Dr. S. Joseph Woodka, 78, 5532 Woodland St., Stevens Point, a retired University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point political science professor and former dean who was responsible for bringing presidential candidates to Stevens Point, died Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, at his residence following an 11-month battle with cancer. He was under the care of Hospice of Portage County.
Services will be at a later date at Shuda Funeral Chapel.
Friends and family will gather from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the funeral chapel.
Memorials may be made to the Hospice of Portage County in lieu of flowers.
Mr. Woodka was born June 3, 1923, in South Bend, Ind., a son of the late Stephen and Bernice (Prezdzienkowska) Wodka.
He attended Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., until entering the U.S. Army in 1941.
He served in the Army’s transportation operation at Honolulu Harbor in Hawaii until 1943.
He then returned to Ball State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He then received master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.
He was married to Patricia Berry on May 15, 1954, in South Bend, Ind.
He began his teaching career in 1950 at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and taught there most of the time until coming to UW-SP in 1966.
He came to Stevens Point as the chairman of the Department of Political Science and began a project to recruit many of the major presidential candidates to the campus. Most of the White House hopefuls came, including Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter.
In 1970 he became dean of the College of Letters and Science, holding the position for two five-year terms until 1980. He then returned to teaching until retiring in 1988.
He served in Michigan as executive secretary for the Governor’s Study Commission on Elections in 1954 and as a Ford Foundation research fellow at the University of Michigan in a study on political behavior in 1953.
In Mount Pleasant he served as chairman of the zoning board of appeals and later as a city commissioner and mayor pro tem.
Survivors include his wife; two daughters, Carole Butler, Columbia, S.C., and Janice Woodka, Oconto; one son, Mark, Shaker Heights, Ohio; and four grandsons.
He was also preceded in death by his stepmother, Josephine Pawlak; one brother and one sister.