Obit: Joseph Bernard Sykora
- Joseph Bernard Sykora
Plumber shared his Czech heritage, musical skills.
Joseph Bernard Sykora taught himself to play a two-row button accordion he bought by mail order as a child growing up on his family farm in Central Texas.
The instrument was a luxury to the middle child of a family with 15 children.
He grew up to become a successful master plumber in Dallas.
Mr. Sykora gave generously, sharing his plumbing skills and financial success with those in need. He also shared his Czech heritage and musical skills at countless weddings, gatherings and festivals.
Mr. Sykora, 96, died Friday at the Dallas Center of Rehabilitation of complications of a recent stroke.
Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. today at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, where he was a charter member. He will be entombed in the Calvary Hill Cemetery mausoleum.
"The greatest thing that he contributed was his generosity," said his son, Robert Sykora of Dallas. "What he earned, he gave back ... not only to the Czech community but to anybody who came to him in need."
Mr. Sykora played the accordion including at Czech polka Masses until he had a stroke about two years ago.
"Every place we went, that accordion went with us," his son said.
Mr. Sykora was born in Bomarton, Texas, but moved with his family as a toddler to Penelope, a Czech community just east of West, Texas.
He later moved to Dallas, where he learned to be a plumber, starting with a position digging ditches. After he mastered his trade, he started his own company.
Mr. Sykora served in the Navy during World War II.
After the war, he returned to Dallas, where he merged his plumbing business with his brother John's contracting operation.
The brothers built houses in East Dallas, including a block of homes across from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.
"They always had work until they retired," Robert Sykora said.
In retirement, Mr. Sykora continued to do free plumbing work for people in need, his son said.
He was active at St. Thomas Aquinas, where he was an usher and a member of the altar society.
His wife, Vlasta Pavlas Sykora, died in 1974.
In addition to his son, Mr. Sykora is survived by two grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Vitas Innovative Hospice Care or a charity of one's choice.
The Dallas Morning News 11-3-2010