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Funeral services for Wilbur Slaba will be 11 a.m., Thursday, March 28 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Wagner. Burial will be in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, rural Wagner, with military honors. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, March 27, with a Rosary/Scripture Wake service at 7 p.m. at the church. Peters Funeral Home of Wagner is in charge of arrangements.

It is with heavy but blessed hearts that we announce the passing of Wilbur Slaba, a beloved husband, dad, friend, and farmer. Wilbur left this world on March 21, 2024 at St. Michael’s Hospital in Tyndall to enter his wonderful eternal home.

Wilbur Joseph Slaba was born in Wagner on October 30, 1936 to Joe and Katherine (Koupal) Slaba. Wilbur was born with challenges right from the start, one being congenital hips. Nevertheless, that didn’t slow him down, and he kept right on going until his last days. When his legs could no longer do the walking, he decided to barrel down sidewalks and hallways with his trusty walker. Wilbur attended school until the 8th grade. He then dedicated his life to farming with his dad and then later proudly bought his own farm. Wilbur shared good ol’ stories about a favorite hobby of roller skating and meeting the love of his life skating at Resthaven. Gliding backwards and even in circles, Wilbur fell for a sweet, blue-eyed girl named Delma Leistra, who could only skate forward. Well, of course this savvy skater and handsome young man had a blast helping her skate backwards. The great times continued, and they happily rolled into marriage on May 14, 1957, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Wagner. Wilbur said “see you later, Mom” to his love after Delma passed in 2021. They celebrated a wonderful 64 years. To this union they raised their 7 children on their farm north of Wagner.

Wilbur served his country with the Army National Guard from December 1955 to 1962, was a member of St. John’s Catholic Church, where he loved to visit with everyone working at the July church band’s breakfast and the ticket booth at the bazaar. He also enjoyed being a member of the Wagner American Legion, Post 11 and the Bryan Township for Charles Mix County where he enjoyed social time and helping with fellow members.

In honor of our Dad, our hero… Dad was quite the stubborn Bohemian but had a huge heart for others. Dad humbly made many sacrifices for the good of others and his family. It goes without saying that the dear Lord, his wife, children, grand, great and great-great grandchildren, along with family and friends were his world. Dad wouldn’t want us to forget how important faith was to family, and we have many fond memories of getting all 9 of us in the car and going to church on Saturday night. Dad showed us some unpredictable, crazy moments, even going home after church, as he would dip down in the ditch to chase that cow that got out! All that knew him would agree that you likely saw him with a cigarette on his lips; that he loved raising cattle and farming the land. We could often hear him singing Marty Robbins or Eddie Arnold tunes or watching his Westerns while he enjoyed sipping his glass of Pepsi. Dad’s face lit up when Mom made duck and dumplings or fried chicken, and man, he always looked forward to scooping up her soft, warm divinity! Dad showed us that ice cream was the best treat, and he was sure tickled when he received an ice cream bar every night at the nursing home.

We were graced with so many more crazy, wonderful years with Dad than we ever thought. We often chuckled but were in awe how he had 25 lives and more! We will forever be grateful for such unexpected blessings. Pretty sure Dad stands strong, running and probably polka dancing and playing Pinochle with loved ones on Heaven’s golden roads.

Dad loved company. Popping the footrest of his easy chair, he welcomed you with a smile, ready to talk away. That trait traveled with him into other jobs after farming, and many enjoyed his gift of gab, from Buches to giving a hand to his brother and others, to the laundromat, where he could even get in some Czech chatter. He couldn’t stop there, and he became known as the social butterfly during at his extra home, the Tyndall nursing home. We can only imagine how he was welcomed into Jesus’ arms, but one can’t help but think Jesus recalled Dad’s memorable phrase – “Well, all be! I was just thinking about you and hoped you’d come today!” Thanks, Dad, for all you did for us and so many. Go rest high on that mountain, Dad. Your hard work on earth is done and done well mighty, faithful servant.

Thankful for having shared his life are his children: Gayle (Chuck) Nyreen, Wagner, Bob (Norma) Slaba, Pierre, Kathy (Kevin) Leonard, Armour, Mark (Vicki) Slaba, Arcadia, FL, Mike (Shelly) Slaba, North Platte, NE, Kerry (Lacey) Slaba, Box Elder, Kim (Lynn) Soukup, Wagner; 21 grandchildren; 38 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren; brother, Eugene Slaba, Wagner; sister, Doris (Don) Hosek, Wagner; sisters-in law: Doris Kreeger, Wagner, Diann Steed, Amarillo, TX, Dolly (Tom) Stogdill, Council Bluffs, IA, DeEtta Blue of FL, Janice Leistra, Armour, Wilma Leistra, Lawrence, KS; many relatives and friends.

Wilbur was preceded in death by his wife, Delma (Leistra) Slaba, his parents, parents-inlaw, Lyle and Helen (Quinn) Shortreed; sisters-in-law: Dorothy Olofson, Delores Nelson, Donna Ehresmann, Delila (Eldon) Stanfield, Darlene Leistra, Barb Slaba; brothers-in-law: Don, Delbert, Dale, Douglas, and Dennis Leistra, Richard Nelson, John Olofson and Leonard Kreeger.