Tag Archives: Vaclav Konecny

Happy Birthday Dad

Vaclav Konecny emanates inspiration

By Emma Palova

Whenever I seek inspiration for my writings, I look up to my father and I know I will find it. My father, former math professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, turned 86 on this lovely summer day. He is active, loving and most of all inspiring by his words and actions.

On any given day, you will find him either solving or proposing math problems for math journals or doing simple things like canning, picking blueberries and making jams and marmelades with mom Ella.

Dad is a typical Leo, strongly independent and likes to take charge of everything with great enthusiasm. Behind these character traits lies the fact that dad doesn’t trust anyone else would do an equally good job.

My father Vaclav Konecny (second from the right, first row) at the Archbishop Gymnasium-Boys’ Seminary in Kromeriz, Czechoslovakia in 1948.

And he is right. No one can beat his solutions to any problems, be it maintenance issues around the house, cars or plumbing. He is logical, rational and precise, always a step ahead of the game.

Dad has a good sense of humor and knows how to start a conversation at a party with strangers.

“How do you do it, dad?” I asked him.

“Well, if I know the guy is a dentist, I start talking about teeth,” he laughed.

Like a good Leo, he is always prepared for anything that might come his way.

He was born in Brest, former Czechoslovakia in 1934 as the second oldest child out of five. Due to the lack of finances, his parents, who were also educators, enrolled my dad and Uncle Tony in the Archibishop Gymnasium-Boys’ Seminary in Kromeriz right after the end of WWII.

To this day, my dad credits all his accomplishments to this renowned institution led by priests. Although he was bullied for his height, it didn’t leave any marks on him.

“I’ve learned discipline that stayed with me for the rest of my life,” he said. “I even got beaten up by other kids.”

It was discipline that carried him through the tough times of twice emigrating from former communist Czechoslovakia to pursue his dream of independence and teaching in the USA without the fear of being persecuted for his religious beliefs.

Dad is a true self-made man, not overly embellished with medals or honors, but with degrees from various universities in Czechoslovakia and the USA, achieved by honesty and hard work.

However, his solutions to math problems were published in Crux Mathematicorum of the Canadian Mathematical Society in the 1990s. Dad received an Honourable Mention for participating in the solutions.

Love you dad. May you continue to inspire all of us. We wish you many healthy and optimistic years ahead.

My father and mother are the main characters in my upcoming book- the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” now available for preorder on Amazon.

Dad spearheads immigration saga

Dad’s birthday spurs creative juices

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

I want to dedicate this day to my forever young dad  Vaclav Konecny who turns 81 today. He was born in Brest, Czechoslovakia on July 23, 1934 to parents Anezka & Antonin Konecny. He is the older of the two remaining  siblings  with Aunt Martha Pink. Both claim the original residence as Stipa near Zlin.

He is the behind the scenes character who along with my mom Ella inspired the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” about the family immigration saga that now spans three generations.

Dad continues to inspire me with his humor and sometimes cranky optimism and sarcasm.  He is what I call an atypical Leo. Dad has the strength of the Leo, as well as his leadership and determination to carry out projects to his liking.

Parents Vaclav & Ella have inspired the memoir.
Parents Vaclav & Ella have inspired the memoir.

But, he is not by any stretch of imagination a show off in the regal colors of golden and purple like the king of jungle or King Vaclav he is named after. On the contrary, dad is truly the entire support system behind a spectacular show.

However, during his tenure as math professor at Ferris State University from 1980 until 2001 in Big Rapids, he did play the role of the lion in front of the blackboard.

“You know you have to put on a show,” he always told me.

Students laughed at him, but colleagues admired him then as much as they do now.

Dad can make people around him flourish putting them at the center of attention instead of himself.

One time at a university party, dad hit a conversation with a complete stranger.

“Who was that,” mom asked.

“He is a dentist,” dad laughed.

“What did you talk to him about?” she watched him closely.

“About teeth, of course,” he laughed again.

At 81, he can strike magic with any female whether at a party, while wintering in Florida or at a perfectly authentic Spanish or Mexican restaurant. Maybe, that is where his lion’s character shows the best.

“Women admire him,” mom says.

Yes, dad is likable. He is witty, funny, talented and creative. Who ever has said that math or physics are boring, just never had the pleasure of meeting my dad. Vaclav Konecny studied physics in Brno and later took on math.

A life-long learner himself, dad studied computer science at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, while teaching full-time math at Ferris. During the turbulent times of the 70s, dad took to the canvas and painted his oils from mosques in Sudan, Niagara Falls to Saguaro cacti in the national park in Arizona.

Many years later he found love in languages, Spanish and French. Both, mom and I watched him in awe freely communicate with Mexican wait staff and owners at different restaurants.

I don’t know, but I have a valid feeling that his favorite food is Mexican or Spanish even though he will not admit that in front of mom.

He has the vitality of a 30-year old not quite grown up man. His persistence lets him drive 1,367 miles from Big Rapids to Venice, Florida.

His innovation spirit can take him anywhere. He closes his eyes and imagines new routes and new paths to mathematical solutions.

“He’s solving problems all the time or counting the number of people in pews,” mom says.

Dad is a perfectionist at the expense of being disappointed with the imperfection of others. He is a true gentleman with manners from the court and always lets women go first.

I always ask myself this question when mom dictates what’s going to happen next:

“Is mom really the true boss in the Konecny household?”

She appears to be, and dad wants it that way to stay in her shadow with his quiet personality hiding the lion’s strength.

But, dad has been the driving force behind the family happenings  over the last 47 years since we have ventured out over the Atlantic pond.

Thanks dad for being the modern captain on this bold voyage, for showing us the world, for broadening our horizons and for creating endless surprises.

Happy birthday,

Emma & the family

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Final goodbye to Czech Republic

Dad heads home to bid farewell to family

United Airlines flight 974 with my dad Vaclav Konecny on board just landed in Geneva four and a half hours late due to maintenance on one of the Pratt & Whitney motors.

Homebound
Homebound

My dad is 80 and he flew home to Czech Republic to say final goodbye to the family. Dad has only one living sibling left, aunt Marta.

He is the founder of our immigration saga that started with the Soviet invasion in 1968. And it continues to evolve to this day with third generation.

That is basically what my memoir Greenwich Meridian is about.

Venice, Florida
Dad in Venice, Florida

To be continued

Note: This is my 150th post on EW Emma’s Writings on WordPress. The 15th new follower of EW will get a $25 gift certificate to Steak & Shake.

Copyright (c) 2014