Joanna Schwartzkopf

Joanna Wilma Kocurek Schwartzkopf, 89, of El Campo, was born Nov. 5, 1930 and died Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020 in Austin.

Mrs. Schwartzkopf was a lifetime homemaker, a devoted wife and a loving mother. She was a graduate of El Campo High School. In her youth, Joanna was an accomplished fast pitch softball shortstop on the Bobby Sox Women’s softball team, the A.S.A. District Champions in 1948-1950.

After high school, Joanna attended and graduated from IBM School, and was employed in customer relations work at United Gas in downtown Houston prior to her marriage. In 1952, she met and married the love of her life, Houston radio broadcaster Chuck Schwartzkopf. Their first child was born in Corona, Calif., and Joanna became the proud mother of four children in all. Each of her children graduated from ECHS and Wharton County Junior College. She was involved as an adult leader in Cub Scouting, 4-H, American Legion Girls State and SPJST’s youth program. Her memberships included the Wharton County Home Demonstration Club, where she was an officer and “Woman of the Year,” El Campo American Legion Auxiliary, St. Philip’s Chapter of Catholic Daughters of America and St. Philip’s Altar Society.

A stroke in 1972 seriously curtailed much of Joanna’s volunteer work. Her focus became her family, friends, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and she became the spiritual leader of the family. She also took an active role in the lives of all her descendants.

Joanna was preceded in death by her parents, Anton and Julia Elias Kocurek of El Campo and her brothers, Alvin L. Kocurek, James Charles “JC” Kocurek and Arthur Kocurek.

She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Charles Franklin “Chuck” Schwartzkopf Sr., her sister, Verna Dell Kocurek Polasek of Houston; her children and their spouses, Juliet (Bob) Vander Ploeg of Austin, Nora (Jim) McCullough of New Braunfels; Chuck (Stephanie) Schwartzkopf Jr. of Houston, and Nick (Dylin) Schwartzkopf of Ganado. Joanna is also survived by her eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Surviving grandchildren, and their spouses, are Dirk and Julie Vander Ploeg of Austin, with their four children; Kate and Rob Woodage of Austin, with their three children; Raleigh and Chris Palis of Houston, with their child; Christine and Trey Wakefield of Houston, with their five children, Trey Svrcek of Austin; Madison and Matt Rodon of Spring; Hannah and Josh Sigmon of Weatherford and Cara Schwartzkopf of Austin.

Visitation will be 4 - 76 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7 at Triska Funeral Home in El Campo. Rosary will be on Tuesday, Sept. 8, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at St. Philip Catholic Church with a funeral Mass following at 11 a.m. Entombment will be at Holy Cross Memorial Park in El Campo.

Pallbearers will be Dirk Vander Ploeg, Trey Wakefield, Trey Svrcek, Rob Woodage, Matt Rodon, Chris Palis and Josh Sigmon.

Memorial donations may be made in memory of Joanna to St. Philip Catholic School in El Campo.

Condolences may be shared online at

Arrangements are under the direction of Triska Funeral Home, El Campo.

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