Jim Tlapek

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The soul of Francis Paul "Jim" Tlapek has moved on. His exceptionally kind and generous spirit animated his body 96 years.

He will be missed, especially by his wife Helen and their children, who shared their love and support, perhaps never more than in the last years.

His spirit was big. Spirited friends and business associates figured largely in his life, too -- there was the gang he had fish fries with, and breakfast at Wimpy's. There were the couples with whom he and Helen played bridge, or spent nearly a lifetime together attending St. Vincent's Church and raising their families. He was especially endeared to the people he worked with at Cape Electrical Supply.

Tlapek made his first career, which spanned about 25 years, as a Chevrolet dealer in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., and Perryville, Mo. He grew up in St. Mary, Mo., son of John Joseph Tlapek and Annie Teresa Jokerst.

Survivors include a brother, Pat (Anne) Tlapek of Cape Girardeau; and a sister, Rose (Bill) Perkinson of St. Louis. He had two more brothers and a sister, Charles "Buddy" (Eloise) of Ste. Genevieve, Tom (Ginny), Joe (Jerry) and Josephine (Harvey) Warrington, all of St. Louis. He clearly loved his family, folks and grandpa, as well as St. Mary and the townspeople.

Shortly after his marriage to Helen Page Hanes of Jerseyville, Ill., May 11, 1951, in St. Louis, he moved to Cape Girardeau and with some partners entered into his second career with Cape Electrical which also spanned about 25 years.

He was a veteran of the Navy in World War II, serving at Lambert Field, the Asian Pacific and Indonesia. He was a member of Knights of Columbus.

Tlapek was a man of tremendous hope and vision, great perseverance. He was an investor in equities and land. Notably, he and a partner developed real estate on the south side of William Street where A&P (now Stev-Mark West) and Burger Chef (now Hardee's) began. He and Helen built a fine house near Dennis Scivally Park before there were many houses in the area.

He liked to travel the United States with his family and took many fishing trips to Lake of the Woods, Ontario. For many years he enjoyed a farm between Chaffee and New Hamburg, Mo. For several years he enjoyed boating and working on a place at Kentucky Lake, and later enjoyed a farm and small lake in Bollinger County.

He loved life, which began for him Aug. 26, 1914, and spanned 96 years, 4 months and 11 days, until Jan. 7, 2011.

His offspring are Francis "Paul" Tlapek (Renee) of Cape Girardeau, their son Benjamin; Margaret Tlapek (Gary Seesing) of Prairie Village, Kan., their children Frances, Clare, John "Jack"; Janet Tlapek of Saranac, Mich., her daughter Madeleine Tlapek Lavean; Greg Tlapek of Cape Girardeau; and Therese Tlapek (Bud Owens) of Nashville, Tenn., and their children Anna and Joseph; and a great-granddaughter, Lilly Seesing.

A Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Vincent de Paul Church on Ritter Drive.

Ford and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

The family asks that you send a note or simply honor his memory by being kind, generous or patient when it would be easier to do otherwise.

Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.