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William “Bob” R. Rathsack PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Thursday, 12 October 2017 16:01

William “Bob” R. Rathsack was a businessman, teacher, and a friend to many.
    “He was a caring and compassionate person who was very willing to help anyone and was involved in everything,” his wife Fern said.
    Mr. Rathsack, 84, died Sunday, Oct. 8, at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton.
    He was born in Cloquet, Minn., on Feb 2, 1933 to Martha Tillman and was adopted by William and Julia Rathsack. They gave him the love, direction and life skills that made him the caring, successful, productive individual he became, his wife said.
    After high school, Mr. Rathsack graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and earned his master’s degree at UW-Milwaukee.
    He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
    On Dec. 22, 1962, he married Fern Kottke at Peace Lutheran Church in Rosendale. The couple settled in the area and Mr. Rothsack taught elementary school.  
    He became an administrator for different schools in the Burlington area before the couple moved in 1973 to Fredonia, where Mr. Rathsack began his career with the Northern Ozaukee School District.
    When Mr. Rathsack retired from education, he did not lose his interest in youths.  He served as a forensics judge, and was a member of the Feith Family YMCA, the Northern Ozaukee School Board and the Northern Ozaukee School District Scholarship Foundation.
    The flag was important to him as was evident with his involvement on the National Flag Day Board, where he served as chairman and a judge for the national essay contest. A highlight each year was reading the essays submitted by the students.
    “He was encouraged and his faith in youths was renewed as he read the words of support and pride expressed by the students as they addressed the theme ‘What the Flag Means to Me,’” his wife said. “He was really instrumental in getting national attention for Flag Day.”
    Mr. Rathsack was a Village of Fredonia trustee and served as president for a number of years.
    He was also a member of the Fredonia Lions Club, holding numerous offices, including president and secretary. He was recognized as a Melvin Jones Fellow and Knight of Sight.
    He was a member of the Fredonia American Legion Post 410, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5373 and Christ the King Lutheran Church in Port Washington, where he held many leadership positions.
    According to his wife, a major highlight of his life was taking a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to Washington D.C., in 2014.
    In the early 1980’s, Mr. Rathsack was dubbed the Sunrise Servant because he would get up at 5 a.m. on Thursdays for five years to go to St. James Church in Milwaukee and help prepare a warm meal for the “guests.”
    Mr. Rathsack and his wife enjoyed traveling, taking cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Panama and the Caribbean. Trips across Canada and Finland were also highlights. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, woodworking and vegetable gardening.
    Mr. Rathsack is survived by his wife Fern of Fredonia; daughter Beth (Jouko) Salko of Grafton; grandchildren Sofia and Gabriel Salko; sisters-in-law Cirena Lenz of Fairwater and Marie (Paul) Veleke of Ripon; sister Ellen Barth of Milwaukee; and brother Roger (Patricia) Finn of Portland, Texas.  
    He was preceded in death by his mother Martha Tillman; parents William and Julia Rathsack; parents-in-law Emil and Irene Kottke; sisters-in-law Audrey Kottke and Carol Kotte; brothers-in-law Keith Kottke and Winton Lenz; and granddaughter Faith Salko.
    A funeral will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, at Christ the King Lutheran Church, in Port Washington, followed by military honors. The Rev. Kelly Nieman-Anderson will preside.
    Visitation will be Sunday at the church from 3 p.m. until the service.
    Mr. Rathsack will be buried Monday, Oct. 16, at Estabrooks Cemetery in Fond du Lac.
    In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested.
    Eernisse Funeral Home in Port Washington is handling the arrangements.

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