6 N Main • Caldwell, KS • 620-845-6424
October 5, 1954 ~ May 29, 2017
Michael Eugene Netahla was born in Cozad, Nebraska on October 5, 1954. He passed away on Monday, May 29, 2017 at the age of 62 at Diversicare, Haysville, Kansas.
Mike and his sister Debbie were adopted by Frank and Virginia (Cullop) Netahla, when Mike was almost six years old. He was given the name Galen Charles Lantz at birth. His biological parents were Florene and Walter Lantz. Mike had ten biological brothers and sisters; Gary, Karen, Janet, Dennis, Roger, Judy, Ray, Larry, Mike (Galen), Debbie and Jerry. He loved them all.
Mike and Lu Ann Volavka were married in the Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, Kansas on August 12, 1978. It was a terribly hot day and the air conditioner at the church stopped working. His light blue tux became a shade darker. Their dance at the Sokol Hall was just as warm, it gave him one more humorous memory to remember through the years. Mike and Lu Ann started out their married life in a little tiny one bedroom house on the farm west of Caldwell. They were blessed with three children; Christopher Michael, Nathan Eugene and Lindsay Lu. Mike loved his children and was devastated with the loss of Christopher in 1981 and Lindsey in 2012.
Mike attended Blackstone, Bluff City and Anthony schools, eventually moving to the new Chaparral High School and graduating with the Class of 1973. Mike excelled in sports and often boasted that he held a record in football that no one could ever beat; Mike scored the first touchdown on the new football field at Chaparral High! He always found a little humor in this fact. He also was a great wrestler. Later, he became well known for arm wrestling with anyone that wanted to take him on. Lu Ann spent many dates watching him arm wrestle.
At the age of eight, Mike was driving a tractor full time and never stopped until his health forced him to retire from farming in 2003. Mike was not afraid of work. He held numerous jobs, many seasonal jobs so he could continue farming. Mike worked for Williams Motor of Anthony, Anthony Coop, Harper County, Deweze Manufacturing in Harper, Farmer’s Coop in Caldwell and his final job before he became disabled was the City of Caldwell. He couldn’t stop working so he accidently started a lawn mowing business with one lawn. The business grew very fast. He would not weed eat, so Lu Ann had to follow him around doing the trimming. His favorite was the Czech Cemetery, it came from the heart as Christopher and Lindsay are buried there. Mike said last week that he hoped to get back to mowing as soon as his leg healed. He missed it almost as much as farming. The latest business adventure was Lu Lu’s Café in Caldwell. Mike and Lu Ann loved that place with their heart and soul. With health problems for both of them they closed and leased it out. Mike loved visiting with people and you would often find him taking a break out under the canopy.
Mike was a member of the Sokol Hall, Caldwell Czech Chapter #1, Past President of the Caldwell Jaycees and was a former board member for Sumner County District #1 Hospital in Caldwell. Mike was a former President of the Bluff City Memorial Day Picnic for many years. Last week he was telling the staff at rehab all about the big event. He was so proud of his little town of Bluff City and he was looking forward to attending the services on Monday at the Czech Cemetery. Due to Mike's passing, this is the first Memorial Day that he and Lu Ann have missed.
Until his health deteriorated, Mike enjoyed fishing and was an avid hunter; always taking his beloved English Pointer, Champ.
Mike is survived by his wife, Lu Ann of the home; son, Nathan (Jennifer) Netahla all of Caldwell; mother, Virginia Bradley of Anthony; sisters, Debbie (Allen) Francis of Anthony, Kansas, Karen (Ritch) Nelson of Lucas Kansas; brothers, Gary (Geri) Lantz, Ray Lantz, Larry Lantz all of Lucas, Kansas, Jerry (Annette) Lantz of Salina, Kansas; brother-in-laws, Shorty Anderson of Lucas, Kansas and Terry Volavka of Wichita, Kansas; sister-in-laws, Freda Lantz of Lucas, Kansas and Brenda Volavka of Caldwell, Kansas. Numerous nieces and nephews and a host of friends.
Mike had been asking for his wedding ring. Lu Ann looked for it with no success. She took him Saturday to purchase a new one. He was so happy and proud of his new wedding band that they renewed their vows, Mike’s way in the Mobility Van. Mike never lost his sense of humor throughout his illness, but often at Lu Ann’s expense! He told Lu Ann, “Never stop laughing, joke til you croak!!!”..and that is how he lived..Mikey we had us a time…didn’t we? You will be missed by many!
Memorials may be given in memory of Mike to the S.H.A.R.E. Foundation for a bench to be placed downtown or to the Czechoslovakian Cemetery and left in care of the mortuary.
Services will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the United Methodist Church in Caldwell.
Interment will be in the Czechoslovakian Cemetery, Caldwell, Kansas.