Mildred Varilek

Mildred Marie (Simunek) Varilek was born Nov. 5, 1920, along with her twin sister, Emma, at the family farm north of Gregory, S.D. She was the daughter of Jerry and Julia (Fortuna) Simunek. Her family farmed at Gregory, with summer trips to Oregon to help with harvesting seasonal crops, such as hops, flax and barley as well as dressing poultry. 

Mildred was married to Clarence “Ed” Varilek on May 3, 1942 and they farmed and ranched in the Geddes and Gregory areas. The family moved to Stuart, Neb. in 1965 where she lived until 2015, when, at the age of 95, she moved to Red Oak.  There she lived at Arlington Place Retirement Center for three years, followed by her 1.5 years at Good Samaritan Nursing Home, also in Red Oak, where she peacefully entered her rest on July 27, 2020 at the age of 99 years.

Growing up she loved to go horseback riding on “Babe,” sewing clothes for the needy and going to the movies. She also enjoyed playing the harmonica.

Mildred and Ed were blessed with eight children for whom she dedicated her life to. She enjoyed gardening, baking kolaches, bread and pies and no one ever left her table hungry.

She was a very loving and patient mother, who knew when she had to be strict in raising six boys and only two girls. One of the greatest joys of her life was sharing a special relationship with her twin sister, both attending a twin reunion in Grand Island and welcoming two sets of twin great-grandchildren. 

She loved dancing to polka music, playing pitch in her card club and visiting. Mildred always made time to play “31” and bake cookies with her grandchildren. She was an expert using an incubator and enjoyed hatching her own baby chicks and ducklings.

She took her first airplane ride on her 95th birthday, which was one of her lifelong wishes. She, Dean and Rex flew from Omaha to St. Louis then again to Kansas City. She was a celebrity rider as they announced her birthday on the intercom and let her visit with a pilot in the cockpit.

Mildred was loved by many of her new-found friends in Red Oak for her constant smile and sweetness. She was honored as January’s Resident of the Month at Good Samaritan for her cheerfulness.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Ed of 67 years in 2010; son Larry Varilek in 2015; daughter-in-law Carol Varilek in 2018; sisters, Emma Holmberg and Lucille Thomson. 

Surviving are her children:  Robert and wife Charlotte Varilek of Windom, Minn.; Jeanette and husband Kermit Grote of Newell; Jerry and wife Linda Varilek of Lamar, Neb.; John Varilek of Culbertson, Neb.; Rex and wife Pat Varilek of Red Oak; Dean Varilek of Red Oak; and Gloria and husband Ron Penas of Ft. Calhoun, Neb.; daughter-in-law Young Varilek of Seattle, Wash.; her sister Rose Hotz of Gregory; sisters-in-law: Luyviana Petersen of Irwin, Pa.; and Sharon (Philip) Steckley of Geddes, S.D.; 16 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews and other relatives and friends.

Mildred was a loving sister, wife, mother, friend and will be remembered for her sense of humor, smile, energy, love of life and will be deeply missed.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, Aug. 1, at Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home in Gregory with Pastor Royal Archer officiating. Interment was in I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Gregory, S.D.

Articles Section: