Genevieve (Jennie) Robak, died Friday, January 3, 2014, as the result of an automobile-pedestrian accident. Jennie was born May 4, 1932 to James and Betty (Sedlak) Hayek, in Surprise, Neb. She attended school and graduated from Ulysses High School in 1949. She moved to Lincoln, Neb. where she met and married Cleo Robak in 1952. Jennie and Cleo moved to Columbus, Nebraska where Cleo practiced law and they raised six children.
Always involved in Democratic politics, Jennie hosted and worked for numerous candidates and elected officials including John Kennedy, Frank Morrison, Jim Exon, Bob Kerrey, Ben Nelson and Barack Obama. After raising her children, Jennie decided to run for the Nebraska Legislature in 1988. She qualified for election as a "write-in" candidate, won the general election and ultimately served the 22nd District for 14 years. While in the Legislature, Jennie actively served her district and the state. She participated in the National Conference of State Legislatures; served on the Editorial Board of "Stateline" a publication of the Conference of State Governments; and participated in President Clinton's 1997 Hate Crime Summit in Washington, D.C. Jennie was a tireless advocate for the poor and the mentally ill and was the chief sponsor of legislation to protect stalking victims. She was honored by the Nebraska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers as Citizen of the Year in 1999. In that same year, she was named the Friend of Psychology by the Nebraska Psychological Association for "her unyielding pursuit of mental health parity".
Jennie was a Red Cross volunteer and was employed by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). She traveled across the world to provide assistance to victims of disasters including Hurricane Hugo in the Virgin Islands, the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, and Hurricane Iniki in Hawaii.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, Cleo Robak; her parents, James and Elizabeth Hayek; sister-in-law, Kate (Eugene) Hayek; and brother-and-sister-in-law, John and Joan (Robak) Sleddens. She is survived by brothers, Robert, Eugene and Tom Hayek; sisters, Phyllis Cerny and Bernadette Chermok; six children, Karen (Stanley) Brashears, Chicago, Ill., Kim Robak (William Mueller) Lincoln, Frank (Sandy) Robak, Lincoln, Kurt (Susan) Robak, Eagle, Tony (Lisa) Robak, Amery, Wis., and Andrea (Kyle) McAllister, Lincoln; 11 grandchildren, Elizabeth (Brashears) Vorrasi, Lauren Brashears, Katherine and Claire Mueller, Alyson (Robak) Schenk, Jase and Cleo Ben Robak, Jaclyn and Duncan Robak, Makenzie Petersen and Cole McAllister; 6 great grandchildren; and numerous extended family members.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 10, 2014, at First Plymouth Congregational Church, 2000 'D' Street, Lincoln. A "celebration of life" will be held in Columbus in the Spring. Memorials in lieu of flowers may be sent to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Nebraska Chapter at 415 S 25th Street, Omaha, NE, 68131 or Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, 900 South 74th Plaza, Suite 301, Omaha 68114. Roper and Sons Funeral Services.