Joanne Planek, 84

Lifelong educator

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Joanne Marie Planek (nee Murphy), 84, died on Oct. 1, 2020. Born on Dec. 24, 1935 in Chicago, one of six children, she graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 1970 with a B.S. in Education and continued her education throughout her career, ultimately earning her PhD in Education in 1981. She was a talented and devoted student, receiving Loyola's Outstanding Student of the Year Award and serving as the president of Phi Delta Kappa, a professional organization for educators. 

Her 50+ year career in Catholic education began at St. Vincent Ferrer in 1970, where she taught junior high school students. She served as principal at Blessed Agnes School, beginning in 1974 and became vice president at Sylvan Learning Systems Inc., where she built several on-site learning centers in academically struggling schools. Her strong work ethic endured throughout her lifetime. She served as the affiliate representative for Chicagoland Christian Schools for federal and state funding from 1999 to the present. An avid art collector, seasoned traveler, and renowned storyteller, she had a vibrant personality, quick wit, and generous heart.

 Joanne was the wife of the late Charles "Chuck" Planek; the mother of Charles (Linda), Kathleen (George), Mary (Sean) Toohey, John (Mary), William (Kathleen), and Robert (Wendy); grandmother of Joannne (Andrew) Barkmeier, James Rolff, William (Allyson), Mary Jo Toohey, Charles, Emily, Elizabeth, Mary Kate, John (Isabel), Tom, Margaret, Kathleen, Annie, William, Ryan, Lilli, Maeve, Robert, and Caroline Planek; great-grandmother of Amelia, Charlotte, Susanna, Mae Barkmeier, and Conor Planek; sister-in-law of Thomas Planek; and the aunt of many nieces and nephews. 

A Mass will be scheduled at a later time to celebrate her life, and the life of her late husband, Charles. Interment was held at Queen of Heaven Cemetery on Oct. 5. Memorials to St. Agnes of Bohemia (formerly Blessed Agnes) School Scholarship Fund ( would be greatly appreciated. 

Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.

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