Francis J. “Frank” Ptacek, 85, of Russell, Kansas, passed away Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the Kansas Soldiers’ Home in Dodge City, Kansas, surrounded by family.
Frank was born June 25, 1933 in Dorrance, Kansas. He was one of ten children born to Frank C. and Anna (Kepka) Ptacek. He grew up on a farm near Dorrance and graduated from Dorrance High School in 1951. He then attended one year at Kansas State University before needing to return home and help on the family farm.
Frank served his country in the U.S. Army from 1953-1955. Throughout his service, he served within the Military Police and was stationed at Fort Chaffee in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Frank was united in marriage to Betty LaFern Stickney on December 27, 1954 in Wilson, Kansas. This union was blessed with five children; Craig, Audrey, Carmen, Mark and Jerry. They lived in Russell for a few years before moving to Great Bend in the early 60’s. They then moved to Salina and lived there from 1970 to 1974, and ultimately made their home in Russell from 1974 to present. They spent many years watching their five children grow and create families of their own. Unfortunately, after a battle with brain cancer, Betty preceded him in death on August 30, 1993. Many years were spent missing Betty and he longed to be reunited with her in heaven. On December 4, 2013, Frank was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He spent the next five years within his home, being cared for by his children. On January 16, 2018, Frank was moved to the Kansas Soldiers’ Home at Fort Dodge.
Frank was a salesman most of his life and took great pride in his work. He instilled trust in others and people always sought him out for his help. He started out in the B.F. Goodrich store in Russell, sold insurance for American National Insurance in Salina, sold insurance for Farmers Insurance in Russell and sold cars for Paul McDonald Chevrolet in Hays, Kansas. He was an active member in St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He was a 3rd Degree Knight and a past Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus. He served on the Parish Council and the Cemetery Board. He was an athlete and a true sports fan that was very active in coaching when his children were growing up. He was the American Legion Baseball coach for many years and also coached Babe Ruth baseball. One of Frank’s greatest passions was watching all sporting events, but especially those that included his children and grandchildren. Frank never met a stranger, he had a kind and loving heart and was always willing to lend a helping hand and help others in need. He valued his faith and family above everything else.
Surviving family include two daughters; Audrey Dougherty (Mitch) and Carmen Vonfeldt (Alan) all of Russell, Kansas; three sons, Craig Ptacek (Pam) and Mark Ptacek (Tammy) all of Russell, Kansas and Jerry Ptacek (Karen) of Round Rock, Texas; sister, Anna Mae Janda of Lyons, Kansas, twelve grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents; wife Betty; five brothers and three sisters; and special friend, Gertie Steinlage.
Celebration of the Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 AM, Thursday, February 7, 2019 at St. Mary, Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Russell. Burial will follow at the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. Vigil and Rosary will be held at 7:30 PM, Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at St. Mary, Queen of Angels Catholic Church. Visitation will be held from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Wednesday, at Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary in Russell. Military rites will be performed by the Russell V.F.W. Post #6240 Memorials have been established with St. Mary’s Catholic Church or American Legion Baseball. Contributions and condolences may be sent to Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary, who is in charge of these arrangements.