Steve Chlapecka Jr.

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Rice farmer, avid sportsman and local community leader Steve Chlapecka Jr., whose smile and laughter was known throughout the Grand Prairie, died on July 6, 2021 in Hazen, Ark. He was 86.

Steve was born on April 3, 1935 in Slovak, Ark. to Olga and Steve Chlapecka Sr. who preceded him in death. He was also preceded by his sister, Marie. A 1954 graduate of Hazen High School and second generation rice farmer who had a lifelong passion for duck hunting, Steve cared deeply about his family and giving back to his community.

He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 65 years, Reta, and three children, Donna (James Coleman), Steve (Allyson) and Nancy and two sisters Dorthy Riddell and Angie Simpson. He relished his role as Papaw to three grandchildren, Steven Chlapecka, Caleb Coleman (Becca) and Jordan Chlapecka and two great grandchildren Cailey and Livvy Coleman.

Known to many as “Big Steve” both due to his stature and to his generosity to friends and neighbors, he was a beloved member of the Hazen community. So much so that Steve’s school yearbook said: “What would London do without Big Ben? What would Hazen do without Big Steve?”

When farming wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he found plenty of time to give back to his community. Steve served on the Hazen School Board for 15 years, Hazen Fire Department for 30 years, the Riceland Foods Inc. Board of Directors for 18 years, and Riceland Foods Hazen Branch Board of Directors for 40 years. He also served as a member of Prairie County Sheriff Patrol Volunteer Auxiliary and the Jaycees. Steve was a faithful, lifelong member of Emanuel Lutheran Church in Stuttgart.

Visitation will be held at 1 p.m. and the funeral service at 2 p.m. at Hazen First Baptist Church on Friday, July 9 with interment immediately following at Slovak Lutheran Cemetery in Slovak, Arkansas. Arrangements by Westbrook Funeral Home in Hazen. Memorials can be made to Slovak Lutheran Cemetery and Emanuel Lutheran Church in Stuttgart, Ark.

8 Condolences to “Steve Chlapecka Jr.”

  1. Tony Crye Says:

    I was blessed to serve with him for 8 years on the auxiliary Sheriff patrol, I know he will be greatly missed. Our prayers for his family.

  2. DONNA D HALLER Says:

    Reta and family, we are so sorry for the loss of Steve. We have very fond memories of him. May he Rest In Peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. May god grant you peace. Bj and Donna Haller

  3. Billy and Gail Booth Says:

    As a remarkable man in many ways, Mr. Steve leaves a legacy that will be cherished by all those who knew him. I had the privilege of serving with him on the Hazen School Board and I appreciated his genuine concern for the needs of the school and I admired his organizational and leadership skills in addressing those needs. He had the heart of a servant. Hazen and the surrounding community were blessed by his many unselfish contributions to help others. He will be deeply missed. May God’s Word and His Holy Spirit (the “Comforter”) provide strength, comfort, and assurance to the family and many friends.

  4. Deena Cash Says:

    It was truly a pleasure to have gotten to know Mr. Chlapecka. He will be missed dearly. What a beautiful person that had a beautiful family and lived a beautiful life. Someone so special will never be forgotten. Praying that your heart and soul will find peace and comfort during this difficult time.

  5. Perry Dykes Says:

    Steve was a true southern gentleman in everyway. Several years ago I was fortunate to duck hunt with him and Stevie.. He shared some great hunting stories and was thr best duck caller I have been around. Nancy, I have you and your family in my prayers.

  6. Martin Shimek Says:

    So many good and true things have been spoken about Steve
    Chlepecka Jr. Steve is gone now and gone to heaven and I will always remember Steve as my neighbor and how we grew up as kids together and how we were In Wiley country school and then Hazen high school in the 1950s, and played football and did the normal things that kids growing up in this era did, and fully accomplished throughout our lives. Thousands of kids and students and adults are indirectly so successful under Steve’s tutelage here in Prairie county and the state of Arkansas in general.
    With tears,
    Martin Shimek

  7. Lori (Andrews) Canada Says:

    Prayers for you and your family!

  8. Frances (Shimek) Dorough Says:

    My sincere condolences to the families. I was in the same one room country school with Steve, his sister Dorothy, my classmate and Angie during our elementary years and was a nearby neighbor. One wonderful thing I can contribute to Steve, Jr. is that he graciously agreed to my father’s wishes to take over the maintenance of the Slovak Lutheran cemetery where many of mine and his ancestors are resting in peace along with him.

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