Joseph Koschak

Joseph Koschak, 84, of Batavia passed away on Thursday, May 25, 2006 at Kathy Hospice in the town of Polk.

He was born on June 19, 1921 in Ely, Minn., the son of the late Matt and Jenny (Steh) Koschak. At the age of 5, Joseph’s family relocated to Sheboygan.

Serving as class president, he graduated with the class of 1940 from Central High School in Sheboygan. Joe was a chemical engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Mad-ison. During World War II, from 1942-46, he proudly served his country in the U.S. Merchant Marines in the Atlantic Theatre and Indian Ocean. He was commissioned as an Ensign receiving medical training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. From there he served as medical officer and purser aboard the U.S.S. Delaires, the City of St. Louis and Nicolette.

In 1943, Joe met his wife, Lucille Oberg, who was serving in the U.S. Navy, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City, and they were united in marriage on Oct. 28, 1944 in Baltimore.

After the war, Joe began his chemistry career at Western Condensing in Adell as manager of research. From there he joined Fromm Laboratories in Saukville, specializing in microbiological research. In 1952, Joe became plant manager of Essential Chemicals in Fredonia.

While living in Adell, Joe served as the leader of the Scott Scooters 4-H Club, president of the Random Lake School Board, was a member of the Batavia Fire Department and Zion United Methodist Church in Batavia.

In 1965, Joe accepted the position of general manager, Chem-ical Division, Desoto Chemical Inc., Des Plaines, Ill. (now Keystone Industries). While in this position he formulated the first effective non-phosphate laundry detergent. He testified before the U.S. Congress on behalf of the Soap and Detergent Association about the hazards of phosphate detergents to the environment. He was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for his non-phosphate detergent formula.

After managing plants across North America, Joe retired in 1984 as group division vice president of Desoto Industries. During his past retirement years, Joe and Lucille spent winters in Alamo, Texas and South Padre Island, Texas. He enjoyed science, history, art and traveled in Europe to his ancestor’s homes in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Joe is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Lucille; four children, Janice (Robert) Hartmann of Adell, Susan (Doug) Smith of Scottsdale, Ariz., Steven (Pat) Koschak of Freeport, Fla., and Jeff Koschak of Juneau, Alaska; four grandchildren, Paul (Angie) Hartmann and Jill (Ron) Kies both of Random Lake, Bryan Koschak of Madison and Matt Koschak of Freeport, Fla.; three step-grandchildren, Carol Smith of Chicago, Vanessa (Mitch) Fortier of Chuluota, Fla., and Mark (Patty) Smith of Richmond, Va.; three great-grandchildren, Tyler and Owen Kies and Madeline Hartmann all of Random Lake; a sister-in-law, Helen Koschak of Sheboygan; his caregiver, Peter Darisuren, other relatives and many friends.

Joe was preceded in death by two brothers, Matt Koschak, Jr. and Frank Steh and a sister, Marion Guenther.

Joseph’s funeral service will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Zion United Methodist Church in Batavia. Pastor Gail Mitchell will officiate and burial will be at 10 a.m. on Wednesday in the church cemetery.

Relatives and friends may call on Tuesday at the church from 4 p.m. until the time of services.

Memorials to Zion United Methodist Church are appreciated.

The Miller Funeral Home in Kewaskum is serving the family. Additional information and guest-book may be found at

The family thanks the caring staff at Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls and Kathy Hospice in West Bend for the care provided to Joseph.