Tom Machacek, 63, assistant radiation safety officer and senior safety specialist in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Department of Environmental Health and Safety, died Aug. 10.
Machacek was born Aug. 17, 1956, in Yankton, South Dakota, to Richard Machacek and Esther White. He attended Irene High School and graduated May of 1974, later joining the United States Navy in June of 1976.
On Dec. 10, 1977, he married Sherri Lee Elwell in Ogden, Utah. Machacek served on the USS Skipjack and received the Presidential Unit Citation from the Navy while on the USS Parche in 1986. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in October 1987 at the rank of electrician’s mate chief.
In 1992, Machacek received a Bachelor of Science degree, double majoring in agronomy and environmental management, from South Dakota State Universityok. In 1995, he was awarded a Master of Science degree from SDSU. After receiving his master's degree, he and his family moved to Lexington, Nebraska, where he worked as an area crop specialist.
In 1996, the family moved to Lincoln, where Tom continued working in the field of agronomy. In 1998, he began working at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln within the School of Natural Resources and then the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.
Over the course of their life together, Machacek and his wife moved 14 times together, residing in Idaho, Connecticut, California, Kansas, South Dakota and Nebraska. At the university, he trained hundreds of users in radiation safety, laboratory safety and laser safety. He was loved by many and was a friend to all.
Machacek is preceded in death by his parents, Richard Machacek and Esther White; and stepfather, Rueben Knodel; brother, Charles – Chuck (Brenda – deceased) Machacek; and stepbrothers, Glenn (Kay – deceased) Knodel, Jim Knodel; and nephew, Darin Williams.
He is survived by his wife, Sherri; son, Joshua Rueben (Imogen) Machacek of Canberra, Australia; daughter, Ilia Marie (Thomas) Minary of Lincoln, Nebraska; brother, Vern (Helen – deceased) Machacek; sisters, Pat (Doug – deceased) Johnson, Judy (David) Zikmund, and Linda (Roger) Williams; stepsister, Darlene (James) Norwood; stepbrother Bill (Faye – deceased) Knodel; grandchildren, Charles Ore, and Audrey and Henry Machacek; and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral service for Machacek will be 10:30 a.m. Aug. 14 at Indian Hills Community Church, 1000 S. 84th St. His ashes will be laid to rest at the Omaha National Cemetery for Veterans.