KOCHALKA, Joseph T. “Jose”

January 12, 1945 - September 19, 2015

01/12/1945 - 09/19/2015

KOCHALKA, Joseph T. “Jose”, 70, of Wheeling, W.Va., died Saturday, September 19, 2015 at Liza’s Place.
He was born January 12, 1945, in Wheeling, a son of the late Joseph and Mary (Koslow) Kochalka. Jose was a graduate of Bishop Donahue High School, West Liberty State College, and West Virginia University. He earned a Master’s Degree in Spanish and History. His career spanned over four decades. Jose dedicated his life serving Bishop Donahue High School for 33 years in the capacity of a Spanish teacher, assistant principal, and counselor. He retired from Marshall County Schools after teaching Spanish for 16 years. He was selected as an exchange Professor with WVU, to teach at the University of Antioquia, Medellin Colombia, South America.
He was an avid traveler. He enjoyed sharing his love of the Mexican culture and language with his classes. He took several hundred students on educational trips to South America and Mexico. He also traveled to Europe and Africa crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth II with a group of students.
He enjoyed fine dining, traveling Amtrak, and creating travel itineraries. He loved watching movies, playing cards, and discussing politics with his friends.
Surviving are his sister, Jeanette Rose of McMechen, W.Va.; two nieces, Denise (Dave) Wheeler of Wheeling, and Lisa (Chad) Gast of Moundsville, W.Va.; five great nephews, Ethan Wheeler, Broc Gast, Logan Wheeler, Heath Gast, and Zane Gast; several cousins; numerous special friends; and his cat, Eugenia.
At Jose’s request, there will be no visitation or services.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, PO Box 22718
Oklahoma City, OK 73123, or the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless at 84 Fifteenth Street, Wheeling, W.Va. 26003
Finally, the family would like to express their gratitude to Jim, Heather, Amy, and Jonathan.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.altmeyer.com

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Beth Blake Davis
6 years ago

Ah Jose, old friend;
Were it not for your wonderful sense of humor, would many of us made it through BDHS, and survived the likes of Sr. Mary Tank, Thomas, and Carmelita! Sometimes I think that you and I devoted over 40 of teaching just to spite them ! I’m sorry our paths did not cross again-how many times we must’ve missed one another crossing the Atlantic and Pacific, teaching in places near and far. It’s our loss now, but I’m sure you’ll be entertaining them all in the great beyond. The ” determined Champion of Justice” (as you wrote in our HS yearbook, Beth Ann

Patricia Wylie
6 years ago

Mr K,
You were a dedicated , funny, warm-hearted teacher & friend. I still remember the Spanish you taught me & you also taught my children. Heartfelt condolences to family & friends. You will be missed. Patty ( Estep) Wylie

Jim Woods
6 years ago

He was one of my favorite teachers at Bishop Donahue. Rest in peace Mr. K.

Keith J. Bell
6 years ago

RIP Sir…you were an awesome teacher and a great role model for your students.
Que en paz descanse

Katie Williams
6 years ago

May God hold you in his arms.

Paula Phillips
6 years ago

So sorry to hear of José’s passing. He was my teacher at Donahue, and later my son’s teacher at the Junior High. May he rest in God’s love, peace and care.

Thomas Fankhouser
6 years ago

Joe was one of my first friends when I moved to the area back in 1967. I have many memories of our travels and times spent laughing together. He will be missed.

Jim Bracken
6 years ago

Oh Jose. Now you are on the biggest journey of your much travelled life. As crazy, argumentative, challenging, unique, funny, frustrating and wonderful as your were…..you will be missed.

To me, as a young teenager, struggling to find a moment of peace and acceptance, you were an island of just in time encouragement in the stormy seas of adolescent pain. I will never forget you for that. You always marched to your own drummer, and, in your friendship, made it easy for people to celebrate the greatness of their own individuality.

No more Southern Comfort for you now my friend. No need. You are welcomed by the comforting embrace of friends and family on the other side. You are sent on your way by the well wishes of those you have left to remember the best of you.

You may never know the impact you made teaching, inspiring, and motivating so many youth, but it is your greatest legacy. I for one will never forget you. You made a difference my friend. Until we meet again.

Judy Balgo
6 years ago

All 4 of my sons were students of Jose at Bishop Donahue. They enjoyed him and his spainish class. R I P dear Jose