Kenneth Carl Kolek, age 89, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at Three Oaks Health Center. Ken was born on September 5, 1931 in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. He was the oldest of five children born to Stanley and Hildred (Olson) Kolek. He graduated from Weyerhaeuser High School in 1949.
Ken joined the United States Air Force and proudly served his country from 1951 to 1955. He served most of his military service stationed at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska during the Korean War.
After his service, Ken enrolled at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. He married his high school classmate Margaret Abbie Anderson in 1958 and received his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Physical Education and Adaptive Ed. in 1960. Ken also completed a Master’s degree at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota in 1966. Ken was hired as Director of Elementary Physical Education for the Phillips, Wisconsin School District in 1960. He also coached football, track, and wrestling during his career.
In 1966, the Kolek family moved to Marshfield, Wisconsin where Ken taught for 24 years as an elementary school, physical education teacher. Ken started the wrestling program at the University of Wood County Extension and organized an elementary Track and Field Day for all the district schools. He was awarded Teacher of the Year in 1984. Ken retired in 1990, completing a 30-year teaching career. He continued to work part-time after retiring as a school bus driver and shuttle bus driver for the Marshfield Clinic.
Ken’s many hobbies and interests included: hunting, fishing, bowling, camping, skiing, golfing, and biking. Ken completed several 100 mile (Century) bike rides and especially enjoyed biking around Wisconsin with his family on many trips.
After Ken and Marge retired, they traveled frequently around the US. They spent a lot of time in Door County and volunteered to create and maintain the nature preserve at The Rushes on Kangaroo Lake. Ken and Marge are also long-time members of the Wesley United Methodist church in Marshfield and spent many years volunteering their time there.
Ken was an avid collector of old, logging memorabilia. He hosted classes about Wisconsin logging history in his home for local, 4th grade students. He also traveled to Oshkosh, WI and Greendale, WI as the guest speaker in his grandchildren’s classes to talk about his lumberjack artifacts, books, pictures and hand-carved figures.
Ken is survived by his wife of 62 years, Margaret Kolek; his three children; Susan (Sam) Rameshk, Nancy Sieber, Tom Kolek, and five grandchildren; Alysha, Kamron, and Jiaan Rameshk and Senna and Kirra Sieber. He is survived by a brother Donald (Sue) Kolek, sisters-in-law; Joyce Walker, Lois Poplawski, Mona Anderson, brother-in-law Roy Anderson, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Ken is preceded in death by his parents Stanley and Hildred Kolek, baby brother Dale, father and mother-in-law, Roy and Alice Anderson, sister and brother-in-law Donald and Joanne Locke, brother and sister-in-law Robert and Carol Kolek, and in-laws; Robert and Mary Burns, Tom Walker, Martin Anderson, Stanley Poplawski, and Marianne Anderson.
Funeral services will be held at 3 PM at Hansen-Schilling Funeral home, 1010 E. Veterans Parkway in Marshfield, WI on Saturday, September 26, 2020. Visitation will be from 1-3 pm with a memorial service following, officiated by Rev. Lourdes Magalhaes -Pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church. Refreshments and dessert will be available afterwards. For everyone’s safety, masks are required.
We would like to thank the staff at the Marshfield Respite Center at Wesley United Methodist Church, the staff at Three Oaks Health Services and the Heartland Hospice staff for the kind and loving care they provided.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Wesley United Methodist Church in Marshfield, WI or The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. https://alzfdn.org/
Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home is assisting the family with Funeral Arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.hansenschillingfuneralhome.com.
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