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Frances Marie (Tomek) Starck Obituary

Brought to you by Darrell Howe Mortuary

Frances Marie (Tomek) Starck

Lafayette, Colorado

April 24, 2024

Frances Marie (Tomek) Starck Obituary

With grace and dignity, Frances Marie (Tomek) Starck passed away on April 24, 2024, after living 96 years of a rewarding, inspiring life. She was surrounded by most of her Colorado family.


Although dementia challenged her last 6 years, her overall decline was swift that last week. During her short stay in hospice, her two daughters comforted her by singing songs across her bed. She had the softest, sweetest expression of peacefulness through the duration of a Czech song repeated over and over. Every round or two she’d sing along, ever so softly, on a word or partial phrase. Music was one of her passions and was always something she shared with family and friends. Throughout her life, she played piano and accordion, sang in several choral groups and performed in several bands.


Her life began in a farming community where her Czech ancestors settled in the rolling hills of southeast Nebraska. As a child she learned the values of dedication to work and family, and an appreciation for music and heritage. Music filled the home with father Frank on cornet, brother Rudy on trumpet, mother Lily Mae on piano and Fran on trumpet or accordion. From time to time her remote country home was filled with visiting friends and family, cooperative farm workers and local musicians who came to rehearse with her father in his Frank Tomek Polka Band. Both she and her brother played in the band during their high school years.


The union of Fran and William A. Starck in 1944 brought three daughters into the world: Linda, Carla and Joyce. Relocating from Nebraska to Colorado in pursuit of career prospects, their young family faced an unexpected challenge when Bill succumbed to cancer. At the tender age of 33, Fran found herself navigating single parenthood, raising their daughters then aged 6, 8 and 10. Drawing upon lessons of resilience and perseverance instilled in her youth, Fran began her distinguished 40-year career in government service. Her determined spirit, dedicated work ethic, and optimistic outlook propelled her career forward from entry-level clerical work to her final role as highly regarded Purchasing and Contract Specialist at The National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, CO.


The early years of raising her daughters were filled with the day-to-day survival routine of school and work. On school days Fran woke her young girls with an upbeat sing-song melody and a hot breakfast, setting the tone for the day ahead. And every day ended sharing stories around the dinner table. As a single mother, Fran developed an attitude of teamwork to teach her daughters shared responsibility of home life and important lessons of family finances and thriftiness. When she could, the things she loved and valued were introduced; camping, adventure trips, accordion lessons and visits to the family farm. The farm was a cherished respite from the daily grind, full of music, singing, wagon rides, and family games. Appreciation for farm life passed from one generation to the next to daughters grateful for the exposure to Czech culture, music and the power of familial bonds.


Fran's never-quit spirit fueled her every pursuit, bringing her purpose and a sense of fulfillment. She built three mountain homes, beginning with a quaint rustic log house in Lyons. The next two were powered by solar, aptly named Solar 1 (Lyons) and Solar 2 (Boulder). These homes were truly on the cutting edge of the solar power movement and received much acclaim at the time. She had a green thumb and a keen eye for outdoor spaces and kept beautiful gardens and plants everywhere she lived. Fran called many communities on the front range home including the towns of Boulder, Aurora, Longmont, Lyons, Louisville, and Fort Collins. In each community, she cultivated lasting friendships through her involvement in work, church, choirs, bands, volunteerism, outdoor adventures and travel.


Fran’s travel experiences spanned continents, and her love for outdoor mountain adventures took her to countless mountain peaks. As a lover of her Czech heritage, she traveled to Czech Republic several times to trace family roots and share the experience with her children and grandchildren. She was an excellent guide having brushed up on the Czech language she heard as a child to act as family translator. As an outdoor enthusiast she took full advantage of the Colorado mountains with camping, biking, hiking and climbing 14ers. She hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in her 70’s; and proudly held the title of the oldest seasonal worker at Yellowstone National Park at age 88.


Fran demonstrated unquestioned love, devotion and loyalty to her family. She made it a priority to be available to them for their special interests. Granddaughters, Laura and Kelly, fondly reminisce about their multitude of shared activities with their Gram. From playing piano duets with Laura at Multiple Piano Festivals to joining adventurous Girl Scout trips and sharing in creative cooking activities with Kelly, Gram made every moment special. A family video recorded of Gram teaching Kelly the intricacies of baking Kolache serves as a cherished memento, capturing the bond they shared. When given a school assignment to write about someone who’d inspired her, Laura chose her grandmother. Gram was ever the role model.


Family members and friends marvel at her perseverance through life’s challenges with a positive attitude even in the most dire of circumstances. Although not unfamiliar to grief and loss, the death of her first-born daughter Linda in 2007 was especially difficult for her. She credited her volunteer work, helping those less fortunate, for giving her the strength and courage to move forward. She has been a valued role model to many who have known her.


Her family will miss her amazing cheerful and positive spirit but will have many cherished memories to help relieve their grief. From the traditional Czech foods to the joyful melodies of her beloved music and the laughter sparked by Czech expressions, Fran's essence is woven into the fabric of countless family gatherings.

In her passing, Fran leaves behind a legacy of an extraordinary, accomplished, warm-hearted woman. Her 96 years truly exemplified a life well lived, with countless moments of joy, love, and unwavering optimism.


Fran is survived by her two daughters, Carla Starck and Joyce Wolfkiel, her son in law, Bill Wolfkiel; her two granddaughters Laura Gill and Kelly Swyers and their husbands Patrick Gill and Aron Swyers; and four great grandchildren Dillon Humphrey, Lily Gill, Connor Humphrey and Georgia Gill.


The family does not intend to have a public service, but if you’re inclined to do something in her honor, one idea would be to “pay-forward” a kind gesture or a smile, as Fran would do in the course of her average day.


