Leroy & Josephine Swartzkopf

In 1911, after moving his family from St. Louis to San Antonio for a job with Halff & Bros. wholesale dry goods, Lee Swartzkopf died of a heart attack during a family picnic. With the support of Rabbi Samuel Marks of San Antonio’s Congregation Beth-El, Lee’s widow, Mary, placed their children, Leroy (age 11) and Josephine (age 8) in the Home in New Orleans.

While in the Home, both Leroy and Josephine won recognition as leaders in the Golden City, holding positions as Big Brother and Big Sister, respectively. In addition, Leroy played the baritone horn in the Home’s band and earned unusually high praise from Superintendent Leon Volmer as “very bright, absolutely honest and dependable” and “one of the best boys ever in the Home.”

At the Isidore Newman Manual Training School, both siblings excelled in sports. When Josephine graduated in 1921, classmates called her a “jewel as captain of our battles on the diamond.” Baseball was Leroy’s chosen sport, as well, earning praise from Coach Claude “Monk” Simons as one of the “best prep-school pitchers ever in New Orleans.”

Upon discharge from the Home, Leroy attended Tulane’s business school for two years, now making news as the “Greenback’s” pitcher.  He  returned to San Antonio to work for Harry Halff, like his father, at what became the A.B. Frank Company, while finding time to serve as “chief moundsman”  for the Alamo Bank Financiers baseball team. Finding his calling in advertising and customer relations, and later winning election as president of local and national professional advertising associations, Leroy remained at A.B. Frank until 1957, when he  became vice president and sales manager of  another San Antonio dry goods wholesaler. Along the way he married Mary Catherine Hicks, with whom he raised two children. Leroy died in 1967 at age 66.

After her discharge, Josephine settled in New Orleans, where she married William G. Aly. Although Josephine and William had no children, they frequently hosted Leroy and his family when visiting from San Antonio. Josephine died in 1985 at age 82.

Leroy & Josephine Swartzkopf

Leroy and Josephine Swartzkopf, undated. Photo courtesy of Kay Swartzkopf Smith, Leroy’s daughter.

Home Band, 1916 Annual Report

The Home Band, 1916 Annual Report. As identified by his daughter, Leroy Swartzkopf stands in the center (and is the tallest) of the three boys in the top row.

Josephine Swartzkopf, 1921 Newman Pioneer

Josephine Swartzkopf, senior picture, 1921 Newman Pioneer.

Leroy Swartzkopf, Alamo Bank Financiers, undated

Leroy Swartzkopf, undated, in his Alamo Bank Financiers baseball uniform. Photo courtesy of Kay Swartzkopf Smith. 

Leroy Swartzkopf, c. 1938

Leroy Swartzkopf, c. 1937, when he served as president of the San Antonio Advertising Club. Courtesy of Kay Swartzkopf Smith.