Robert (Bob) Dolajak, Sr., 84, Mandan, passed away at home in the care of hospice on April 9, 2016 surrounded by his family.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Church of the Ascension, Bismarck with Msgr. James Braaten as celebrant. Burial will be held at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bismarck, ND.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from 5:00 -8:00 pm with a Knights of Columbus Rosary at 7:00 pm followed by a Parish Vigil at Weigel Funeral Home, Mandan. Visitation will continue at the church one hour prior to the service on Thursday.
Bob was born in Dickinson, ND on Sept 10, 1931 to Frank and Frances (Frank) Dolajak. Growing up on a farm 7 miles south of Dickinson, he attended the rural school, worked on the family farm, and began playing accordion at an early age.
In June of 1953, he married Paulina (Pachl) in California and they returned to the farm shortly after. In 1955 he left the farm for a job with Kirschmann Mfg. in Dickinson, and then in 1957 moved to Bismarck when Kirschmann moved its factory here. He worked for Kirschmann Mfg, which later became Melroe, until 1989 when he retired after 32 years.
He is remembered most for his music starting in a band at age 17. Throughout his music career, he played with many bands including the Royal Melody Orchestra in the early years and the Dakota Keys Accordion Club in the later years. In 1974 he formed his own band with his daughter Julie and over a 40 year span they played and recorded their music, some years playing 90-100 jobs. They were well known for their style of Polka Mass which they began in 1996 and over the next 10 years played them throughout ND, MT and in the Mesa AZ area, one year playing 36 Polka Masses. In 2005 he traveled to Kimberly, Canada to the International Accordion Festival and won 1st place in his age category and played with a group of 644 accordion players. He played at the Minot Hostfest, individually and with the Harvest States Accordion Club for about 7 years. In 2012 he was inducted into the Dakota Musicians Association Hall of Fame in Aberdeen, SD. He joined the American Federation of Musicians (now the Bismarck-Mandan Musicians Association) in 1959, served many years as President, Secretary/Treasurer and Executive Board Member and at the time of his death was an honorary lifetime member. Bob was generous with his time in providing music for the assisted living and nursing home facilities in and around the Bismarck area.
Much of his time was given doing volunteer work for church and fraternal organizations. He has been a member of Ascension Church for more than 30 years. He was honorary and lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus serving as Grand Knight 6 years and Faithful Navigator of the Fourth Degree Knights for 3 years. In 1993, Bob's family was named KC Family of the Year for ND. He was an honorary member of the Elks and served as Organist for the Elks from 1987 to the time of his death. He was also a member of the Eagles and Moose fraternities.
Dad was especially proud of the family friendly home he built north of Mandan. His grandchildren will fondly remember weekends and holidays at “the lot” boating, fishing, sliding, swimming, three-wheeling, pool playing, and of course eating at Grandpa’s. Many members of the Musicians Association and the KC Fourth Degree will remember the summer picnics he hosted for many years at his place north of Mandan.
Bob helped his son, Bob Jr. open Bob's Photo and in the beginning served as president of the corporation. He was very proud of the store and how it has grown over the years.
Bob's surviving family includes his children: Robert (Deborah) Dolajak, Jr., Albert (Virginia) Dolajak, Julie (Leo) Ternes all of Bismarck and daughter-in-law Brenda Dolajak of Mandan. His grandchildren include Jessie Dolajak, Lindsey (John) Heinrich, Lee (Kim) Dolajak, Lynne Dolajak, Lizabeth Dolajak, Eric Sellers, all of Bismarck, Lisa (Wade) Pulkrabek, Joshua (Samantha) Dolajak, Miranda (Richard) Klatt, Elijah Dolajak, Isaiah Dolajak, all of Mandan, Chris (Alli) Dolajak, Austin TX, Lori (Robert) Ball, Natural Bridge, NY, Lance (Lisa) Dolajak, West Fargo and 17 great-grandchildren. He also leaves a special friend, Martha Seibel, Lincoln. He is also survived by three sisters, Lorraine Huschka of Helena, MT, Rosetta Davis of Boise, ID and Elaine Heidecker of Dickinson.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Paulina, his son, Vernon, his grandson, Justin Sellers, one sister, Florence (Vic) Pantaleo and one brother-in-law, Pius (Pete) Huschka.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to: Ascension Church, ND K of C Foundation or Elks Camp Grassick.