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.