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Ben and Dorothy Hyek Endowed Scholarship in Business

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Ben and Dorothy Hyek
Ben and Dorothy Hyek

Benjamin Frank Hyek was born in Hillje, Texas, in 1930. Dorothy Mae Holy was born in Ganado, Texas, in 1937. Their values were shaped by growing up during the Depression as well as their strong Czech heritage. Neither spoke English when they started school, and once Dorothy was sent home for speaking Czech. While they eventually learned English, they were always proud of the Czech language and culture.

Dorothy finished high school in Ganado and worked as an administrative assistant to Texas Sen. Bill Patman until 1966. Ben’s schooling ended when he finished the eighth grade and was needed on the farm. He later enlisted in the military and ultimately obtained his GED.

Ben and Dorothy met at a dance in Taiton, Texas. They married in 1959. After living in a tiny house in nearby Richmond, they moved down the road to Edna, where they would live the rest of their lives. Ben began a 35-year career working for ALCOA in Point Comfort. Strong believers in family, they had Pat in 1960, Monica in 1962, Chris in 1964, and Mike in 1966. After Mike was born, they decided that it was important for Dorothy to be at home full time with the kids.

Although neither of them went to college, Ben and Dorothy made sure their children understood the value of an education and developing outside interests. In addition to his career at ALCOA, Ben decided to take up a hobby and took a home-based course on television and radio repair. That hobby turned into what would become a nearly five-decade family business — Ben’s Radio & TV. While Dorothy managed the books, Ben repaired televisions in his shop or on house calls. He installed antennas and satellite dishes throughout rural Jackson County. His sons did the heavy lifting, picking up and delivering the larger console televisions. Eventually Ben’s sons went on to install antennas and dishes and to wire homes.

Ben’s Radio & TV was how many people in the small rural Texas community got to know Ben, Dorothy, and their children. The Hyeks were devoted to their Catholic faith, so on Sunday mornings when someone needed a TV fixed to watch the Dallas Cowboys, Ben politely said, “Today is Sunday and for the family.” He was quick to loan the person a TV if he had a spare. After retiring, Ben and Dorothy became more active in the church through the St. Vincent De Paul Society, American Legion, and the Catholic Daughters.

Dorothy managed the house and the children, attended all the kids’ sporting events, made or repaired much of the family’s clothing, crafted quilts, blankets, and doilies for her children, grandchildren, and neighbors, enjoyed baking and cooking for her children and their friends, and kept everyone humble. Her children’s friends looked forward to coming over to the house for meals — favorites were red velvet cake and poppy seed rolls — before football, basketball, and baseball games.

While the children were encouraged to work hard around the house, Ben and Dorothy made sure they had fun as well. Family vacations included trips to Carlsbad Caverns, Hot Springs, AstroWorld, Six Flags, and Garner State Park, among others. Ben and Dorothy knew how much their children enjoyed playing sports, so they bought an adjacent lot when building their house in 1971 so that the kids had more room to play. Their house was always filled with neighborhood children.

Whether teaching themselves to quilt, cook, fix a TV, car, or home appliance, install a satellite system, or work in the family garden, Ben and Dorothy were also teaching their children the valuable lessons of hard work, service to others, continuous learning, self confidence, a belief in doing things right, and having fun. As the years passed, Ben and Dorothy were blessed to watch their family grow, welcoming six grandchildren.

After Ben retired from ALCOA, he kept a garden and worked in the TV business until his death. He and Dorothy had more time for trips across the U.S. to visit their children and grandchildren. The two enjoyed traveling and being able to spend time together. It wasn’t uncommon for them to just go for a simple drive through the country. As time passed, they managed several health issues but somehow planned their medical needs so that one could always take care of the other.

Ben and Dorothy lived a modest life. Despite not having attended college, they had great wisdom. Their achievements weren’t measured in diplomas, plaques, trophies, or expensive cars but in having a strong marriage, faith, and family, in seeing their children grow, and in making a positive impact on their community. They asked for very little but gave a lot.

All four of their children pursued college degrees, and two graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. The four children decided to donate this scholarship in their parents’ name for high school graduates of Edna, Ganado, El Campo, Rice Consolidated, and other towns in Jackson, Colorado, and Wharton counties. Pat, Monica, Chris, and Mike want their parents’ legacy of hard work, family, community, compassion, and focus on education to survive following their passing in a car accident in March 2013. Ben and Dorothy’s children want this scholarship to support UT students the same way their parents supported them — by providing an education.

The Ben and Dorothy Hyek Endowed Scholarship in Business was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on May 14, 2014 to benefit The University of Texas McCombs School of Business. The endowment honors Mr. Ben Hyek and Mrs. Dorothy Hyek. Gift funds were provided by Mr. Patrick Allen Hyek, Ms. Monica Foster, Mr. Christopher Joseph Hyek, and Mr. Mike Hyek.

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