Lee Roy Matocha
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Lee Roy Matocha, polka bandleader, promoter, and broadcaster, was born
in Plum, Texas, on August 2, 1932. He was the son of Louis and Emilie
(Zbranek) Matocha. Matocha showed an early interest in his father’s
accordion, and at the age of fourteen, he started playing the instrument
with his uncle’s group, the Zbranek’s Accordion Band. He made his
professional debut at a New Year’s Eve dance at the Prairie View Hermann
Sons School.

In 1952 Lee Roy Matocha joined the Lee Ilse Orchestra of La Grange and
remained with that outfit for twelve years. During this time the band
recorded three 78 rpm records. Matocha formed his own group, the Lee
Roy Matocha Orchestra, in 1964 with Harold Ilse, Ivan Faykus, and Charlie
Rainosek. They were based in Fayetteville. They performed in cities and
small towns across Texas and in 1970 acquired a band bus that they named
the “Golden Eagle.” During his career, Matocha, who was nicknamed the
“Fayetteville Flash,” produced a prolific output of recordings that included
eighteen 45 rpms, thirteen LPs, six 8-tracks, seven cassettes, and one video.

In the early 1960s Matocha also began a broadcasting career that would
span almost forty years. He was a tireless promoter of polka music and its
Czech heritage as the host of the Lee Roy Matocha Czech Hour and the
Polka Show. He initially began recording a program for KVLG in La Grange,
but over the years his output grew to twelve polka shows on six radio
stations. He taped his broadcasts at his home in Fayette County for stations
such as KCTI in Gonzales and KMIL in Cameron as well as KVLG in La
Grange. The South and Central Texas towns of Brenham, El Campo,
Columbus, Kenedy, and Karnes City also heard Matocha’s broadcasts, which
featured both his own performances and selections from his extensive
collection of 78 rpm records of the 1930s and 1940s. Matocha spoke both
English and Czech on his programs.

Matocha retired from performing in 1998, and he and the band played their
farewell dance on December 31, 1998, at the Ellinger Community Center in
Fayette County. He continued, however, with his regular radio broadcasts.
Matocha was a two-time winner of the Texas Polka Music Lifetime
Achievement Award—first in 1992 for dedication and longevity in
promoting polka music on the airwaves and then again in 1993 for
performing Czech music in Texas. He was a member of St. Isidore Society,
K.J.T., and S.P.J.S.T. He was also a parishioner of St. John’s Catholic
Church in Fayetteville. Matocha had married Doris Emily Malota on April 17,
1955. They had five children. He died at his home in Fayetteville on July 12,
2003 and was buried in Fayetteville Catholic Cemetery.

-John Rivard, “Matocha and Polka—Thank You, Lee Roy!” The Texas Polka News, August 2003.