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Vernon Norman Ruzicka, 86, Fort Atkinson

February 13, 2017 GMT

Vernon Norman Ruzicka, 86, of Fort Atkinson, passed away on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at Dycora Transitional Health and Living, after an extended battle with cancer.

Vernon was born in Walnut, Neb., on Dec. 5, 1930, the son of Fred and Marie Ruzicka.

While growing up and at a young age, his father was killed in a car accident, so Vernon continued to help on the family farm at Orchard, Neb. until enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1947.

While serving during the Korean War, he learned how to operate a crane and being a heavy equipment operator became his passion for over 45 years. Soon after he was promoted to sergeant, Vernon was in charge of helping to build the first landing strip for aircraft in Alaska. He served his country for four years.

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On March 16, 1972, Vernon married his wife, Janet, who went to be with the Lord on Feb. 1, 2008.

After searching to find happiness after his loss, he found a very special friend to make him feel whole again. Betty Veto was an amazing friend to him and she led him to finding the Lord and, by doing so, Vernon joined St. Joseph Catholic Church in 2010.

Vernon was a regular at the Second Harvest food donations, enjoying the job of handing out food to the needy families that would line up. He enjoyed dancing and taking road trips along the countryside, never knowing sure where the trip would end up.

At age 85 he started to become a little weaker and slower, but wouldn’t have it any other way, and to drive to Illinois to celebrate his granddaughter Bridget’s graduation party and his great-grandson Jaeden’s graduation from high school.

Vernon is survived by one son, Thomas Ruzicka (fiancé Brittany Cunningham); one daughter by another marriage, Janice (Steve) Klever; granddaughter, Bridget Ennis (fiancé, Jayson Canas; great-grandchildren, Jaeden Griffin, and Jasmine and Jaxan Ennis; and one brother, with several nieces and nephews.

He also was preceded in death by his mother and father, one sister, one brother and a niece.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at noon on Monday, Feb. 13, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1660 Endl Blvd., Fort Atkinson, with Father Peter Auer celebrating. Burial will be in the Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Atkinson.

Friends may call on Monday at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson.

The Nitardy Funeral Home in Fort Atkinson is assisting the family.

www.nitardyfuneralhome.com