Donna J. Svanda passed away on December 23, 2021 at the age of 79. She was born on April 17, 1942 to Joseph and Blanche (Kunc) Svanda of Virginia, Nebraska at the old Pawnee Hospital Annex. Donna was the eldest of four children; Kermit, Janet and Lois. Donna enjoyed every minute with her siblings and their many outings. Some of their most fond memories were playing BINGO together once a month and weekly Wednesday evening pinochle games. As children, they adored riding their horse named Feathers.
Donna attended school at Virginia, Nebraska, graduating in the class of 1959. Some of Donna’s fondest memories in school was when she tried out for the trombone in music class but Miss Bambauer needed a drummer. Therefore, Donna worked on her drumming skills and on her 16th birthday (April 17, 1958) she got 1st place on her snare drum solo and went to All State Band in Grand Island that same year. After high school, Donna attended Business school at National Business Institute in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1976, Donna started her job at the Pawnee County Assessor’s Office. She thoroughly enjoyed her job at the courthouse and all the people she was able to visit with through the years. She retired from the courthouse in 2012.
Donna was married to Bob Blecha on December 4, 1960 in Virginia, NE. In this marriage, the couple welcomed two sons, Douglas Blecha and Gregory Blecha. Donna loved being a mother and cherished every moment she was able to spend with her two boys. In 1989, Bob Blecha and Donna divorced but were still able to remain good friends up to her last day.
Donna was a very proud grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters; Nicole and Natalie. Donna and her granddaughters made many memories that they will never forget. A few memories they enjoyed were baking cupcakes and kolaches throughout their childhood, going on a yearly shopping spree before school would start each year, watching the Wizard of Oz on repeat, silly string wars and just laying in her big king sized bed talking about life. Donna loved these two girls and would do anything for them at any minute of any given day. Donna would often joke- she got blessed in the son department and the granddaughter department.
In 1963, Bob Blecha, Table Rock Bob Blecha, Bob Stepanek, and Milan Tomek organized and started the Bob Blecha and the Bouncing Czechs, a seven piece band. In 1967, Donna purchased a red Drum set in Beatrice, Nebraska, and was invited to join the Bouncing Czechs. Her first dance job was a wedding dance. She was always so happy to be sitting behind her drum set and waving her drumstick at everyone in the crowd. She was never one to turn down a dance job and would always be ready to load the drums and tuba up and get on the road. This was her happy place.
Donna and Bob Stepanek began their relationship and created a life revolving around their love for polka music, traveling, and keeping each other on their toes. Donna and Bob Stepanek spent many years traveling around the United States and making it a goal to visit each of the State’s Capitals. They enjoyed Branson, Las Vegas, Chicago, Yellowstone, Jazz Festivals at Osage Beach, Missouri, Jardines in Kansas City, Polka festivals, the House on the Rock in Wisconsin and just day trips. Bob Stepanek stated that they had traveled to Branson 33 times throughout the years and Donna was always ready to load up in the vehicle and go again.
Donna loved people and visiting for hours on end. She loved polka music, playing the drums, being a 75 year member of the ZCBJ Lodge, taking numerous photos, supporting Nicole and Natalie in all their school events, family events, and drooling over Garth Brooks. She was also a big Husker and Chiefs fan. Donna knew no stranger and made everyone feel loved. She always gave the best hugs that would make anyone feel better no matter what was going on. She was one to always worry about others before herself. Up to her last moments on this earth she spent her time asking about everyone else, sending cards for people’s birthdays and for the holiday season and surrounded by her family and friends just like she always loved. Donna loved life to the fullest and enjoyed every minute.
Donna is survived by her significant other, Robert Stepanek; her two children Doug Blecha of Beatrice, NE and Greg Blecha and Yvonne Williams of Pawnee City, NE; her granddaughters Nicole Wilken of Auburn, NE and Natalie Blecha of Tecumseh, NE; her brother Kermit (Sue) Svanda of Nehawka, NE; her sisters Janet (John) Vetrovsky of Pawnee City and Lois (Ron) Tegtmeier of Burchard, NE; ex-husband Robert Blecha and Connie Dorn of Pawnee City, NE and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Blanche Svanda; and her nephew Todd Tegtmeier.
Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, December 29, 2021 at the Christian Church/United Presbyterian Church, Pawnee City, Nebraska. Officiating Pastor Howard Blecha. Visitation on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with family greeting friends from 5-7 p.m. at Wherry Mortuary 919 G Street, Pawnee City, Nebraska. Interment at the Czech National Cemetery, southwest of Humboldt. The service will be live-streamed on the Wherry Mortuary/Wherry Monument Facebook page. The link is now also located at the bottom of Donna's webpage. Memorials to family choice. Online condolences may be left at www.wherrymortuary.com.