Longtime Texas banker and distinguished retired military leader Col. Ervan Zouzalik passed away peacefully on November 4 in Flatonia. He was 86. He served on active duty in the U.S. Army for 24 years before launching a successful banking career in the 1980s.
In 1960, Zouzalik graduated from Texas A&M University as part of the Distinguished Military Graduate program, receiving a BS degree in industrial education and BA degree in journalism. He completed his MBA degree at the University of Texas–Austin between two tours of duty in Vietnam. Zouzalik served as a platoon leader in Germany, a company commander in Vietnam, a battalion commander with the First Cavalry Division at Fort Hood and a brigade commander with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. He also served three years at the Pentagon and three years with the Defense Logistics Agency in the Washington D.C. area. His last assignment was as commander of the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service in Battle Creek, Michigan. He retired in 1984.
Zouzalik’s awards and decorations included the Defense Superior Service Award, Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars, an Air Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, a Vietnam Campaign Medal with Palm and the Vietnam Service Medal. In 2015, he was inducted into the Army’s Quartermaster Corps Hall of Fame at Fort Lee, Virginia.
After a notable military career, Zouzalik—along with his high school sweetheart who became his wife, Jeanette—owned and operated the family business, the Palace Motel in Flatonia. Zouzalik worked a short time at the Flatonia Livestock Commission before starting his 26-year banking career as a Flatonia State Bank director. In 1988, he was named the bank’s vice chairman. In 1993, he began his role as president and CEO of South Central Texas Bancshares, and in 1997 served as president and CEO of Central Texas Bank. In 1998, Zouzalik was appointed chair of Texas United Bancshares after a merger of three banks with 43 branches. After another final merger, he served on the Prosperity Bancshares board for another seven years, during which the bank grew to 215 branches. He retired from banking in 2013.
Zouzalik was a banking industry leader, serving as president of the South Central Texas Bankers Association, director at the Texas Independent BankersBank (TIB) and chairman of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT). He also participated in the People to People Program, which seeks to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among people of different countries and diverse cultures. During his service with People to People, Zouzalik traveled to Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Poland.
“Ervan was the consummate community banker,” notes Curt Nelson, director of membership for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. “He loved serving his community and the entire state of Texas during his service as chairman of IBAT. Every time I think of Ervan, it brings a smile to my face. He had a smile and a wonderful greeting for everyone. It is no coincidence that when you arrive at the IBAT headquarters in Austin, you will find yourself in the ‘Zouzalik Welcome Center.’ He and Jeannette have been a blessing to all and we are all better because of Ervan’s service to his country and his community.”
Zouzlik was also an active member of the Flatonia community. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, president of the Sacred Heart Cemetery Association and a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He was president of the Rotary Club, a member of the American Legion and president of the Flatonia Chamber of Commerce. He started the Veteran Museum in Flatonia as part of the E.A. Arnim Archives and Museum, of which Zouzalik was a catalyst and founding member.
Zouzalik is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Jeanette, and their children and spouses: Michael; John and spouse Laura; Greg and spouse Russell Wright; Brenda Novinski and spouse Greg Novinski; and Elizabeth Smith and spouse Patrick Smith. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Gretchen Zapalac and sister and brother-in-law Mary Ann and Victor Tichacek. He has been blessed with 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.