Ted Elton Beauvais of Crete, Nebraska, died Thursday, October 31, 2013 in Lincoln at the age of 64. Ted was born November 3, 1948 in Batesville, Arkansas to Frederick and Mattie McEwen Ley. His father died in a car accident when Ted was two years old. He and his brothers, Jack and Lyle, were reared on a farm near Crete, after Mattie married Glenn Prochaska in 1957. Ted attended Crete’s St. James Catholic School, Lancaster County District #45 rural school, and then transferred to Crete High School graduating with the class of 1967. Ted attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and later California State University at Chico. He made his home in California for several years. After returning to Nebraska in the 1990s, Ted worked as a maintenance electrician at Hallam’s Sheldon Station, Nestle Purina, and Doane College before starting his own business, Beauvais Electric. Ted married Janet Jeffries on June 8, 2001. They made their home in Crete where he became active in Doane College and Czech cultural events, and a variety of musical and heritage activities. He was a willing helpmate in Janet’s many activities. Ted was often coerced into being the Doane Tiger, especially when the Tiger needed to play the button accordion during a parade or a Czech concert. He also was a regular driver of the Doane College Model T depot hack for parades and other special events. Ted accompanied Janet and assisted on ten of her college-sponsored tours to the Czech Republic. They just returned September 22 from their latest excursion. Ted was a great sport and enjoyed dressing the part for various historical and ethnic activities. Any excuse for a costume was welcomed; something that started in childhood when he and brother Jack enjoyed dressing up as cowboys. Ted was a fan of the Old West, cowboys of the big screen and action films. He was an eager participant when his good friend and videographer Pete Fiumefreddo, needed a character actor, or “heavy” in one of his many movie shorts. Often Ted’s 1970 Chevy Chevelle was also in the films. Ted was a fan of many sports, Husker football being at the top of the list. He was an avid golfer and was a member of College Heights Country Club in Crete for many years. He played on men’s leagues and any other time he could. He enjoyed playing golf around the country at various golf courses, and even took his golf clubs to the Czech Republic. An ardent tennis player, Ted loved the competition of a good match. He also coached youth soccer for a time.
Several years ago, Ted became interested in playing the button accordion. Growing up in polka band leader Gunner Prochaska’s household, Ted and his siblings would often fall asleep to the sounds of several accordion players making music into the wee hours. As a child and teenager, he wasn’t sure about accordion playing, but in later years that all changed. By then his sisters and wife were all playing accordions and participating in accordion jamborees, and Ted thought it looked like fun. He got his first accordion, took a few lessons from Galen Beck and Kelly Homolka, and continued to teach himself Czech and country songs. Ted and his late brother, Jack, were particularly close. With only 11 months difference in their ages, they were like twins and inseparable as kids. They shared many hobbies including photography and golf. They especially enjoyed camping and hiking in the desert with friends, which made for great story material. When Jack was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004, Ted was a perfect match and courageously served twice as a bone marrow donor. Ted thoroughly enjoyed being a grandfather and embraced all associated duties eagerly. Being a kid at heart, he loved to play and get creative with Owen and Adella. He and Owen had some great train adventures and Adella would hardly let him out of her sight when they were together. In recent years, when Ted and Janet joined the Model A Club, Ted had an excuse for yet another outfit – 1920s knickers, that he also occasionally wore on the golf course during league play. Ted was a member of Crete T.J. Sokols, the Crete Heritage Society and the Cornhusker Model A Club. Ted is survived by his wife, Janet, of Crete, step-daughters Laura Spencer and Elizabeth (Joseph Grenfell) Spencer, grandchildren, Owen Grenfell and Adella Sisson of Lincoln, parents Glenn and Mattie Prochaska, Crete, brother Lyle Beauvais, Lincoln, sisters and brothers-in-law, Beverly (Don) Saulters, Quinlan, Texas, Glenda (Terry) Haas, Somersworth, New Hampshire, Linda Sue Underwood, Wilber, Donna (Kenny) Kastanek, Crete, sister-in-law Joan Beauvais of San Marcos, California, mother-in-law, Bernice Jeffries, Crete, sister and brother-in-law Joyce Jeffries and Sam Rennick, Beatrice, step-children, Richard (Nancy) Spencer, Sibyl (Russ) Spencer-Hilton of Omaha, Lydia Jane Spencer, Denver, and their families, nieces, nephews, and many relatives and friends. Ted was preceded in death by his father Frederick Ley, Jr., in 1951, brothers Robert Prochaska in 1971, and Jack Beauvais in 2005. Memorials may be given to the family for future designation.
Celebration of Life: 1:30 pm, Saturday, November 9, Kuncl Funeral Home, Wilber, NE. Visitation: 5 – 9 pm, Friday, funeral home. Interment: Blue Valley Cemetery, rural Crete.