Martin Vavra '49 November 7, 2023 4:27 PM updated: November 7, 2023 4:41 PM
Martin Edward Vavra
August 15, 1925 - October 13, 2023
Martin Vavra (98) surrounded by loving family members went to be with his heavenly father on Friday, October 13, 2023. Funeral services will be held at 11:30 AM, Saturday, October 21, 2023 at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Bryan, Texas with Reverend Monsignor John McCaffrey officiating. Burial will follow at the Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Bryan with military honors. Visitation for family and friends will be from 5 to 7 PM, Friday, October 20, 2023 at the Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan. Rosary will be at 6 PM.
Martin was born August 15, 1925 in College Station, Texas, the son of William Joseph and Sophie (Kapchinski) Vavra. He grew up on the family farm which grew cotton, grain, and livestock. He graduated from A&M Consolidated High School in 1943.
Following graduation he volunteered and joined the U.S. Navy. He received his basic training at the San Diego, California Naval Station followed by Armed Guard Gunnery Training School.
Martin was assigned as one of 28 Navy Armed Guard Gunners to the USS Taos Victory, a cargo ship. The Taos was new and awaiting its first voyage; as were the 28 new gunners. The ship was operated by Merchant Marines. Upon departure from California, the ships instruments were set and they were on their own, SOLO, with no escort, on their way to India with the majority of the ship’s capacity loaded with 500 pound bombs.
Arrival in India was safe. Raw materials of iron ore, hemp, and dried animal hides were returned aboard ship to Hoboken, New Jersey. There the Taos was converted to a Troop Transport. Martin returned to Los Angeles, California and completed his tour of duty at the Naval Air Station as a fire fighter. He was discharged as a World War II veteran in 1946.
Upon discharge from the military, Martin attended Texas A&M University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1949. Martin met his wife Geraldine (Deany) at a country dance in Kurten, Texas while he was attending Texas A&M. He would visit her often during her lunch hour at A&M University where she was employed. They were married in 1951 and started their new life in Stanton, Texas.
He was employed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service throughout Texas for 34 years. Martin started his employment in Stanton, as a Field Engineer, transferred to San Angelo, as an Area Engineer, then to Uvalde, and Austin, as a Field Specialist Engineer serving the southern half of Texas.
Martin obtained his Professional Engineer License in 1957 and was a member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers for 25 years. He assisted Area Engineers of the Soil Conservation Service and worked with private engineers in solving soil erosion problems and the design and installation of irrigation, drainage, environmental and watershed projects.
Martin taught Agricultural Engineering Principles to professional Soil Conservation Service employees from four states for seven years at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.
Martin was a fourth-generation member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bryan where he served as an usher for 22 years and served six years on the Mount Calvary Cemetery board of directors. He was a life member of the Knights of Columbus Council 1834. He was a life member of the American Legion Post 159 and served as rental chairman of the facility for seven years; served on several post committees and as chairman for several fundraisers. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4692.
Upon retirement in 1983, Martin and Deany returned to Bryan and built their retirement home in the Kurten area. Together they managed their livestock operation and Martin enjoyed country living, especially hunting, fishing, trapping wild hogs, and playing 42 dominoes. In 2013, they moved to Arbor Oaks at Crestview in Bryan, and later to Morningside Ministries at Menger Springs in Boerne.
During their working years and after retirement, they enjoyed having their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, family members and friends visit and enjoy life.
Martin is preceded in death by his parents, William Joseph and Sophie (Kapchinski) Vavra; sister, Cecilla Vavra Lowrie; brothers, Frank, Herman, and William Vince Vavra.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Deany; daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Robert (Bob) Freeman of Boerne; son and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Alicia Vavra of Houston; grandchildren, William (Bill) Freeman and wife Melissa, Robert (Bobby ) Freeman and wife Rachel, Adrienne Vavra, and Alexis (Vavra) Thurston and husband Jason; great grandchildren, Clara Nell, Finley, Dean Freeman; Tyler, McKayla, and Gabriel Thurston; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the St. Joseph Mount Calvary Cemetery, 507 E. 26th St. Bryan, TX, 77803 or a charity of choice.
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