The John and Katherine Duda Foundation is named for John Duda, the eldest son of Andrew and Katarina Duda who immigrated to America in 1912 from Austria-Hungary in what is now known as Slovakia and Katherine (nee Mikler) Duda, whose family also immigrated to America from Slovakia. Along with his two brothers, John worked with his father to farm in Slavia, a small community in Central Florida. Due to their hard work and determination, their family business, now known as A. Duda & Sons, Inc. grew to be one of the world’s largest family owned and operated agribusinesses. Always seeking God first, the brothers credited their talents and blessings to their faith in God so much so that they pledged future annual company profits and personally gave above and beyond.
John and Katherine married in 1928 and they had four sons and a daughter. They were affectionately known by their 20 grandchildren as Dedko and Babka. They lived on the original family homestead in Slavia. Katherine died in 1974 and John lived there until his death in 1988. John Duda was known in the farming business as a mechanical genius and an innovative designer of patented equipment and pumps which are still in use today. A deeply religious family, John and Katherine were devout Lutherans and approached every day secure in their faith in the Lord.
John Duda was a seeker and innovator in all phases of his life. He was a “man’s man” – an avid outdoorsman who was passionate about hunting, fishing, camping and fast cars, yet he always believed in “work before play”. He was passionate for all about things mechanical and his fascination with moving water led to a lifelong love of designing and building pumps.
Although John and Katherine gave to many charities, they were most known for supporting early and ardent supporters of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and School and the Lutheran Haven in Oviedo, Florida; Campus Crusade for Christ; Youth with a Mission in Colorado; and Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots, U.S.A.
The John and Katherine Duda Foundation was created to continue their legacy of faith-based and other meaningful giving. The John and Katherine Duda Foundation respects and honors the heritage of faith, family, service, education and farming. The foundation is a vehicle through which their descendants continue to grow and give together as a family.