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William “Bill” J. Kucera

Posted July 08, 2013 in Obituaries, Johnston

September 24, 1952 – July 4, 2013

Bill Kucera

Bill Kucera

William “Bill” J. Kucera, 60, celebrated his own independence day from fighting Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer) when he passed on July 4, 2013 at Mercy Hospice in Johnston. He fought long and hard since the diagnoses in July of 2011, but also found victories along the way as he was able to walk his daughter down the aisle and give her a proper send off with one of his famous speeches during her wedding on June 22, 2013. Bill also hopes to have another victory by donating himself to Des Moines University so they may learn from his illness and keep someone else from suffering.

Bill was born Sept. 24, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois to Bernice and Edward Kucera. He graduated from Luther North High School in 1970, attended Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin and graduated in 1974. His first job in sales was in the Chicago area working for Westinghouse Electrical Supply Company, which later transferred him to the Quad Cities where he met his wife, Pamela (Paper) Kucera. As the story goes he was the traveling salesman and she was the farmer’s daughter, so when they married in 1979 it was on her families’ farm.

Bill is survived by his wife, Pam; son, Gavin; daughter-in-law, Adriane Gilbert, grandsons, Vaughn and Lucian; daughter, Alexis; son-in-law, Matthew Van Zante; and step-grandson, Dawson. Bill has an older brother, Terry. He has four brother-in-laws: Randal (Lisa) Paper, Russell (Heather) Paper, Loren Paper, and Nyle (Teresa) Paper and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Bea, and Pam’s, Elmer and Loretta Paper.
Bill and Pam transferred to Des Moines in 1990 with W.W. Grainger and settled into the Johnston area. After being a manufacturer rep. for Progress Lighting for many years, Bill formed his own lighting agency, Oak Leaf Lighting L.L.C., and was proud when Alexis joined him to carry on the business.

Bill was a member of the DMVR SCCA and raced a Spec Miata. Bill belonged to the ELKs Lodge 98. He is a past member of the Johnston and Walcott Jaycees. He was a guy with many friends who he loved to share a story or joke with. No one was ever a stranger for long when Bill was around.

A Celebration of Bill’s Life will be held at 5310 NW Burr Oak Drive, Johnston, Iowa on July 13, 2013 from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, Mercy Hospice, and the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation.

Bill’s words of wisdom to anyone would be “If you think something is not quite right with your health, get it checked out even if insurance doesn’t cover it, because it might just give you more time here.”


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Dunn’s Chapel
2121 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50312

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