Ora Yaroshek, 1918-2017
Published 1:00 am Saturday, May 20, 2017
Ora Lucille Machacek Yaroshek was born Jan. 27, 1918, the 12th and youngest child of the Mower County farming family of Lewis Machacek and Emma Kremenak Pell Machacek.
To attend high school, Ora left the Machacek farm for Austin, where she worked as a housekeeper and babysitter for Austin families in exchange for room and board.
Following graduation from Austin’s Central High School in 1937, Ora began work at George A. Hormel Co. as a clerk-typist in the administrative offices. Her initial pay rate was 46 1/2 cents per hour.
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“Good money in those days,” she recalled.
With the country engaged in World War II, Ora raised her hand and joined the U.S. Marine Corps, training at Hunter College and Indiana University. She served her country for 2 1/2 years, assigned to Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina. When Sgt. Machacek came marching home in 1945, she went right back to Hormel, where she worked for almost four decades.
In 1947, she married Elmer James Yaroshek, a fellow Marine and Hormel employee who had fought in the Pacific during the war.
Ora was a very patriotic woman who was proud of her military service. She loved U.S. Marine Corps memorabilia, and many of her snappy vests and blouses carried the red, white and blue of the U.S. flag. In 2002 she was among the World War II veterans and Hormel retirees who were honored at the SPAM Museum in Austin with a memorial wall into which their names were etched. Journalist Tom Brokaw spoke at the dedication, hailing the honorees as members of “The Greatest Generation.”
Ora was proud of her Czech heritage and of the sacrifices endured by her ancestors to make a new home in America. Her father, Lewis Machacek, came to the United States as a child with his family from Bohemia (Czech Republic). His father, Frank Machacek, and mother, Katherine Vyborney Machacek, left Kutna Hora, east of Prague, in 1864 with their 10 children ranging in age from 1 to 16 and somehow made their way to the Port of Bremen, where they boarded the SS America for a voyage of several weeks, during which one infant died and was buried at sea. When they landed in lower Manhattan, New York, in the area now known as The Battery, street riots were rampant and the Civil War was tearing the nation apart. Yet the Machaceks made their way to Lyle Township in Mower County to begin their new life. Ora grew up in a community of families with similar stories of hardship, promise, success and pride.
Ora was preceded in death by her parents; by her beloved husband, Elmer James Yaroshek, who was also a Marine; sisters Ida Machacek Jilek, Florence Genevive Machacek, Leah Machacek Rigler and Rita Machacek Seeger; and brothers Glenn, Ray, Lee, Loy, Walter, Irving and Fred Machacek.
She was the last of the 39 grandchildren of the original family of Frank and Katherine Machacek to migrate.
Ora is survived by four nieces, nine nephews and many great- and great-great nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. May 27 at the Worlein Funeral Home chapel. The Rev. Dennis Tamke will officiate. Visitation will be from 9 to 10 a.m. May 27 at Worlein Funeral Home. Burial with military honors by Star of the North Marine Detachment, American Legion Post 91 and VFW Post 1216 will follow at Oakwood Cemetery next to her husband of 54 years, Elmer Yaroshek.