Obituary Details

Jaromir "Jerry" Urbanek

(10/28/1902 - 04/22/1992)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 04/29/1992

Jerry (Jaromir) Urbanek

Jerry (Jaromir) Urbanek, 89, a native of Czechoslovakia, died Wednesday, April 22, 1992, at the Niobrara Memorial Nursing Home in Lusk where he had been a resident since January 1988.

Diabetes had necessitated the amputation of one leg. When his wife, Mae, a well-known author, could no longer care for him, he was placed in the nursing home where she, too, has resided since August 1988.

Jerry was born in Zinkane, Czechoslovakia, Oct. 28, 1902, one of five children of Frantisek and Emelie Jehlicka Urbanek. His father was a nationally known and honored Protestant minister. Jerry attended schools in his home country.

On Dec. 20, 1920, he left with a two-year passport for the United States. On Dec. 27, 1921, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, the enlistment papers indicating his occupation as a student. He was honorably discharged Dec. 15, 1924.

Continuing his education, he enrolled at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and graduated intending to become a naturalized citizen. Apparently, it was while he was working his way at Northwestern that he met Mae Robb, a reporter for the old Chicago Journal and herself a graduate of Northwestern. They were married Dec. 14, 1928.

In Mae's book, "The Uncovered Wagon," she writes that she wanted to ranch, and "we decided that we would leave the clatter and racket of city life for the quiet of her father's farm in North Dakota." But after two years, they moved to Rapid City to run a small grocery store.

During the fall of 1930 when on a trip, the Urbaneks stopped at a farm five miles north and one mile east of Lusk that posted a "For Sale" sign and decided to buy it. The road past the farm was then the highway north of Lusk through the Breaks. They later bought several adjacent homesteads and parcels of land.

The Urbaneks were some of the early experimenters with strip farming, raised some beef and dairy cattle and in 1954 their windbreak won first place in the Demming dry-land shelter belt state contest. Retiring in 1970, the couple traveled extensively around the United States and to Australia and Czechoslovakia where he had nieces and nephews.

He was co-author with his wife, Mae, of the book, "Know Wyoming," a bibliography of books about Wyoming which has been popular among university and public libraries. He also assisted in research and travels that were basis for her other books and writings, helped in preparing her manuscripts for publication. In earlier years, he often read some of her poetry in public programs, and together they gave programs on gardening over a wide area. A virtual forest of planted trees, outside displays of gathered rocks, shrubs and flowers made their place a popular attraction.

Funeral services were held at the Bader-Peet Mortuary in Lusk Monday, April 27, 1992, at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Frank Bozart officiating. Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and two brothers. Several nieces and nephews have continued contact with the Urbaneks. One of those who visited the Urbaneks last fall was Dr. Iva Drapalova who is a Czech correspondent for several U.S. newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.

Images & Attachments

Jerry and Mae Urbanek and their "Cedardale" rural home were featured in the Lusk Herald in 1971
Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Urbanek, Elthea (09/10/1903 - 05/29/1995) View Record
Obituary Bobb, Sarah (11/30/-0001 - 12/18/1952) View Record
Cemetery Record URBANEK, JAROMIR View Record
Historical Urbanek, Mae and Jerry: Niobrara Memoirs View Record