Karl Reinke, long-term Lake Geneva resident and educational leader, passed away on February 6, 2022, at Lakeland Hospital.
Karl is survived by his wife of 72 years, Virginia “Ginny”, sons Clark (De De) of Plymouth, WI, Val (Retha) of Riverton, WY, daughter Patricia “Trish” (Tom) Litterski of Cincinnati, OH, five grandchildren: Rachel, Emily, Samuel, Frances, Cole, five great grandchildren: Caroline, Elliott, Leo, Weston and John Clark, and brother Donald (Donna) of Fredericksburg, TX. , and many nieces and nephews. He was proceeded in death by his parents, sister Mary Zicarelli (Bob), brothers Robert (Rosemary), and David (Ruth).
Karl was born in Gillett, WI in 1926 to Lydia (Hildebrandt) and Leonard Reinke. He graduated from Brillion High School in 1944 and enlisted in the Navy the day after graduation during the height of World War II. After the conclusion of the war, a Navy friend from Oklahoma convinced him to enroll in college at Northwestern Oklahoma State University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in math education and was a four-year letter winner in baseball, basketball, and football. It was there he met Ginny who was from the small town of Freedom, OK. After starting his teaching and coaching career in Jet, OK and receiving a Master’s degree at Phillips University, he was hired as the principal of Lake Geneva High School in 1957. One year later he became the first Badger High Principal and served in that position until 1972 when he was selected to be Superintendent of Schools for both the Badger High and Lake Geneva School Districts, a position he held until his retirement in 1986.
Besides serving as an educational leader, Karl was very active in a variety of community, service, and athletic activities. For years he served on the Police & Fire Commission, the Library Board, Lions Club, to name a few. He has been a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church since 1957 and served many terms on the Church Council. When first moving to the community, he played on the local town baseball team, bowled at Claire Lanes on a team sponsored by Ed Harris, and later took up the game of golf which he grew to love. Karl not only played in numerous golf groups, but he and Ginny enjoyed many golf outings around Wisconsin with dear friends. He was most proud of the year he won the Hillmoor Club Championship in a playoff defeating his good friend, Doug Gerber.
Hunting, fishing, and traveling to the family cabin in Colorado were also Karl’s passions. He seemed to never miss a pheasant or duck that flew by. One of his prize possessions was a Tiger Muskie, caught at Crescent Lake near Rhinelander, netted by his fishing buddy, Bob Petranek; somehow he convinced Ginny to hang the mount of that muskie on the living room wall in their small home on Clover Street.
Karl and Virginia cherished gatherings with both the Wisconsin and Oklahoma families. Many retirement winters were spent playing golf and camping at the San Antonio, TX KOA. They enjoyed their many friends in Lake Geneva and loved seeing them at Friday night fish fries, faculty get-togethers and neighborhood parties. The grandchildren loved spending time with their Grandpa. He taught them important life skills such as how to tell a story, hook a trout, play cribbage, complete crossword puzzles, and catch and throw a baseball.
A memorial service will be held on May 28th, 2022 at 12:00pm at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lake Geneva. Visitation will be held from 10:00am till the time of service at the church.
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In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made in Karl’s name to the Badger High School Endowment Fund or Immanuel Lutheran Church. Links have been provided below.
Derrick Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the Reinke Family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Karl Reinke, please visit our floral store.
Immanuel Lutheran Church
700 North Bloomfield Road, Lake Geneva WI 53147
Badger High School Scholarship Donation Attn: Marie Collins
220 East South Street, Lake Geneva WI 53147