IPA Hall of Fame Categories
IPA Hall of Fame Biography
Joe was born on January 29, 1941, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. During his early childhood, his family moved to Blackstone, MA, where he was educated and graduated from the local High School. He subsequently received his Bachelor's Degree in History and Government from Boston College and a Masters Degree in History from Framingham State College.
Joe began his entertainment career at the age of 16 on Radio Station WNRI in Woonsocket, RI, with a short Polka show on Sunday afternoons. This show progressed to a two hour show which became one of the most popular in the area. This show was also simulcast on local Cable TV.
Although Joe had his personal favorite Polka bands, he did not differentiate between them. When a new record came out and was sent to him, he spent hours listening to the album to find the best song to represent the artist.
In 1978, Joe began promoting Polka Dances for the benefit of the Jimmy Fund, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston which benefits the care of children with cancer and cancer research. His reason for making the Jimmy Fund his favorite charity was because he loved kids. He also understood the need for cancer research, having had to fight his own battle with it for the last two years of his life.
In education, Joe also distinguished himself. A teacher of History and Social Studies, he was also a Social Studies Chairman and the only Athletic Director the school ever had. The year before his death he was a finalist for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.
Joe was a past member of the Lion's Club and remained active with his charities as well as with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Heart Fund. Joe Struzik was - an officer and activist during the early years of the United States Polka Association.
In 1983, Joe was honored at a testimonial at the Myriad Ballroom in Mendon, MA by 400 people for his many years of dedication to the community and the Jimmy Fund. In 1987, two months before his death, Joe was the honoree of a "Joe Struzik Appreciation Day", attended by more than 2,000 people.
Also in 1986, Joe was chosen to receive a special "Humanitarian" award from the International Polka Association, a very timely award that he cherished until his death.