• Last modified 1005 days ago (Sept. 23, 2021)


Kapaun’s boyhood home gets a facelift

Pilsen Gift Shop to reopen

Staff writer

In preparation for the return of Father Emil Kapaun’s remains this weekend, owner Lillie Vinduska has had his boyhood home repainted.

The 1916 birthplace of the saintly priest, who died in a Korean prisoner of war camp, was moved to Pilsen from the family’s farm three miles southwest of town by his parents, Enos and Elizabeth Kapaun, in 1953.

It has been empty for many years, but Lillie hopes to live there again someday.

Kapaun’s father died in 1958, and his mother was moved to a care home in the early 1980s.

The house was put up for sale by John Spachek, president of Pilsen State Bank.

Joe Vinduska inquired about it and decided to buy it. The house has been in the Bob Vinduska family ever since. Joe’s mother, Millie, bought it from him in the early 1990s and later sold it to her daughter, Lillie.

The Wichita Diocese wants to buy it, Lillie said, but she isn’t selling.

Lillie lives in the former Pilsen State Bank building. It was purchased by her grandfather, J.J. Vinduska, who operated it as a gas station.

When Lillie’s parents, Bob and Millie Vinduska, bought the station, Millie made it into a gift shop and eventually converted the east half of it into living quarters, where she remained almost until her death.

Lillie lives there now and plans to open the Pilsen gift shop again this weekend. Besides souvenirs and antique items, the shop will provide a few convenience items. A pop machine sits just outside the door.

An old bank vault now provides storage for numerous St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church memorabilia that Millie collected. A door from the gift shop opens into the former vault, and Lillie hopes to make the room a mini-museum for visitors to the gift shop.

Last modified Sept. 23, 2021