Joseph Leonard Stavas
May 17, 1931-September 10, 2019
Joseph Leonard Stavas passed away peacefully in his sleep while at home on Sept. 10, 2019, with family by his side.
The family will receive friends from 4–6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, at McKown Funeral Home. A private family service will be held on Friday, Sept. 13. In lieu of flowers please send memorials to Simon House (1853 10th Ave.) or St. Bonaventure Church (1565 18th Ave.) Columbus, Ne 68601
Joe was born May 17, 1931 in Columbus. Joe lived a full life, devoted to family, community and his faith. After graduating from Kramer High School in 1949, he attended Brown Technical Institute in Omaha, studying broadcast engineering and soon launched a career in radio broadcasting and management.
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During an early career stint in McCook, he met Marie S. Stehno from nearby Stratton, who was a new graduate nurse working at the Community Hospital. They soon married, on June 30, 1952, on a blistering hot summer day while the wheat combines churned dust in the nearby canyons of Hitchcock County. Following radio broadcasting jobs in South Dakota, Western Nebraska and Kansas, he eventually found his way back to Columbus and became general manager and co-owner of K-TTT Radio Station, “1510 on your Radio Dial”. He began innovative broadcast programming that included local ethnic music, farm market reports, call-in trading-post, after school rock and roll, live high school sports broadcasts and launched the famed “Big Joe Polka Show”. He coined the term “The Idea Station”, as K-TTT became engaged in numerous events in Columbus and nearby communities.
His community and church service was broad, from the Chamber of Commerce (President in 1978), Nebraska Broadcasters Association (President 1976), Boy Scouts of America (Silver Beaver Award) and Knights of Columbus at St. Bonaventure Church (4th Degree). He lobbied for state legislation for visual disability rights and interviewed countless personalities during his radio-broadcasting career. Following retirement from K-TTT he began anew, forming Show's Inc, a tradeshow, events and county fair booth company, that he continued operating until a few weeks before he became ill. He spent hours grooming their lake property south of Schuyler, where he organized spectacular fireworks displays each July 4th. He and Marie enjoyed visiting and entertaining family and friends across Nebraska and Kansas – they always wanted to stay close to “family” and modeled connectivity to their children. Despite serious vision limitations, he was a relentless reader with newspapers always unfolded and wrinkled on the dinner table next to a cup of coffee, staying current on politics and regional happenings. While driving on trips he kept his hand constantly on the radio dial listening and learning from other radio station's programming and styles and how to improve communication with his listener audience.
Joe is survived by his wife, Marie; daughter, Jackie (Warren) Pletan of Omaha; sons, Joe (Maureen) of Omaha and Kenny of Acworth, Georgia; sister, Joann (Al) Svajgr of Cozad; 9 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his father, Joseph Stavas Sr.; mother, Monica (Minnie) Bandur; and brother, Leo Stavas.
Condolences may be left at www.mckownfuneralhome.com.