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June Kachtik, who spent decades trying to preserve a clean environment and promote sensible land use in San Antonio, has died.
Kachtik was an urban planning expert and longtime volunteer on multiple City boards and commissions. She died at on Feb. 27 at age 86 after a series of health problems that started with pneumonia, according to her daughter, Autumn Bostic.
In interviews this week, friends and allies talked about Kachtik’s nearly four decades of work in the trenches to protect the Edwards Aquifer, San Antonio’s main drinking water supply, as well as the city’s creeks and rivers, among other initiatives.
Most recently, Kachtik served on the City’s Planning Commission. Even as she worked in that role, she labored alongside members of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance and Sierra Club to produce a whitepaper recommending changes to the City’s drainage codes to reduce runoff from routine storms.
“She was very measured,” said Annalisa Peace, director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance who worked alongside Kachtik frequently. “Plus, she had so much experience. It wasn’t hard to get her on those commissions.”
Peace recalled a meeting that put her in a room with Kachtik and other environmental advocates in the late 1980s or early 1990s as they served as watchdogs on the development of Six Flags Fiesta Texas over the aquifer’s sensitive Recharge Zone. The group was meeting with a former Texas Department of Transportation director to share their concerns about nearby highway extensions.
“When we came in, he introduced us to other people in the office as the ‘little ladies from San Antonio,’” Peace said. “The look on June’s face was hilarious. You never would think of, well, any of us but especially of June as your ‘little ladies.’”
Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to an engineer father and a homemaker mother, June Loveland moved to Texas to attend Texas Christian University, where she met her future husband, Eugene Kachtik, who died in 1996.
The couple married and transferred to the University of Texas for their senior years. June Kachtik majored in sociology, later receiving a second degree in urban planning and environmental management from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The couple had two children, Bostic, and a son, Von Kachtik. In addition to her two children, Kachtik is survived by three grandchildren, all Bostic’s kids, and two great-grandchildren.
“She was wonderful to them,” Bostic said. “She came to all of the soccer games, band concerts, and birthday parties. She was very close with her great-grandchildren. They just adore her.”
Bostic recalled the family piling into the car for road trips, often to go fishing. One of her most vivid travel memories was a trip to Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona.
“She was always involved in city government and city planning and environmental issues,” Bostic said of her mother. “Some of my earliest memories of her were campaigning for Democratic politicians” and former San Antonio Mayor Lila Cockrell.
Kachtik’s involvement in water issues dates back to the early 1970s, when she was a founding member of the Aquifer Protection Association. Other key members included the late Fay Sinkin, a prominent water advocate of that era. While many of its members have continued their advocacy, the association itself is no longer active.
At the time, the aquifer was under severe threat of overpumping and contamination related to the rapid conversion of rural land over sensitive parts of the aquifer to housing developments, strip malls, office complexes, and gas stations. Before the advent of modern regulations meant to protect the aquifer, Kachtik was among those advocating for more balance in the city’s growth
“She was such an efficient problem-solver and knew how to cut to the chase,” said Mary Grace Ketner, a friend who served with Kachtik on the social justice committee at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, of which both were longtime members.
“You could see from even the City committees and things that she served on that she was out to get things done,” Ketner said.
The family will commemorate Kachtik’s life with a private service, Bostic said. In lieu of flowers, she said her mother would have wanted donations to go to an ecology group such as Green Spaces Alliance, she said.
“She really would like everybody to go vote,” Bostic said.