the expanded campus. It was pointed out that in New York the purchase of the Bohemian Hall had brought together the Czech Consul General, a Czech Restaurant and the Czech Center New York, the first and last two arms of the Czech government.
   At the meeting it was resolved: To form an Advisory Committee which would include a broad spectrum of membership, not necessarily of Czech/Slovak heritage, primarily with business, civic or non-profit experience. Further the role of the Advisory Committee would fashion an approach to donors to include mechanisms for: Structured individual donations to the fund (Monthly, etc.); Estate Planning (Requiring professional guidance); Legacy Planning (CCMH insurance beneficiary); and Matching Gifts. At subsequent Advisory Committee meetings it was suggested to use the Tenth Anniversary Celebration as a vehicle for contributions to the fund by having multiple events for the week. The anniversary celebration should coin the phrase for the Endowment: "Ten Years and Ten Million," as its slogan. Museums, High Schools and Universities should be approached to further explore relationships and connections. The Mayor's International Trade and Development Council/Europe would be contacted. A Czech/Slovak specialty restaurant and travel agency should be housed on campus. Involving the Ambassador, Prime Minister and President of the Czech and Slovak Republics with the assistance of our Honorary Texas Czech Consul General.

   I would very much appreciate consideration and commentary on the above thoughts expressed by the planning committee but further we need your participation in this effort by joining as an Advisory Committee member. We are committed to maintaining Central European traditions that distinguish us, but we invite everyone to participate in order to uncover their own unique customs and values that maintain strong families and build caring communities. We pride ourselves in our sense of fun, curiosity and respect for diverse peoples and we try to inspire and we are passionate about connecting the Museum to Heritage, to History, to the World for generations to come.
Our Warmest regards on behalf of the Board of Directors
Effie M. Rosene, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer
The Soviet Union 1989 Eyewitnesses to History by Robert Janak
Robert JanakRobert Janak and the Drama Theater Cernauti, Northern Bukovina (now Ugraine), July 4, 1989. The excerpt from the book, The Soviet Union 1989 Eyewitnesses to History documents Robert Janak's experience while traveling through the city of Cernauti with a group of his students. Robert wrote: "We had a three-course meal for breakfast. First we had plates with sliced cold roast beer, butter, tomatoes and cucumbers. Then there was a plate of hot barley with two wiener-shaped sausages. Finally, we had two small cheese filled doughnuts to go with our coffee or tea. And we had bread. It was delicious soft rolls with cracker-crisp crust. We were supposed to leave on our Sunday morning sight-seeing tour of Cernauti at 9:00, but we had to wait for Steve Corker to come get something off the bus. Our students took the opportunity to say the pledge of allegiance and sing a medley of patriotic songs - of the United States, Texas and the South. Juri soon broke out with a box of Frisbees, and our students and the bus drivers had a marvelous Fourth of July morning in a hotel parking lot in a remote town just inside the border of the Soviet Union. Cernauti is a beautiful old town. Many of the buildings, almost all of them in the center of the town, date back to Austrian times, and several of the public buildings are of definite Romanian vintage. We stopped for pictures in front of the Cernauti Drama Theater, built between 1901 and 1905 by two Viennese architects. The theater is a green baroque building decorated with columns and statues. There are two large windows in front, one on each side of the portal. Over one window appears the name Shakespeare in Cyrillic letters. Wagner appears over the other. It is fun for the students to try to figure out Russian words that they see on the streets. Plays were first performed in this theater in German, then in Romanian and now in Ukrainian, depending on who has been in power at the time. We also visited the new parts of the city, where apartment buildings are normally only five or six stories high because of the possibility of earthquakes. Czechoslovak architects, however, are designing buildings up to nine stories for the city. In front of one of the apartment buildings we passed a row of peasants selling fresh fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk."
Ed: Excerpts from The Soviet Union 1989 Eyewitnesses to History. You are welcome to pursue his very interesting journal in our Jan Amos Komensky Library. Robert Janak, Educator, Author, Historian of All things Czech, is a Spanish teacher in Beaumont, Texas. He is a Founder member of the Czech Center Museum Houston since March 1999, An Honorary Board Member.
