Vladimir “Jerry” Jirak, 89, of Brookfield, died Aug. 13, 2014.
Mr. Jirak was born Jan. 23, 1925 in Prague,
where his family operated a restaurant in the Old Town area of the city. According to the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library website, both Mr. Jirak’s parents died by his 16th birthday, and he worked as a waiter while his sister worked as a seamstress.
He studied at a hotel school during World War II and after the war became active in the Boys Scou8ts, which he enjoyed as a child. In 1947, Mr. Jirak attended a jamboree in France, where he met Clarence Beebe, the head of a drum and bugle corps from Madison, Wisconsin.
After slipping out of Czechoslovakia during in 1948 and bouncing around Europe and Australia as a refugee working various jobs, Mr. Jirak immigrated to the United States in 1959, with Beebe as his sponsor.
Mr. Jirak spent a short time in Madison, before moving to Chicago and settling in Brookfield. For nearly 30 years on Sunday mornings Mr. Jirak was the host of the Czechoslovak Radio Hour on WCEV-AM 1450. He was also a member of the Brookfield Jazz Society.
He was the husband of Mary Lou E. Jirak (nee Crichfield); the father of Barbara Ann (Dan) Uckerman and Gregory Paul (Genia) Jirak; the grandfather of seven; the great-grandfather of 10; the brother of Alena Jirak; and a friend to many.
Funeral services have been held. Interment was at Oakland Cemetery in Princeton, Illinois.
Hitzeman Funeral Home, Brookfield, handled arrangments.