Lawrence R. Zavadil

Lawrence R. Zavadil, age 90 of Crofton, NE passed away on Friday, July 17, 2020 at his home on the farm surrounded by family members.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 am on Monday, July 20, 2020 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Crofton, NE with Rev. Jim Keiter officiating.  Committal service will follow at the Beaver Creek Cemetery in rural Crofton, NE at approximately 10:45 am with military honors provided by the Crofton American Legion Post 128. Live streaming of Lawrence’s services can be found at: Visitation will be one hour prior to the service on Monday, at church. Online condolences may be sent on Lawrence’s obituary page at Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz Funeral Home in Crofton.

Lawrence Raymond Zavadil was born on September 15, 1929 at the original Zavadil Homestead in the Menominee area.  He was the eldest of five children of George and Catherine Zavadil (Lawrence, Genevieve, Jerome, Ervin and Daniel).  He grew up on the family farm and attended grade school at the one room Beaver Creek School.  He met Mary Ann Van Heek, who was raised on a farm south of Crofton, NE and they were married on November 23, 1953.  Lawrence and MaryAnn had seven children, four boys (David, Duane, Larry and Bill) and three girls (Susan, Jean and Judy).

Lawrence served in the United States Army and fought in the Korean War achieving the rank of Sargent First Class.  He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).  After the War he returned to the family farm where he continued to farm until shortly before passing.  Lawrence put his heart and soul into keeping the family farm going through several difficult periods over the years.  The farm was recently awarded the Nebraska Pioneer Family Farm Award for being in the family over 120 years.

Lawrence was a great steward of the land and conservationist.  He was a member of the Bluebirds across Nebraska Association; planted over a thousand trees in shelter belts on or near the family farm; constructed terraces to reduce soil erosion; and protected his cattle pasture with a rotation practice not commonly followed.  His pasture was studied by the University of Nebraska agriculture department as a model of well-preserved tallgrass prairie.  He had a passion for the land and growing things, whether in the fields, his and Mary Ann’s gardens, or the greenhouse.  He served for 30 years as a board member of the Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District where he was instrumental in establishing and maintaining the Cedar-Knox Rural Water District now used by many farms and towns in the area. He promoted the construction of the Chalkrock and Tatanka Lakes to protect wildlife habitat and provide downstream flood control.

Lawrence had a number of interests other than farming.  In his youth he was an avid baseball player and played for the Menominee baseball team during which he had the distinction of batting against Bob Gibson, the major league hall of famer who at the time was pitching for Crofton.  Later in life when his boys were old enough to play, he coached a neighborhood baseball team called Beaver Creek which played local town teams.  He also enjoyed riding motorcycles in his younger years and hosted scrambles type motorcycle races in his pasture in the early 1960’s.  He travelled to Sturgis SD many times to watch the races during rally week before the rally became famous. He also enjoyed the mountains throughout the West, an appreciation he gained through the many trips he and Mary Ann took to visit family there.

He was a creative man that taught himself enough guitar chords to strum some of his favorite tunes and was an enthusiastic photographer who had his own darkroom in the basement of his house developing photos before the digital age came around.

Most importantly Lawrence was a person of honor and integrity, a loving husband, a devoted father and strong supporter of the community and the local Catholic school and church where his children went to school and where he and Mary Ann participated in the liturgy for many years.

Lawrence is survived by his wife Mary Ann of Crofton; his seven children, 19 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren.  His children are David (Barbara) Zavadil of Crofton, NE, with grandchildren Clint, Dillon and Jessie and great grandchildren Reagan, Anna, Harper, Zoe, Owen and Hazel; Susan (Russ) Zavadil of Yankton, SD, with grandchildren Sarah and Beth and great grandchild Charlotte; Duane (Glenda) Zavadil of  Sedalia, CO, with grandchildren Anya, Ben and Thomas and great grandchild Bailey; Larry Zavadil of Littleton, CO, with grandchildren Dalton, Griffin and Weston; Jean (Alan) Ryan of Iowa City, IA, with grandchildren Benjamin and Nathan; Judy (Bruno) Zavadil of Dublin, CA, with grandchildren Noah and Micah; and Bill (Karla) Zavadil of Omaha, NE, with grandchildren Daniel, Kelli, Ryan and Joseph; and brother Daniel of Boise, ID.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Ervin and Jerome, his sister Genevieve and grandchild, Cody.

Memorials in his memory can be directed to the Beaver Creek Cemetery Association, care of Duane Guenther, 55153 895 Rd., Crofton, NE 68730

For those unable to attend the service, please send your written memories of Lawrence to the family.

Memorial Service for Lawrence Zavadil

Posted by Wintz & Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service on Monday, July 20, 2020

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7 response to "Lawrence R. Zavadil"

  1. By: Diane Olson Posted: July 18, 2020

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I have heard many amazing stories about Laurence and the wonderful influence he had on his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s lives. I wish you all comfort and peace as you celebrate his very rich life.
    With deepest sympathy,
    Diane Olson
    (friend of Jean and Al Ryan, from Iowa City)

  2. By: Becky Yonke Braase Posted: July 19, 2020

    The picture of Uncle Lawrence makes me smile and cry. Some of my best childhood memories are spending a week on the farm, where us city kids from Idaho got to run wild from sun up to sun down. Love and hugs to everyone, sorry we could not be there. Rest In Peace Uncle Lawrence.

  3. By: Tahsin and Somi Posted: July 20, 2020

    Dear Jean and Alan,

    We are sorry for you loss.
    Sincere condolences to the families grieving the loss they suffered. Please accept our condolences.

    Tahsin & Somi

  4. By: Rita Steffen Posted: July 20, 2020

    I was so fortunate to have Lawrence as an uncle and will always remember him as a kind man with a wonderful sense of humor
    and a wealth of knowledge about so many different subjects. He was always a pleasure to spend time with and will be dearly missed.. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Rita Steffen and Bob Waibel

  5. By: Tom Moser Posted: July 21, 2020

    I was proud to work with Lawrence on the NRD and Rural Water project. His knowledge and common sense was valuable and respected among the directors and staff. He’s the only person we would ask to locate meter pits or leaks when we had a problem that needed quick answers. His knowledge of all things wild and growing were ahead of the books… We all will miss him…..

  6. By: Ken Steffen Posted: July 24, 2020

    I was blessed to have Lawrence as an Uncle.
    I will remember him for his kindness, insatiable curiosity, and sense of humor. It was always a pleasure to visit him and Mary Ann on the farm. It seemed like every time I visited, there was a new project in progress.
    He always showed an interest in my schooling and in later years in my job, and would ask me questions to learn what he could from my experiences.
    He will be greatly missed.
    Ken & Joanne Steffen

  7. By: Mary Ann Zavadil Schulte Posted: July 26, 2020

    I and my sister, Coletta Zavadil Corwin wish to express our condolences to family of Lawrence. We have fond memories of visiting the farm when Lawrence’s parents owned it. There were stories told of hunting with the hound dogs and the antics of the dogs around the farm. There was always a lunch served by Lawrence’s mother.


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