Colfax County Veterans Memorial

MEET Lieutenant Francis W. Horak

Remembering the Legacy of Lieutenant Francis W. Horak

December 16, 1940 – Columbus, NE – August 20, 2022 Milwaukee, WI

In the annals of history, certain individuals stand out as beacons of service and dedication. Lieutenant Francis W. Horak, born on December 16, 1940, in Columbus, NE, left an indelible mark through his unwavering commitment to his country and community. On August 20, 2022, Milwaukee, WI bid farewell to a remarkable soul, whose journey was defined by selflessness and sacrifice.

**A Life of Military Dedication**

From 1962 to 1966, Lieutenant Horak served as a Petty Officer 2nd Class in the Navy Seabees, a storied chapter in his life that saw him deployed in Vietnam for an awe-inspiring three years and seven months. His bravery and steadfastness in the face of adversity echoed loudly, a testament to his unwavering dedication to preserving freedom and justice.

Following his active duty, Lieutenant Horak continued his service in the Naval Reserve, attaining the rank of Lieutenant from 1966 to 1982. His commitment to his country was not only recognized but also honored, as he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and Good Conduct Award. These accolades underscored his excellence as a military professional.

**A Son of the Heartland**

Lieutenant Horak’s roots were firmly planted in the heartland of Colfax County, Nebraska, where he was raised on the family farm. It was here that he ingrained the values of hard work, resilience, and dedication that would come to define his character in the years to come.

As a mark of respect and recognition for his unwavering service, Lieutenant Horak’s committal took place with Military Honors at the Schuyler Nebraska Cemetery. The echoes of his dedication reverberated throughout the ceremony, a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by men and women like him.

**Leaving Behind a Lasting Legacy**

Lieutenant Horak’s memory lives on through the lives he touched and the family he cherished. Survived by his beloved wife, Mary, he leaves behind a legacy that extends through generations. His brothers, Dr. Willis (Dr. Virginia) Horak of Tucson, AZ, and Dr. Willard Horak of Schuyler, NE, stand as a testament to the strength of family bonds forged in love and solidarity.

Moreover, Lieutenant Horak’s impact is felt through his nephew, Dr. Matthew (Dr. Wan Bae) of Seattle, WA, niece Dr. Katherine (Robert Butrico) of Fort Collins, CO, and stepson Nicholas (Melanie) Chamulak of Lodi, CA. Their lives carry forward the values he held dear and the compassion he exemplified.

**A Journey Remembered**

Lieutenant Francis W. Horak’s journey was marked by sacrifice, honor, and dedication. As he reunited with his parents, Frank and Emily Horak, and parents-in-law Albert and Marcella Gerstmeier, his legacy continues to shine as a beacon of inspiration. In his memory, we reflect on the profound impact one person can have on a nation, a community, and the hearts of those who loved him.

*As we look back on the life of Lieutenant Francis W. Horak, we are reminded that the echoes of heroism never truly fade away. Through his service, his dedication, and his love, he leaves an enduring legacy that will continue to inspire for generations to come.*

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