Krafka, Darrell Frank
Darrell Frank Krafka, 86, of Belle Plaine, passed away Monday, Dec. 10, 2012.
He was born Aug. 10, 1926, in Irving, Iowa, and graduated from Belle Plaine High School. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Shortly after returning from the war, he met LaVonne Junge of Keystone, Iowa, and they were married in June 1948.
Darrell was an active member of the FFA in high school and received a Star Farmer award. He took over the family farm north of Belle Plaine where he and LaVonne raised their family. After farming for over 30 years, he worked with the Belle Plaine Community Schools.
In 1984, he and LaVonne constructed their dream home on 40 acres south of Elberon in Tama County. They turned a former cow pasture into a parklike setting with a variety of hardwood trees, a four acre fishing pond with an island, two picturesque bridges and their cozy earth-sheltered home. They call it “their little slice of heaven.”
In 1966, Darrell and LaVonne were asked to host an AFS student from Ethiopia. “Mebs” spent nine unforgettable months exchanging cultures with the Krafkas while he attended Belle Plaine for his senior year of high school. Darrell was honored to be selected to carry the Olympic Torch in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games Torch Run as it came through the Cedar Rapids area. Months later, Darrell and LaVonne were chosen to be Grand Marshalls of the Belle Plaine Fourth of July Parade.
After retirement, Darrell and LaVonne enjoyed traveling including a trip to Germany and an Alaskan cruise. They also enjoyed volunteering at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Iowa City once a week for over 15 years where they met and worked with so many nice people. Last October, Darrell was honored to attend the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight to Washington D.C. to tour the World War II Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
He was a lifelong member of the First Congregational Church of Belle Plaine and served on many of the committees serving the congregation.
Darrell was predeceased by his parents, Frank Krafka and Emma Upah Krafka; a stillborn daughter, Faye Marie; and two sisters, Evelyn Emmert of Baldwin, Wis. and Viola Jackson of Clutier.
Darrell is survived by LaVonne, his wife of 64 years; a brother, Warren Krafka, of Mason City; his son, John (Jan) Krafka of Marietta, Ga.; his daughter, Judith (Bradley) Storm of Belle Plaine; five grandchildren, Vanessa (Nick) Palmer of Belle Plaine, Joel (Hillary Recker) Storm of Iowa City, Sarah (Jordan) Gross of Coralville, and Kyle Krafka and Kaley Krafka, both of Athens, Ga.; and two great-grandchildren, Avery and Vince Palmer of Belle Plaine.
Pallbearers will be Darrell’s grandchildren. Honorary pallbearers will be Bert Roberts, Max Beck and Dilly Fay. Presiding will be Pastor Al Wagner and organist, Judy Mehlert. The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at the First Congregational Church in Belle Plaine. Burial will follow at Belle Plaine’s Oak Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Hrabak Funeral Home in Belle Plaine.
Published in The Gazette Dec. 12, 2012.