Donald S. Houdek, 69
Led Brookfield ESDA
Donald S. Houdek, a Brookfield resident for nearly 40 years, died Dec. 28, 2005 at his home. He was 69 years old.
Mr. Houdek moved to Brookfield in 1968 and was employed for 25 years as a truck driver for Roy Houff Wholesale Florists, retiring in 2001. He was a member of Teamsters Local #703, and was an avid antique car enthusiast who loved attended antique car shows and building model cars and trucks. He was also a member of the Berwyn Moose Lodge #484.
He was also active in helping keep Brookfield safe, serving as a member of the Brookfield Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) for 12 years. ESDA is instrumental in assisting village emergency personnel in crowd and traffic at local events and festivals, pumping water out of flooded basements and other services.
He started as a general member of ESDA, progressing through the ranks as sergeant and lieutenant before being named the organization’s director in 2003. In addition to working at Brookfield events, Houdek also aided other communities, including Countryside, Westchester, Lyons, Bellwood, Bridgeview, Hillside and Justice.
“In Brookfield he helped tremendously at Brookfest, setting up barriers and working to do traffic control,” said former Brookfield Fire Chief Charles LaGreco. “He always coordinated with police and fire and always enjoyed a close relationship with them.
“He would always say, I’ll be there whenever you need me, to do whatever you need me to do.'” LaGreco added. “He was a very generous person.”
Throughout his time with ESDA, he was the group’s transportation officer, and it was through his determination that Brookfield ESDA has its lighting truck. According to LaGreco, Houdek found the truck abandoned in a farm field and negotiated with its owner, who donated it to ESDA. From there he personally resurrected the truck, doing hours of body work to get the vehicle in working condition.
The truck was eventually fitted with a 30-kilowatt generator powering 16 1,000-watt lamps and six floodlights. It has been used throughout the Chicago metropolitan area at emergencies and fire scenes.
Mr. Houdek is survived by his wife of 26 years, Dawn (nee Kirsch), whom he married on July 7, 1979 at the Community United Methodist Church in Brookfield. He is also survived by his sons, Scott (Antoinette) Mertes and Don Houdek; his daughter, Windy Walthers; his grandson, Joseph Mertes; and his sister, Joan Prumsky.
A funeral service was held Dec. 30 at Johnson Funeral Home, Brookfield, followed by interment at Resurrection Cemetery, Justice.
Virginia Stastny, 90
Retired legal secretary
Virginia Stastny (nee Stiborsky), a Brookfield resident, died Dec. 27, 2005 at LaGrange Memorial Hospital at the age of 90.
Born Oct. 12, 1915 in Chicago to Gustav and Marie (nee Nepras) Stiborsky, she married Joseph Stastny and worked as a legal secretary.
She is survived by her son, Richard (Monica) Stastny, and her grandchildren, Jeffrey D. Stastny and Kelly H. Keul. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents and her brother, Gustav Stiborsky.
A funeral service, officiated by the Rev. Benjamin T. Ball, was held Dec. 31 at Hitzeman Funeral Home, Brookfield, followed by entombment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Forest Park.
Memorial contributions were appreciated to the American Diabetes Association, 30 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2015, Chicago, Ill. 60602.
Thomas J. Vaile, 72
Corn Products Co. employee
Thomas J. Vaile, 72, who lived in Brookfield for 23 years before moving to Lyons, died Dec. 23, 2005 at LaGrange Memorial Hospital.
Mr. Vaile served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and, on May 4, 1954, married Mary “Judy” Lahey at St. Anne’s Church in Dixon, Ill. The family settled in Brookfield in 1962, and Mr. Vaile worked as the plant rail conductor for Corn Products Co. in Argo until 1973. In 1985, the family moved to Lyons, where Mr. Vaile remained until his death.
Mr. Vaile was a member of the American Legion Edward Feely Post #190 and was a former member of the Knights of Columbus in Dixon.
He is survived by his wife; his daughters, Lori (Charles) Brumfield of Naperville and Patti (Terry) Faraone of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; his sons, James (Cindy) Vaile of Brookfield; Tim Vaile of West Palm Beach, Fla. and Thomas (Judy) Vaile of Western Springs; his brothers, Denny and Jerry Vaile, both of Dixon; and five grandchildren.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 29 at St. Hugh Church in Lyons, followed by interment at Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon. Memorial contributions were appreciated to the American Cancer Society or the March of Dimes.
Johnson Funeral Home, Brookfield, handled arrangements.