To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Frances Marie (Tomek) Starck hosted by Darrell Howe Mortuary.

With grace and dignity, Frances Marie (Tomek) Starck passed away on April 24, 2024, after living 96 years of a rewarding, inspiring life. She was surrounded by most of her Colorado family.


Although dementia challenged her last 6 years, her overall decline was swift that last week. During her short stay in hospice, her two daughters comforted her by singing songs across her bed. She had the softest, sweetest expression of peacefulness through the duration of a Czech song repeated over and over. Every round or two she’d sing along, ever so softly, on a word or partial phrase. Music was one of her passions and was always something she shared with family and friends. Throughout her life, she played piano and accordion, sang in several choral groups and performed in several bands.


Her life began in a farming community where her Czech ancestors settled in the rolling hills of southeast Nebraska. As a child she learned the values of dedication to work and family, and an appreciation for music and heritage. Music filled the home with father Frank on cornet, brother Rudy on trumpet, mother Lily Mae on piano and Fran on trumpet or accordion. From time to time her remote country home was filled with visiting friends and family, cooperative farm workers and local musicians who came to rehearse with her father in his Frank Tomek Polka Band. Both she and her brother played in the band during their high school years.


The union of Fran and William A. Starck in 1944 brought three daughters into the world: Linda, Carla and Joyce. Relocating from Nebraska to Colorado in pursuit of career prospects, their young family faced an unexpected challenge when Bill succumbed to cancer. At the tender age of 33, Fran found herself navigating single parenthood, raising their daughters then aged 6, 8 and 10. Drawing upon lessons of resilience and perseverance instilled in her youth, Fran began her distinguished 40-year career in government service. Her determined spirit, dedicated work ethic, and optimistic outlook propelled her career forward from entry-level clerical work to her final role as highly regarded Purchasing and Contract Specialist at The National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, CO.


The early years of raising her daughters were filled with the day-to-day survival routine of school and work. On school days Fran woke her young girls with an upbeat sing-song melody and a hot breakfast, setting the tone for the day ahead. And every day ended sharing stories around the dinner table. As a single mother, Fran developed an attitude of teamwork to teach her daughters shared responsibility of home life and important lessons of family finances and thriftiness. When she could, the things she loved and valued were introduced; camping, adventure trips, accordion lessons and visits to the family farm. The farm was a cherished respite from the daily grind, full of music, singing, wagon rides, and family games. Appreciation for farm life passed from one generation to the next to daughters grateful for the exposure to Czech culture, music and the power of familial bonds.


Fran's never-quit spirit fueled her every pursuit, bringing her purpose and a sense of fulfillment. She built three mountain homes, beginning with a quaint rustic log house in Lyons. The next two were powered by solar, aptly named Solar 1 (Lyons) and Solar 2 (Boulder). These homes were truly on the cutting edge of the solar power movement and received much acclaim at the time. She had a green thumb and a keen eye for outdoor spaces and kept beautiful gardens and plants everywhere she lived. Fran called many communities on the front range home including the towns of Boulder, Aurora, Longmont, Lyons, Louisville, and Fort Collins. In each community, she cultivated lasting friendships through her involvement in work, church, choirs, bands, volunteerism, outdoor adventures and travel.


Fran’s travel experiences spanned continents, and her love for outdoor mountain adventures took her to countless mountain peaks. As a lover of her Czech heritage, she traveled to Czech Republic several times to trace family roots and share the experience with her children and grandchildren. She was an excellent guide having brushed up on the Czech language she heard as a child to act as family translator. As an outdoor enthusiast she took full advantage of the Colorado mountains with camping, biking, hiking and climbing 14ers. She hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in her 70’s; and proudly held the title of the oldest seasonal worker at Yellowstone National Park at age 88.


Fran demonstrated unquestioned love, devotion and loyalty to her family. She made it a priority to be available to them for their special interests. Granddaughters, Laura and Kelly, fondly reminisce about their multitude of shared activities with their Gram. From playing piano duets with Laura at Multiple Piano Festivals to joining adventurous Girl Scout trips and sharing in creative cooking activities with Kelly, Gram made every moment special. A family video recorded of Gram teaching Kelly the intricacies of baking Kolache serves as a cherished memento, capturing the bond they shared. When given a school assignment to write about someone who’d inspired her, Laura chose her grandmother. Gram was ever the role model.


Family members and friends marvel at her perseverance through life’s challenges with a positive attitude even in the most dire of circumstances. Although not unfamiliar to grief and loss, the death of her first-born daughter Linda in 2007 was especially difficult for her. She credited her volunteer work, helping those less fortunate, for giving her the strength and courage to move forward. She has been a valued role model to many who have known her.


Her family will miss her amazing cheerful and positive spirit but will have many cherished memories to help relieve their grief. From the traditional Czech foods to the joyful melodies of her beloved music and the laughter sparked by Czech expressions, Fran's essence is woven into the fabric of countless family gatherings.

In her passing, Fran leaves behind a legacy of an extraordinary, accomplished, warm-hearted woman. Her 96 years truly exemplified a life well lived, with countless moments of joy, love, and unwavering optimism.


Fran is survived by her two daughters, Carla Starck and Joyce Wolfkiel, her son in law, Bill Wolfkiel; her two granddaughters Laura Gill and Kelly Swyers and their husbands Patrick Gill and Aron Swyers; and four great grandchildren Dillon Humphrey, Lily Gill, Connor Humphrey and Georgia Gill.


The family does not intend to have a public service, but if you’re inclined to do something in her honor, one idea would be to “pay-forward” a kind gesture or a smile, as Fran would do in the course of her average day.


To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Frances Marie (Tomek) Starck hosted by Darrell Howe Mortuary.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of Frances Marie (Tomek) Starck.