The late Leonard P. Kassik was born on May 28th, 1923, in Milligan, Nebraska. His parents were Albert Kassik Sr. and Marie Frycek Kassik. Leonard is survived by his wife Arlene Vnoucek Kassik and sons Michael, Dean, and daughter Patricia Remmers.
Leonard attended grade and high school at Milligan Public Schools where he graduated in 1941. At 12 years of age, Leonard began playing trumpt in the school music program, and was in the Milligan High School Band from 1937 to 1941. He began his professional playing career while in high school with the Joe Stejskal Band.
Leonard enlisted in the Air Force on December 3rd, 1942 and was attached to the 503-RD Fighter Squadron stationed in England. He was discharged on October 18th, 1945. On returning home he went into a partnership with his brothers in a feedmill, alfalfa mill and New Holland implement dealership. They were also distributors of wholesale beer and soft drinks. On May 21st, 1946, he married Arlene Vnoucek, to this union three children were born: Michael Leonard, Dean Albert, and Patricia Marie.
Besides playing in many different bands and directing the Legion Band, Leonard was the Milligan Auditorium Theater manager from 1958 to 1962, ordering movies and running the projector with the help of his sons and nephews. In 1962, he was an elected officer of the Milligan Auditorium Board, while there he was in-part responsible for hiring many polka bands and also implementing the Sunday Polka Matinee’s and Milligan’s Mini Polka Day.
Loenard served on the Milligan School Board where he was President from 1963 to 1970 and President of the Milligan High School Alumni in 1954. As a member of the American Legion Post #240, he served as Commander, Adjutant, and County Commander. He was also a member of the Milligan Volunteer Fire Department since 1946 and was elected to the Fillmore County Board of Supervisors in 1985.
After Leonard stated his professional career with the Joe Stejskal Band, he also played for the follow bands:
- Henry Steinacher Band
- John Oliva Band
- His own KST Band
- Milligan Legion Concert Band
- Rudy Jay Band (from 1956 to 1969)
- and the Milligan Czech Brass Band.
Leonard was inducted into the Southeast Nebraska Musicians Hall of Fame and received the Nebraska Czech Music Builders Award from Doane College in 2003.
Leonard passed away on November 14th, 2003.
Source: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, September 6th, 2015