Alena Hudlická (née Vyskočilová) died peacefully in her sleep early Friday morning, February 9, 2018, at the age of 95, at Warm Hearth Village, Blacksburg, Virginia – just five weeks before her 96th birthday.
She was born on March 16, 1922, in Beroun, former Czechoslovakia, daughter of Františka Vyskočilová (née Lebedová) and František Vyskočil. Alena spent her childhood years in Slovakia, where the family moved from town to town, because of her father’s job as a customs officer. She then attended a high school in Brno (Moravia) and studied accounting. Following her move to Prague after the war, she studied for her Master’s Degree at the University of Economics in Prague. However, because she was not a member of the communist party, she was not awarded her diploma. Her diploma with the title ‘Engineer’ was awarded to her only after Czechoslovakia became an independent, democratic country again. Alena was very happy to have received her diploma in 1991, and was rightfully proud of this accomplishment.
She met her future husband, Miloš Hudlický, during World War II, while they were both working in the town of Zlín. In 1946, she and Miloš married. Shortly after their wedding, Miloš left Czechoslovakia to spend a year at the Ohio State University on a UNESCO fellowship.
Alena, Miloš, and their two children (Tomáš and Eva) made their home in Prague, where she worked as a translator and technical librarian at the Charles University Medical School, until the family immigrated to the United States following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968.
The family settled in Blacksburg, Virginia, because Miloš was offered a position in the Chemistry Department at Virginia Tech by Professor Alan Clifford, whom Miloš had met at a chemistry congress in Göttingen, Germany, a week after the Soviet invasion. Alena and Miloš then made their home in Blacksburg for the rest of their lives. They both loved to travel and traveled extensively within the US, Mexico and Europe, including back to the Czech Republic, after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Alena was passionate about her garden and both her rock garden, and the almost 200 azaleas she planted in her backyard, were admired by many. She loved poetry and was an accomplished poet herself – a passion she also shared with Miloš. She loved music, art, architecture, history and languages. Alena fell in love with Spanish and she and Miloš enjoyed their many trips to Mexico and Spain. She learned the language during her mid-50’s to the point where she was mistaken for a native Spanish speaker. She was very proud of a time when, following a conversation with a Spanish woman at an airport, the Spanish lady told Alena that she must have been living in the US for quite some time, because she had a bit of an American accent.
Alena was also passionate about maintaining the family traditions. She will be missed.
She is survived by her son Tomáš (Josie Reed), of St. Catharines, Ontario; daughter Eva, of Amherst, Massachusetts; and two grandsons, Jason (Inge Klaps), of Nashville, Tennessee and Peter, of Amherst, Massachusetts. She was preceded in death by her husband (in 2001) and her sisters Dagmar Vyskočilová (in 1921) and Dana Vyskočilová (in 2011).
The family is very grateful to the many friends, neighbours and caregivers who took care of Alena over the past few years.
A private service was held for close family in February at the McCoy Funeral Home and a celebration of Alena’s life will be held during the summer in Blacksburg.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Grand Teton National Park Foundation (gtnpf.org).