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Vincent Francis Liska
Vincent Francis Liska of Karnes City died on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, at the age of 83, after a short battle with brain cancer. Vincent was born on Feb. 27, 1930, in Hobson, Texas, to Frank and Mary Hons Liska.
He started school in Hobson only speaking Bohemian and having to repeat the first grade to learn English. He graduated from Karnes City High School in 1949. Vincent enjoyed life, music, dancing, building bridges, farming and raising cattle, traveling, gardening, and gambling.
As a young man, he worked hard on the family farm raising various crops, cattle, pigs, and chickens. For extra money, he hunted raccoons, possums, and skunks and sold the hides. Fish, especially catfish, was provided by setting a trot line versus using a fishing pole. He enjoyed traveling around the countryside in his Model A Ford. Although Vincent never had a music lesson, he learned to play the fiddle, accordion, and some electric guitar. He loved playing at dances with the “Hobson Play Boys Band.” He loved dancing a good polka. At one of these dances he met his wife, Joyce Heinen. They married Oct. 24, 1953, danced in each other’s arms for 56 years, and raised four children. Together they led many Grand Marches at weddings.
As a newlywed in the 1950s, Vincent began working with bridge construction companies. He met Buddy Burba and together they formed B&L Construction Company. As the construction partner, he managed the construction of almost every bridge in Karnes and Wilson counties, as well as many of the bridges in central and south Texas. When his partner decided to retire, he and his wife bought the company and formed Liska Construction Company. After spending a full day building bridges, he would head to one of many properties to farm crops of corn, cotton, wheat, maize, hay grazer, or whatever was currently in demand. If a machine stopped, he figured out how to fix it. He also figured out how to include his children in the farming by picking cotton, driving tractors, hauling hay, feeding cattle, or whatever was needed.
With his wife and family, Vincent enjoyed traveling to many states with the highlight being a trip to Europe where he visited the area of Austria where his father had emigrated from. After retiring from bridge construction, one of the things Vincent enjoyed the most was gardening. His gardens were not small as they covered almost 3 acres of land. He grew okra, squash, tomatoes, watermelons, cucumbers, cantaloupes, and an assortment of other vegetables. His harvests were so bountiful that he began selling them to local supermarkets and from his truck in areas of Karnes and Wilson counties. His okra became so popular that he became known by many as “The Okra Man.” His second favorite pastime was gambling. Vincent was always ready to go on a casino trip especially enjoying a monthly trip to Louisiana with his friends. When traveling, he was always ready to make a casino stop to try to win “The Jackpot.” He also enjoyed a good Spurs or Cowboys game.
Vincent was preceded in death by his wife, Joyce; his parents; sister and brother-in-law Marcellus and Lillie Marie Liska Kotara; and his great-granddaughter, Jordan Elizabeth Kotara.
He is survived by his children and their spouses, Pam and Francis Kotara, Tim and Sandra Liska, Don and Nancy Liska, and Lynette and Mike Picco; his grandchildren, Kristen Kotara Potter and husband Michael, Duane Kotara and wife Brittni, Tyler Liska, Travis Liska, Tara Liska, Matthew Picco, and Andrew Picco; his great-grandchildren, Genavie Dishner-Kotara and Whitten Potter; his special friend, Gladys Bordovsky; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation was held Friday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m. with a rosary recited at 7 p.m. in the Rhodes Funeral Home in Karnes City, with the Rev. Lambert S. Bily officiating.
A funeral Mass was held on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the St. Cornelius Catholic Church in Karnes City, officiated by his nephew, the Rev. James Kotara.
Interment followed in the Hobson Cemetery in Hobson.
Serving as pallbearers were his grandchildren.
Honorary pallbearers were his coffee drinking buddies, his gambling buddies, and longtime Liska Construction Company employees.
Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, the Hobson Cemetery Association, or the charity of one’s choice.
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