We regret to inform you that the founder of the Czech Music Camp, Reverend Walter Marek, 92, passed away peacefully at home in Traverse City, Michigan, USA on November 10, 2010.
Rev. Walter Marek was born in Prague on Sept. 29, 1918. He was ordained a priest in 1946. After the Communist party took over the Czechoslovak government 1948, Marek became a political dissident as a leader in the minority Christian Party.
In 1949 he managed to flee arrest by police officers at his parish house, eventually escaping the country to spend two years in German refugee camps. He immigrated to the United States in 1951 with the sponsorship of Bishop Francis Haas of Grand Rapids.
In his years in the United States, between 1951 and his retirement in 1979, Marek served as assistant pastor or pastor in several parishes in western and northwest Michigan, including Sacred Heart in Muskegon Heights.
Rev. Walter Marek, an avid violinist, was a founding board member of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, the nonprofit arts camp founded in 1966 in the Manistee National Forest. In 1992, he was the first person elected to life membership on its board. With a gift for bookkeeping and finances — he was the son of a banker — Marek served as the camps treasurer from the beginning until his death.
In 1997, Marek became the founder and sponsor of the Czech Music Camp for Youth in his home town of Horni Jeleni, a camp modeled on Blue Lake.
Fr. Walter wrote and published two books about his
extraordinary life, Cache the Czech – Books I and II. He was
in the process of writing a third book at time of his death. He will
be greatly missed.