Posted By Jessica Cambio,
Thursday, May 13, 2010
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It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Hvezdon "Don” Kafka. He died at his home in Marlborough, MA on March 16 at the age of 86.
Reverend Kafka was born in Czechoslovakia to Jan and Marie (Picat) Kafka. As a child, he attended Reverend Norbert Capek’s church in Prague where Reverend Capek celebrated the first flower communion, a ritual now practiced widely throughout our denomination. Reverend Kafka began his formal education at the University of Prague. When the Nazi occupation began, they placed him in forced labor in southern Germany. After his release, he received a scholarship to study in England at Oxford University. He continued his studies at Meadville Lombard Theological School and at Tufts University where he earned his master’s degree in religion.
Reverend Kafka was ordained on September 17, 1950 by the First Congregational Unitarian Church in Harvard, MA and served the congregation until 1954. He also served churches in Uxbridge, Mendon, and Pittsfield, MA, before moving to the First Parish Church, Unitarian Universalist, of Stow and Acton in 1970. He served there until his retirement in 1986 when the congregation named him Minister Emeritus.
Don, as he liked to be called, was a scholar and a gifted pastor whose extraordinary life experience helped him to assist others through difficult times. He was a very warm and personable individual, who made it easy for others to seek his assistance, and he was always ready to be of help. Balancing his busy life as a minister was his love of nature, music, and athletic activity. His family and his heritage were very important to him. He had a true sense of adventure, and in his retirement years he and his wife, Vera, were able to enjoy traveling together. Don was very active in the life of the community and in recent years Reverend Kafka had remained as active as his health allowed at the First Parish Church of Stow. Reverend Tom Rosiello, present minister of the Stow and Acton church, described him as a real inspiration, saying, "In spite of the many physical challenges Reverend Kafka faced over the last several years, he remained positive in spirit and strong in his faith and always offered words of support and encouragement to me for my ministry at the church. It was an honor for me to learn from him and get to know him. He will be missed at First Parish.”
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Vera (Martinacova) Kafka, and their sons: Jason and his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Emma, of Parkman, ME; and Thomas, and his sons, Orion and Alex of Enosburg, VT. Messages of remembrance may be sent to Ms. Vera Kafka, 400 Hemenway St. Apt 212, Marlborough, MA 01752-6772. Donations in memory of Reverend Kafka may be made to the First Parish of Stow and Acton. Contact the church at (978) 897-8149 for further information.
A service of celebration and remembrance will take place on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Parish Church of Stow and Acton. The service will be conducted by Reverend Thomas Rosiello and will include special music by the church’s choir and guest musicians. A reception will follow the service.
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