(Taken from the Norfolk Daily News obituary, Tuesday, November 21st, 2000)

Clifford Koutnik, retired Neligh postmaster and once a professional piano player, was named postmaster at Dwight in 1972 and became Neligh postmaster in 1975, retiring in 1987. He served as president of the Nebraska League of Postmasters in 1976 and was named Postmaster of the Year in 1984. The son of Joseph and Kamilla (Kominski) Koutnik was born Nov. 12, 1925, at Abie and graduated in 1943 from Schuyler High School.

He worked in California before entering the Army in World War II, serving in Europe with the 69th Infantry Division, Cannon Company. He received the Bronze Star and was discharged on April 8, 1946, as a private first class.

He married Penny Hoofer on Jan. 16, 1947, at Palmyra, M0.

After the war, he played the piano and arranged music professionally for dance bands in Chicago and the Midwest. He also played with the bands of Ray Pearl, Bobby Mills, Dwain Muller, Lonnie Lynn, Sammy Jensen and Bobbie Layne.

He spent a year with the Guy Lombardo band and had a combo called the Bel Tones that performed for 26 years. In 1964, he played the piano for the Voice of America Radio “Farewell to Prague.” He was inducted into the Polka Hall of Fame in 1998.

Mr. Koutnik was a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Antelope Country Club and American Legion Post 172 of Neligh.