Born to Czech immigrants on a small ranch near Simpson, Mont., on May 5, 1931, William Donald Krejci started out in life farming with his brother Joe on a place outside Havre. Moving on to spend much of the rest of his life welding and fabricating, Bill led the simple, gracious life of working with his hands; he built almost anything anyone would ask him to build for them.
It would be a surprise if Bill had spent one night away from his best friend and beloved wife of 42 years, Beryl. They cared for each other and each other’s children, settling in the Kalispell area where Bill had once worked with horses and at one time had built a good reputation as a farrier and horse trainer. Ultimately, they bought a piece of land and proceeded to build their home together in Marion. To those who have had the good fortune to become acquainted with them, they became known as one unit, “Bill and Beryl.”
Living by and serving his faith became like breath to him and he had this easy way of sharing his wisdom without arrogance through the telling of silly and funny stories, often noting the irony in life and in our human choices. In 1994, at the age of 63, Bill took it upon himself to re-learn speaking the language of his family’s country, Czechoslovakia; and then, with his bride of at that time 23 years, traveled to Prague where he met and spoke with, for the first time, many members of his extended family. His experiences were re-lived through the stories he told and the polka music he brought back with him and ultimately danced to with his grown daughter in the big workshop he had built near the house. That was the time when it became apparent that something was really different. And, in later visits, it became more and more apparent through the increasing silliness we were noticing in his stories and actions. He was soon freed of life’s burdens and mortality issues through the further onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The memory of those who love and survive him was lost to Alzheimer’s several years ago and we have missed him dearly.
At midnight on June 13, 2013, at the age of 82, Bill passed away peacefully in the home that he and Beryl had built. We may now let go of what had been lost to Alzheimer’s but have continued to hold so heavy in our hearts.
He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph; mother, Josephine; brother, Joe; and sisters, Mary, Allie and Agnes.
He is survived by his wife, Beryl; his seven children, Jerry, Greg, Billy, Shelly, Mike, Joe and Teddi; 16 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren; as well as Beryl’s offspring, who were an equally important part of his life, Kenyon (who preceded him in death), Keith, Kathy, Kelly, Kerry and Valeda; as well as numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Mercifully, it is now time to say good-bye and we will be honoring his life with stories and song at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25 at the Buffalo Hills Funeral Home, 1890 U.S. 93 N., in Kalispell.
In lieu of flowers, any donations will be directed to Home Options Hospice, Suite 600, Corporate Drive, Kalispell, MT 59901. They were a great comfort and an immense help in caring for Bill. They provided emotional support as well as the needed medical attention.
To send condolences to the family, please go to www.buffalohillfh.com. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home is caring for the family.