Joseph Jan Sadlik

February 4, 1923
Nove Hvezdlice, Moravia, Czechoslovakia

August 1, 2009
McLean, Virginia, USA

Our father's life and times:

Dr. Joseph Sadlik, a retired foreign service officer who served the State Department in Munich and Bonn, Germany; Vientiane, Laos; New Delhi, India and Bamako, Mali, passed away early on August 1st.

Dr. Sadlik was a native of Czechoslovakia where he received his education - Maturita in 1942 and Doctorate of Law in 1948 at Charles University in Prague.

During this period, Dr. Sadlik witnessed the nazi occupation of the Czech lands and took part in the short lived Prague uprising in the waning days of the war - only to narrowly escape firing squad retribution.

After the war, Dr. Sadlik wrote for newspapers and journals and worked for the national Radio Prague as a writer and correspondent in the political news division. As the country fell to communism, Dr. Sadlik chose to escape West.

With the help of a clandestine network, Dr. Sadlik was spirited from Prague to the German frontier, where he crossed the border in the middle of the night under AK-47 fire from border guards.

While a refugee in Germany, Dr. Sadlik worked for the allied occupation forces as a legal aid for refugees. In 1950, he arrived in New York City, enrolled in New York University and began work for the Voice of America.

As the V.O.A. moved to Washington, he worked for the central writing department and became a specialist on matters of communism. Through the fifties, his stories and reports were broadcast into Czechoslovakia under pseudonym to protect remaining family.

In 1963, Dr. Sadlik was stationed in Munich, Germany as a foreign correspondent. In the following years, he was transferred to the U.S. Information Agency.

As a Foreign Service Information Officer, Dr. Sadlik travelled the Plain of Jars in Laos, ran the U.S. diplomatic presence at the 1972 Munich Olympics and served as the U.S.I.A. liaison to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His services were reflected by a number of State Department Awards of Merit, a presidential Consular appointment and Olympic committee recognition.

Dr. Sadlik's final overseas assignment was as the Public Affairs Officer in Bamako, Mali. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1982.

Throughout his foreign service career, Dr. Sadlik maintained a home in McLean, Virginia and was proud to have "replanted a significant branch of his family tree to the new world".

Dr. Sadlik was active in the local Czech community. In 1957, the Washington Post published a story of his family's czech cooking and his translations of old world recipes for American use.

During his retirement, Dr. Sadlik continued to travel extensively through Europe, Asia and Africa. Time at home was spent adding to the family home and working on a book about his escape from communism.

Dr. Sadlik was born in Nove Hvezdlice, Moravia on February 4th, 1923. In 1949, Dr. Sadlik married Margaret Kucharik, which ended in divorce. In 1962, he married Ursula Scheid. He was preceded in death by both his wives, sister Vlasta Brablec in Moravia and daughter, Peggy, in California.

In recent years, Dr. Sadlik suffered a series of small strokes and succeeding complications. He is survived by his three children, Paul, Christina and Barbara, all of McLean, Virginia; his brother, Zdenek, niece and nephews of Bethesda, Maryland; and grandchildren in Hollywood, California and McLean.

PJS Aug 2009


It has never been otherwise...
Springtime is dressing in green
And dewy dawns bend untoward
Longing to be, longing to live and perhaps...
Perhaps to feel a bit of love.

And it has never been otherwise...

Time ripened in fragrance of lilacs,
Faraway voices and tender tunes,
A gentle hand of the woman you loved,
All stroking your Sunday afternoons.

And it has never been otherwise...

Time ripened and people perished
With purple flowers and skylark's song
When sadness filled Christmases of those
Who said Good-bye instead of So-long.

And it has never been otherwise...

An old play with a new cast,
The vernal sap races the time,
But warm human lap has fallen cold
And cold grew the amorous rhyme.

And it has never been otherwise...

Those dewy dawns bleed into noons
Across the land into an evening meadow...
A chunk of moist soil and a new dawn...
Into an emptiness falls a man's shadow.

And it has never been otherwise.

JJS Feb 1991