Hrdlicka, Michael James, Ed.D.
fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church, Tuesday, September 29, 2020.
Beloved husband of Deborah Heyde Hrdlicka, dear father of Christopher Michael Hrdlicka, Ph.D. and Daniel James Hrdlicka, dear grandfather of Maisie Hrdlicka, dear nephew of Jay Z. Raney, dear brother, cousin, and friend.
Michael James Hrdlicka was born September 21, 1948 in St. Louis Missouri. He grew up in South St. Louis attending Epiphany Elementary School and McBride High School. Though he enjoyed travel, he lived his entire life in the St. Louis area. He attended Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at St. Louis University, where he graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at the height of the race to the moon. He took pride in having worked on stress tests for the lunar lander. As the space race wound down, he utilized his passion for math and physics in a new way: education. He went on to earn a M.A. and Ed.D. in Educational Administration from St. Louis University.
Over the course of 50 years, he educated generations of students throughout the area at St. Louis Public Schools, Vianney and Francis Howell high schools, and various colleges and universities. He set high standards and expected each student’s best no matter what that might be. It was hard for him to go anywhere in the St. Louis area without running into former students who would stop him saying “Dr. Hrdlicka, it’s so great to see you! I just want to tell you how much you changed my life.” He introduced the love of rocketry to younger students, running rocket building and launching workshops at community events and at various elementary schools. In later years he moved to into high school and then district level administration.
He served his community as President of the St. Charles Countians Against Hazardous Waste, helping to spur the federal government to clean up nuclear waste at Weldon Springs. He served on several elected community boards. Through his candidacy for Lake St. Louis Community Association Board of Directors he helped end corrupt mail-in voting and moved the community toward better governance by advocating for meetings open to the public and press.
Michael was a devoted family man. He met his wife Deborah Heyde Hrdlicka during their undergraduate years at St. Louis University. They married on June 30, 1973. He raised two sons, to whom he passed along his passion for learning, spending evenings teaching spelling, math, physics and more to them. He coached countless soccer and baseball games. He shared his love of cooking and the outdoors. Whether boating, hiking or fishing he enjoyed all the beauty that Missouri had to offer.
Michael was a devoted husband to his wife Deborah with whom he shared 47 years. They cared for each other through the good and bad, truly honoring their wedding vows of for better-or-worse and in sickness and in health. She was by his side always, even until his last breath.
Michael will truly be missed by all who knew and loved him.
Services: Visitation and funeral Mass will be held Thursday, October 1 at Incarnate Word Catholic Church, 13416 Olive Blvd. Visitation at 10:30 a.m. with the Mass to follow at 11:30 a.m. Entombment Sunset Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, Masses or contributions to the Amercian Cancer Society appreciated.
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Eric Heumann saysOctober 14, 2020 at 7:16 pm
My condolences to Dr. Hrdlicka’s entire family. I had the unique experience of having him as a teacher (Geometry and Physics) when attended Vianney. Then, almost 30 years later, I was teaching in the Francis Howell district and reconnected with Dr. Hrdlicka as a colleague. After he retired, I used him as a sub for my classes. I always enjoyed talking with him. He taught me so much and the different perspective later was very enjoyable. My prayers for his family.
Amanda Heidemann saysOctober 9, 2020 at 9:41 pm
My condolences to the family of Dr. Hrdlicka. An incredible physics teacher who pushed us and made sure that we didn’t coast, even if we could. He knew we were capable of more and wanted to make sure we knew it. Physics became fun and it’s amazing how what we learned pops up on us in life. Just thought about him recently when I was talking physics with my high school aged son. It was a privilege to have known him and learned from him.
Sandi (Wolf) Holman saysOctober 8, 2020 at 7:10 pm
My condolences to the family. Dr. Hrdlicka was such a wonderful man. He was the one who spurred me to do what I thought was the right path for me, even when no one else agreed. He stood by me when counselors said I couldn’t take algebra 2 and physics at the same time. He helped me through some major personal issues too. I remember him for his warm smile, jolly laugh and his strict rules. He made high school bearable for me. He instilled so much courage, strength and determination in me. Because of him, we all learned more than we could ever have thought possible. He shared many stories about his son the first few years (thats when I was in chis classes) of life the food dishes he tried and all the things that made him happy. He stood by us when we needed him and let us fall on our faces when we needed that too. He was a great, loving, caring man who only wanted the best for all of his students. I am so sorry that I did not let him know how much he truly meant to me.. He will forever have a place in my heart.
Michele Jones (Steck) saysOctober 6, 2020 at 1:16 am
My deepest condolences to Dr. Hrdlicka’s family, I am sorry I missed his visitation. I know he was tough on his students but it was because he cared and wanted us to be successful. He was one of my FAVORITES, a gentle giant if you will. I remember watching his boys so him and his wife could attend a school dance at the Marriott airport hotel.
Madison Grisham saysOctober 4, 2020 at 7:19 pm
Thank you Dr. Hrdlicka for everything you have taught me while I’m middle school and high school! You were always hard on me so I could do my best!! Prayers for your loving family and friends. You were such an amazing teacher and will be missed deeply. Thank you
Lisa Jones saysOctober 3, 2020 at 5:43 pm
My condolences and prayers to all of Mike’s family and friends.
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to start out my teaching career across the hallway from Mike 29 years ago at Francis Howell. He helped me so much as I was starting out. When I’d have a rough day, a class was acting up or a lesson didn’t go as planned, Mike took the time to talk me through it and reflect on the situation.
He taught me an important lesson not discussed in my college coursework: when students aren’t engaged in learning, either through boredom or because they are having trouble grasping concepts, they will be disruptive. Mike would say, “you might want to try this” or “yes, that topic is usually difficult for students, try reviewing this before teaching the new concept” He shared with me the importance of challenging all students while providing the needed scaffolding to ensure their success.
I am grateful to have had Mike’s encouragement and feedback during the early years of my career and his friendship over many years.
Carolyn Bien saysOctober 3, 2020 at 10:46 pm
Prayers to you and your family during this difficult time. Mike was a good friend and colleague while we were both at Francis Howell High School. I could always count on Mike for his support and help.
Dr. Gary W. Stevenson saysOctober 2, 2020 at 9:22 pm
Leslie and I are so very sorry to hear about your loss. Our prayers are with you and your family.
I really enjoyed working with Mike at Francis Howell High School. He and I had many fun and challenging times trying to solve numerous/varied problems that confronted us at the school.
Mike was a great guy and a true friend. I will truly miss him. I have thought about him many times since my retirement in 2013. I will always remember him.
Joseph H Shirley Jr saysOctober 2, 2020 at 7:41 pm
Mike was a pleasure to work with. He was stern but fair, and had a great sense of humor once you got to know him. I had severe anxiety for some of the time I worked with him and he helped me through some rough days with his logical reasoning and great stories. He will truly be missed. RIP
Nancy Schneider saysOctober 2, 2020 at 6:02 pm
Thinking of the family during this difficult time. May the memories of special times together bring you comfort.
Mary Jo Verhulst saysOctober 2, 2020 at 5:14 pm
Our sympathy and prayers for you loss.
Karla Thompson saysSeptember 30, 2020 at 6:12 pm
Debby, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Susan Baker Sevem saysSeptember 30, 2020 at 4:01 pm
Debby,so sorry to read about Mike.Jim and I still remember our trip with you all to the Ozarks.I hope to come to the visitation.
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