Longtime OPS board member, south Omaha voice dies
F.E. Fritz Stanek died at 2:30 a.m. Sunday at a local hospital, said Luanne Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Omaha Public Schools. He was 74.
Despite a close loss in last falls election, Stanek began his 34th year on the Omaha board in January. The school board in December appointed Stanek to fill the seat that Jim Enright won in November and then said he could not fill because of health concerns.
Enright had edged out the incumbent Stanek by 75 votes.
Board members said they appointed Stanek rather than seeking applications and interviewing interested residents, because Stanek had expressed an interest in staying on and because the race was so close.
Stanek served three different stretches on the school board, being appointed once before. He did not actively campaign in either of his last two elections.
Stanek was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma late last year.
School board President Sandra Jensen said Stanek is leaving behind a really great legacy, and that legacy is his passion.
He had a great passion for his children and his grandchildren, Jensen said. He was a very, very proud husband and father and grandfather. But his other passion was for the Omaha Public Schools and the Omaha Public Schools children and families and the employees who worked for OPS. And that was evident in everything Fritz did.
Stanek was retired from Stanek & Associates insurance. He graduated from Creighton Prep and attended Creighton University for three years but left to play professional baseball.
Survivors include his wife, Alice, of Omaha; sons Gary and Larry, both of Bellevue; daughters Karen Hamilton and Linda Vlcek, both of Omaha; and 11 grandchildren.
The funeral will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at Assumption Catholic Church. Burial will be in St. Marys Cemetery. Memorials are directed to Assumption Catholic Church, St. Bernadette Catholic Church, Gross High School, OPS School Foundation or the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.