Robert J. Pruka, age 86, of Winona, passed away on Thursday, September 10, 2020, at Winona Health.
Bob was born on June 21, 1934, in Winona, to Stanley and Lillian (Kelly) Pruka Sr. He was united in marriage with Beverly Albrecht on June 8, 1957, in Stockton, Minn., and she preceded him in death on March 30, 2018.
He was employed with the Watkins Research Farm in the '60s and '70s (a job he truly loved as he was a farmer at heart), and later with RTP in Winona where he worked until his retirement. Bob and Bev were members of Central Lutheran Church and, until recent years, members of the Winona Eagles Club.
Bob’s family and friends were very dear to him but most of all he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom he liked to spoil every chance he could. His love of sweets was bar none, jellybeans, mini Kit-Kat bars, and hard candy (his favorite being butterscotch) were always on hand.
During their 61-plus years of marriage, Bob and Bev enjoyed entertaining as their door was always open to anyone who wanted to stop by and share news of the day. They hosted a Kaffeeklatsch at their home every Monday and Wednesday morning for family, friends, neighbors – the coffee pot was always full, and the sweets plentiful.
Bob will be remembered for his enjoyment of collectables, camping, grilling, canning, and going dancing with Bev. He had a nostalgia for the “good ole days” of country dance halls and family Sunday drives. He will always be known for his plaid shirts, baseball hats, and being a die-hard Ford man. He liked sports of all kinds but especially enjoyed watching the Twins, Vikings, and professional wrestling from his living room.
Bob had a great interest in what was going on around him. He was always up to date on local, national and international news, recorded the daily weather on his calendar, and he never missed a thing that was going on in the neighborhood.
He was a loving and sensitive husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend who will be deeply missed. Although he has passed, he will live on in the memories of all who knew and loved him. In a way, he was like one his favorite candies – hard on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.
Bob is lovingly survived by his children, Steven Pruka, Winona, Sherry (Dan) French, Minnesota City, Minn., Scott (Ann) Pruka, Winona, and David Pruka, Minneapolis, Minn.; nine grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Stan (Wanda) Pruka Jr., Winona, Bev Heyer, Dakota, Minn., Richard (Connie) Pruka, Rockford, Ill., Alice (Maynard) Larson, Chicago, Ill., Rosa (Ira) Lynch, Houston, Texas, and William Pruka, Rockford, Ill.; a sister-in-law, Joan Pruka; good friends, Gene and Jane Stanek; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends; and especially everyone in the Albrecht and Frauenkron families who held a special place in Bob’s heart. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; and siblings and in-laws, Viola and Elmer Eide, Arlene and Edward Heyer, Wayne and Sharon Pruka, and Allen Pruka.
Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the funeral service at noon on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at the Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home, 376 East Sarnia Street in Winona. Pastor Michael Short will officiate. Bob will be laid to rest in the Pickwick Cemetery. Those attending will be required to wear a mask, and to follow social distancing guidelines.
Pallbearers will be Adam Board, Irish Grotjahn, Jessie Pruka, Brian Pruka, Jeff Frauenkron, Sean Grafton, Darwin Langowski, Jerry Riedeman, and Allen Riedeman.
Bob’s family would like to express their appreciation to the staff of Winona Health for the excellent care he received.
Please visit Bob’s tribute page at www.watkowski-mulyck.com for online condolences, Bob’s tribute video, and when available, a video stream of his service.
Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.