Col. Jerry F. Flicek, 86

Col. Jerry F. Flicek, 86, of New Prague, a retired Air Force officer and former New Prague mayor, died Thursday, Aug. 5, 2004, at Mala Strana Health Care Center in New Prague.

Born September 19, 1917, in Wheatland Township, Rice County, Jerry Flicek was the son of John C. and Elizabeth (Dvorak) Flicek. He attended St. Wenceslaus School, Scott County District School (District 71) and New Prague High School, graduating in 1936. He worked as a gamekeeper and trapper at a state game refuge prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in January, 1942.

He was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Corps, predecessor to the Air Force, and during World War II, he was stationed at several bases in the Pacific Theater. He was involved in bombing and air-sea rescue, working as an aerial gunner and a flight engineer. He went through cadet training and by the end of the war had been promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

After the war, he decided to make the Air Force a career. He attended Yale University. He later earned an engineering degree from the University of Maryland, a master's degree from George Washington University and a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics. At the age of 70, he earned a Ph.D. in management and industrial education from California Western University.

In 1947, he was assigned as commander of the first guided missile unit in the U.S., and spent the next two years in missile research and development.

During the Korean War, he served as a forward air controller and also helped train flight crews, primarily in air-to-air gunnery. By the end of the war, he had achieved the rank of major.

After Korea, he was placed back in the missile program and worked with the Matador guided missile system and the Lark Surface to Air missile (SAM). He fired the first SAM for the Air Force and was also the launching officer for the first night missile launching and the first mass missile launching exercise.

During his military career, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star. He was also honored by NASA as a pioneer of the space program for his work with missiles.

His marriage to Louise C. Combel took place on August 10, 1947, in Tampa, FL. She died in 1973. He married Mary L. Giblin on May 5, 1976, in St. Paul. She died on January 19, 1992. He married Irene J. Trnka Linn on May 28, 1993, in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

He retired from the Air Force in 1973, and returned to New Prague. He worked for Minnesota Valley Engineering for 20 years and was national treasurer of Catholic Workman for nine years before retiring. Flicek served as mayor of New Prague for two years in the 1970s and for 14 years from 1987-2000.

He served as Grand Marshal for the 2000 Dozinky Parade of Farm Pride, and was inducted into the New Prague High School Hall of Fame.

He was a member of the Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion.

Col. Jerry Flicek is survived by his third wife, Irene, of St. Cloud; stepson, Osborne Danner of New Prague; step-daughter-in-law Joann Dawson of New Prague; stepdaughters Debra (Kevin) Fahey of Belle Plaine and Sharee Trinka of Sartell; a sister, Adeline Kennedy of Post Falls, ID; sisters-in-law Marie Flicek (Archie Kocina) of New Prague and Edith Flicek of Shakopee; and several step-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; by two wives, Louise and Mary; brothers Emil W. and John T. Flicek; and a brother-in-law, Vincent Kennedy.

Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 9, 2004, at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in New Prague, with Father George Freeman officiating. Judge John Fitzgerald delivered the eulogy. Visitation was held from 3-9 p.m. Sunday at Bruzek Funeral Home in New Prague, and also from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Interment was at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Cemetery in New Prague. Pallbearers were Jerry Minar, Tom Preston, Archie Kocina, Jim Sticha, Kevin Fahey and John Fitzgerald.

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