Rudy Nathan KleckaRudy Nathan Klecka, 70, of East Bernard, died Dec. 14, 2013, in a hospital in Costa Rica following a brief illness. He was born on March 16, 1943, in East Bernard to the late Henrietta Urbish and Rudolph Klecka. He graduated from East Bernard High School. He joined the Army in 1968 and was discharged from the National Guard in 1972. Rudy obtained a bachelor's degree in education from Sam Houston State University. He worked as a history teacher at Sealy ISD for 35 years until his retirement. He enjoyed hunting with friends and family. For the last few years, he adventured in Costa Rica, Alaska and Panama. Rudy is survived by his son, Patrick, and three grandchildren: Joshua, Lynnsey and Cade. He is also survived by two brothers: James and wife, Patricia, and Edward and wife, Angie. Funeral mass and services were held Friday, Jan. 17, at Holy Cross Church in East Bernard at 10am with the Rev. Fr. Don Rupport officiating.
Ed: The CCMH extends our sympathies to the Klecka family. His parents Henrietta and Rudolph were founding members of the Czech Center Museum Houston. The surviving sons are also CCMH Members.
You are welcome to view this organization's IRS Form 990 available on the Guidestar website. Note this organization's name on filing was the Czech Cultural and Community Center, which now does business as the Czech Center Museum Houston. Click this link.
Interested Members may also view financial records by appointment.
Czech Language Online Daily  It would be impossible not to learn from these simple distinct lessons. Try it now! or
An Irish Toast: There are good ships, And there are wood ships, The ships that sail the sea, But the best ships are Friendships - And may they always be.
Good Reads Available at our Prague International Gift Shop:
Texas Czech Polka Bands by CCMH Members Jimmy Brosch with Theresa Cernoch Parker.
Rustic Baroque - A novel by Jiri Hajicek - Set in South Bohemia about a decade after the Velvet Revolution.
Border Crossings - A Memoir that Reads Like a Thriller! by Charles Novacek.
Prague, My Long Journey Home - by Charles Ota Heller. A memoir of Survival, Denial and Redemption, providing a window into one Czech American's experiences!
The Czech Pioneers of the Southwest by Dr. Henry R. Maresh - a must read for research of your genealogy.
Living Longer Than Hate - W. J. Bill Morgan's life, a Story of Survival and Success by C.S. Ragsdale, PhD.
Fields of Light, A Son Remembers His Heroic Father by CCMH Member Joseph Hurka.
For information on these books and to order, call: 713.528.2060 or visit our website.
2014 Calendar of Events
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Czech Center Museum Houston presents the 20th Annual Members Friends Dinner Spring Festival of Music, Flowers, Treasures Bazaar and Auction. Prague Hall Honoring posthumously William E. Bill Souchek, a CCMH founder member and former Kincaid High School Educator, and introduction of Guests from the Czech Republic. Benefitting CCMH Museum Endowment 2014 - "Ten Years: Ten Million" and Houston's Youth Chorale The Treble Choir Performance (Invited to Carnegie Hall in New York City in June). Ticket Prices are $75.00 per adult, $25.00 for children under 10.
RSVP to:,, or 713.528.2060 prior to February 21, 2014 please.
September 1, 2014
"Ten Year -Ten Million"
Celebrating the Opening of the Czech Center Museum Houston September 1, 2004 to the World, in the Museum District with special featured speakers, exhibits, and programs during the month of September.
RSVP to: 713.528.2060 or for more info.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Czech Oktoberfest
National Czech Slovak Day Democracy (October 28, 1918) First Republic
RSVP to: 713.528.2060 or
Monday, November 17, 2014
Remembering the Velvet Revolution End of Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989 leading eventually to second Republic 1992. RSVP to: 713.528.2060 or for more info.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Saint Nicholas Eve Celebration with the Bishop, Angel, and Devil, A Holiday Dinner for friends, families, and children.
RSVP to: 713.528.2060 or for more info.
"Time goes by so fast; people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you." Anonymous

"Those that say that individuals are not capable of changing anything
are only looking for excuses."
Václav Havel

"To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."
Chinese and Czech Proverb

Questions or comments or to be removed, please email first and last name to
Effie M. Rosene, Chair/CEO, on behalf of Board of Directors,
Volunteers and Members and Friends.

This organization is supported in part by a grant from the City of Houston through the
Houston Arts Alliance and by the contributions of our Friends, Members and Volunteers.
4920 San Jacinto
Houston, TX 77004
phone: 713.528.2060