Martin J. Svoboda, 87, of Holdrege, formerly of Elwood, died Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, at Phelps Memorial Health Center in Holdrege.
He was born Nov. 15, 1924, in Wahoo to Joseph and Barbara (Benes) Svoboda.
He attended school at Valparaiso High School and graduated with the class of 1941. After his schooling, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Saipan-Tinian, Mariana and Volcano Islands and Iwo Jima. Upon his discharge, he furthered his education at Peru State College where he also played basketball.
He received his bachelor's degree in education from Peru State in 1949 and embarked on a 38-year career in education. He later received his master's and school administration educational specialist degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
On June 1, 1950, he married Laura M. Siel in York. He and Laura were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church in York. In 1951, he was the principal at Benedict Public Schools. He taught and coached grades seven through 12 in Nebraska, Iowa and Arizona.
After teaching and being principal in Phoenix, he came back to Nebraska to be a principal at Tri County High School, near DeWitt and then was superintendent at Burwell for nine years and Eustis for 11 years. He retired in 1987 and moved to Elwood while his wife continued to teach. Martin then moved to Holdrege to be closer to family.
He was a member of St. John's Catholic Church in Smithfield and a Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion member. He enjoyed traveling with his wife to see his grandchildren, working on the family farm back in Riverton and reading the newspaper.
Laura died March 24, 2008.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents; grandson, Steven M. Lange; brothers, Charles and Joe Svoboda; and sisters, Agnes Reno and Carolyn Jochim.
Survivors include his sons, Martin J. Svoboda II and his wife, Judith, of Fayetteville, Ark., Thomas Svoboda and his wife, Marlene, of McCook, Michael Svoboda and his wife, Cindy, of Missoula, Mont., Daniel Svoboda and his wife, Cindy, of Holdrege and Ronald Svoboda and his wife, Lee Ann, of Fort Myer, Fla.; daughter, Katherine Lange and her husband, Duane, of Ord; brother-in-law, Jack Siel and his wife, Velma, of Franklin; 20 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. John's Catholic Church in Smithfield with the Rev. Thomas Lux officiating. Burial will be at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Riverton Cemetery with military honors by the Nebraska Honor Guard.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at Elwood Funeral Home. Rosary will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the church.