Joan Alma Woodfin Walshak


Joan Alma Woodfin Walshak was born December 8, 1930, as the only child of the short marriage of H.G. Woodfin and Edna Buchholtz Woodfin.  She passed away Friday, June 21, 2024, after a battle with cancer. 

Joan started her life at the Buchholtz homestead in Gonzales where she lived with her mother, Edna Buchholtz and Joan’s grandparents.  When Joan was two years old, Edna married Lee Soefje and they moved to Ottine where the Soefje’s owned land.  They lived in a tiny house with her half-brother, Arthur (Sam), and her half-sister, Barbara.  She remembered roller skating on a small concrete porch, playing with Barbara out under the big trees, riding the school bus into town all the way from Ottine.  Throughout the years, she would take her children and her grandchildren out to the old Soefje places and tell stories of her life.    

In the summer of 1948 Joan worked at the Checkerboard Feed Store as a secretary/bookkeeper, and she continued to work there during her senior year.  That was where she met the love of her life, Douglas Walshak, who was then assistant manager at Checkerboard.  After several years of meeting at the water fountain at the feed store, they were married on September 10, 1950.  That began a life-long journey of farming and ranching, raising chickens, hogs, and cattle with Doug.  She became the manager of the house, especially when the children arrived:  Pamela Ann in 1953, Michael Douglas in 1956, and Mark Stanley in 1961.

Joan helped Doug with the farm and ranch and one day she got all dressed up and drove their air-conditioned car to San Antonio to pick up baby chicks.  She said the distributor said he had never seen such a pretty woman picking up baby chicks and hauling them home in her car.  Joan was also a good seamstress.  It was not unusual for her to be putting in a last stitch on a dress as her daughter rushed out the door.  She shuttled children to and from doctor visits, various classes (piano, art, band, ag), and found time to be a part of several organizations.  She was active in both Beta Sigma Phi sorority and Spade and Trowel Garden Club for over 70 years.  She also belonged to St. James Catholic Daughters.  She did not cut her ties to the Ottine Community, and she founded the Ottine Cemetery Association to help raise money for fencing and upkeep of the cemetery. 

In later years, Joan was able to accompany Doug on many once-in-a-lifetime trips that he planned; she also loved back road trips to the farms and the homesteads of years past.

One of Joan’s happiest places was in her yard or working with flowers and plants.  In early years, she won many ribbons and awards for her flower arrangements at the annual Flower Show put on by the Garden Club.  She always said her favorites were working with dried materials and working on miniature arrangements.  She has decorated many a mantel with a beautiful pinecone wreath made lovingly by her.  Even when it became difficult to work in the yard, she enjoyed looking out the window, admiring how the trees she had planted had grown, watching the red birds and squirrels play.

Joan found that she had a love of genealogy.  She spent many years collecting data on all ancestors and loved trying to piece together a history of their lives.  She never met a stranger and would find out within a few minutes whether she was related or not.  She has a collection of dozens of books of material and genealogical charts from all sides of her family.  In 2016 Joan began writing a story of her life and of the ancestry of the Buchholtz, Soefje, Walshak, Woodfin families.  The story soon became multiple stories and developed into a “book” which we illustrated with pictures.  Now we all have a treasured history of her life in her own words.

Faith and family were of utmost importance to Joan.  She loved to take the grandchildren on outings; she was often in the last group to leave a social gathering so she didn’t miss anything.  She was a quiet, gentle angel who never complained even when life presented her with its ups and downs; she touched many lives, and she will be missed forever.

She is survived by her daughter, Pam Walshak and husband, Bubba Boehm; son, Mike Walshak and wife Kim Babik; son, Mark Walshak and wife Jerrie, all of Gonzales; six grandchildren—Shane Walshak and wife, Stephanie of Seguin; Jasen Walshak and wife, Regina, of New Braunfels; Courtney Walshak Welfel and husband, Rick, of Gonzales; Jaren Walshak and wife, Jessica, of New Braunfels; Jalen Walshak of Gonzales; Jefry Walshak and Alyssa Johnston, of Seguin; three step-grandchildren—Jarrid Boehm and wife Nicole, of Gonzales; Jennifer Boehm Gattuso and husband, Anthony, of Georgetown; C. J. Babik and wife April, of Markham; fourteen great grandchildren—Sawyer Walshak, Annabelle Walshak, Aiden Walshak, Avery Walshak, Jhett Welfel, Rhex Welfel, Colby Walshak, Landry Walshak, Slayden Boehm, Colsen Boehm, Karli Hill, Tripp Gattuso, Sciara Babik, Crissa Hamor; half-sister, Barbara Carter of Teague; sisters-in-law, Dora Soefje of Gonzales, Murlene Enke of Victoria, Pat Bianchi of Houston, Lorraine Walshak of Tyler.  She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 63 years, Douglas Walshak; parents; half-brother, Arthur (Sam) Soefje; half-brothers, Glenn Woodfin and Robert Woodfin, and half-sister Louise Woodfin Krug.

The family would like to thank Dr. Eska, Dr. Craig, and Dr. Wagner in Shiner for the continued healthcare of Joan over many years.  Their excellent care helped her to live independently in her home for 93 years. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a contribution to Ottine Cemetery Association or a charity of your choice.

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday, June 27, 2024 at Seydler-Hill Funeral Home with the Rosary being recited at 7 p.m.

Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated 10 a.m. Friday, June 28, 2024 at St. James Catholic Church with Reverend Paul Raaz officiating.  Interment will follow at St. James Catholic Cemetery.  Pallbearers include: Shane Walshak, Jasen Walshak, Jaren Walshak, Jefry Walshak, Rick Welfel, Jarrid Boehm and honorary pallbearer Jalen Walshak.

Friends may sign the guestbook and leave condolences by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home, 906 St. Paul St., Gonzales, TX