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James A. Prokopp

July 13, 1917 - December 20, 2009

SPRINGFIELD – CMSGT James A. Prokopp Jr. of Springfield, IL died Sunday, December 20, 2009.

He was born July 13, 1917, in Springfield, the son of James A. Prokopp Sr. and Catherine (Jacoby) Prokopp.

Mr. Prokopp was a graduate of Cathedral Boys High School in June 1935. He was a World War II Army Air Forces veteran, serving from December 1941 through November 1945. He was the first enlisted man to enlist in the 170th Fighter Squadron on September 1, 1948, which he served until June 1977. He was organizational maintenance superintendent at the time of his retirement.

He was very active in civic activities as well as military. He was a life member of National PTA, Illinois PTA, and the Springfield Council of PTA, where he was the first male president of the Springfield Council. He was the first president of the PTA at Springfield Southeast High School, on the Curriculum Council of the Illinois Board of Education, and Springfield School District 186 Curriculum Committee, and was very active as chairperson and member of many committees over many years. He served as state PTA treasurer of the Illinois Congress of PTA for the allowed one year term.

He was a board member and trustee for many years for United Cerebral Palsy Land of Lincoln. He also served on the state UCP Board. He served twelve years on the Senior Citizens of Sangamon County Board and on the RSVP advisory board, where he was president for 3 years.

Chief Prokopp, while serving in the Air Guard, was very active. He graduated from the National Guard School of Professional Services. He was a life member of the National Guard Association of Illinois, where he served a term on the board of directors. He was a life member of ANGN COAGA. After retiring he worked on the committee planning dinner and breakfast meetings of the retirees. His wife Virginia was also an active committee member on two national seminars of the ANGNCOAGA held in Springfield in 1982 and 1992, and attended most seminars throughout the United States.

He was very safety conscious and was president of the Illinois Traffic Safety Council, the Federal Safety Council, and the Springfield Safety Council. He had an additional duty of Safety NCO at the 170th Sqdn. IL ANG.

He was a member of St. Katherine Drexel Parish/St. Patrick’s Church, and an honorary member of the former Fifth Presbyterian Church. He was the first president of the Parish Council and the Men’s Club. During his time of service, the St. Martin de Porres Center was opened, helping those in need in Springfield. He was an active member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, served on the Ethnic Festival Committee, and assisted with fish fries, chicken dinners, pancake and sausage breakfasts, and chili suppers.

On the Diocesan level, he was president of St. Vincent DePaul for many years and on various other committees and boards of the Springfield Diocese. He was a trustee on the National St. Vincent DePaul board.

He is survived by sons, Joseph A. Prokopp (wife, Pat) of Addison, IL and Charles D. Prokopp (wife, Pat) of Tucson, AZ; as well as a daughter, Janice M. Kirk (husband, John W.) of Springfield; a sister, Marguerite (Prokopp) Seggelke of Springfield also survives him. He had five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

His wife, Virginia (Eby, Richards) Prokopp preceded him in death in January of 2003. A brother, Rev. Joseph W. Prokopp of Decatur St. James Parish preceded him in death in 1949; as did his parents; and a son, John Alonzo Prokopp in 1946.

Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, December 23, 2009, at Staab Funeral Home with a prayer service at 4 p.m. Funeral Mass 9:30 a.m Thursday, December 24, 2009, at St. Patrick’s Church, with Reverend Peter Harman officiating. Burial at Camp Butler National Cemetery, where Sangamon County Interveteran’s Burial Detail and the Illinois Army National Guard will conduct military honors.

Memorials may be made to Alzheimer’s Association or St. Martin de Porres.

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