The Princess of Venice, one of the most popular and adored ladies of Venice, has sadly left us.
Many of us have had many of our days brightened by her big, bright, joyful and sincere smile. Anytime anyone addressed her, her smile was her response.
Monae Lei Momi Hromadko could be seen daily on Ocean Front Walk, always accompanied by her father, Petr Hromadko. Originally from Czechoslovakia, Petr illegally left the country to escape communism with his friend Rene Kraus in 1979. He’s been playing music in Venice since, most recently with the Venice Street Legends. Monae never missed a show, and was by far his biggest fan.
Monae was born with epilepsy, a condition that causes seizures. Petr and Monae’s mother ended their relationship when Monae was a year and a half, after which Petr took on the responsibility of caring for his daughter. Monae’s mother and her two younger half siblings had not seen Monae for the past fifteen years, but were present at her memorial services, which were held at the First Baptist Church in Venice on September 22.
The excellence that we have all witnessed Petr provide for his daughter for the past 25 years extended to the memorial services, to him helping carry the coffin outside, where he hugged it and kissed it one last time with love and calm, putting an end to a chapter well done.
Over a hundred people came together for Monae’s memorial. I’ve never felt as much love in any one room as I did on September 22 at the First Baptist Church. We really came together like a big, caring, heart-broken family. There weren’t many dry eyes in the room.
While people compared Monae to an angel and a bird, it was also acknowledged that the apple did not fall far from the tree: there was angel Monae as much as there was angel Petr. At the end of the night quite a few of us were wishing that we had a caring, loving father like Petr.
Monae died in Petr’s arms, of natural causes, on the morning of September 15. “Her health has been slowly declining over the years,” Petr told the Beachhead.
According to her medical doctor, Monae was the longest living patient with her condition. Several of her health-care providers from UCLA Harbor in Torrance were present at her memorial services. Olga, who has been caring for Monae for the past 21 years, mentioned that never before have they had in the waiting room a father caring for his daughter with as much love as Petr did for Monae.
With humbleness and a miss-buttoned shirt Petr carried through a perfectly beautiful memorial. His true and devotional love towards Monae could not be missed.
Love is all he had for everyone in the room, from people who have been an integral part of his and Monae’s life for the past 25 years, like Rene Kraus, to Monae’s mother and siblings, whom nobody knew because they’ve been out of the picture for the past 15 years. There was no blame or resentment coming from Petr towards anyone, as being with Monae and caring for her was joy for him, not a chore.
“She was always happy, like a bubble of joy,” Petr told the Beachhead about his daughter.
Two beautiful memorials were also set up on Ocean Front Walk, in front of the Bistro and the
Waterfront, as Monae spent most of her life in those two spots, listening to her father play music. When she was younger, and she had more control of her hands, she would accompany him with little shakers and other instruments.
There was sobbing as well as singing and dancing at the September 22 memorial service. Petr outdid himself all the way to the end with a truly memorable event that we felt grateful to be a part of. The mutual feeling was that we sent Monae off on her next journey, and we all wished her a good one. A cloud in the form of an angel appeared right over the church during the service. It was Monae rising and flying, being free, dancing in the sky towards expanded horizons.
“Monae was the Princess of Venice, and may she rest in peace” was how Petr ended the memorial service.
Monae, thank you for brightening all of our lives. You were bigger than words and bigger than us. You will be missed.
– Greta Cobar
Photos row 1: Memorial at First Baptist Church Photos
by: Margaret Molloy; Row 2: Monae; Row 3:
Memorial on OFW Photos by: Margaret Molloy;
Bottom row: Petr Hromadko and Rene Kraus, September
22 Photo by: Margaret Molloy; Black and
white photo: Monae Photo by: David Healey
her run and dance
around. She’s sings
all the time. Intense
thoughts about life
she’s has. Fixing our
pains with one
Without a word she
heals our hearts.
She’s climbed the
Swam the deepest
oceans. And now
with her New wings
she soaring above us
yelling. I love you
Daddy. I’m your biggest
fan. See you
– Lionel Powell
By Marty Liboff
you brightened our day
the smiling sun’s ray…
Your laugh lights up Venice Beach –
to the sunshine and sunset you reach
with your happy dancin you teach
teach us all to further reach…
while dad played the bass
angel of grace
above our petty sorrows
given us hope for brighter tomorrows…
Beautiful butterfly fly, fly away
Monae ya brightened our day…