MADISON - Gene A. Thieleke, age 83, passed away on August 1, 2020 in Marion, IN. He was born and raised in Kiel, WI, Manitowoc County. He attended public schools in Kiel and graduated from Kiel High School in 1954. He was active in athletics, band, student government, and theater in his high school days. Following graduation from high school, Gene attended Lakeland College in Sheboygan, WI. He majored in chemistry and biology and was a 12-year letter winner participating in football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of the Lakeland College Athletic Hall of Fame. Gene continued his relationship with many Lakeland alumni and was active in numerous Lakeland events and committees.
Gene decided to become a teacher early on and became a chemistry and science teacher in Oostburg, WI in 1958. He also was a high school basketball and baseball coach and was successful in both sports. He also assisted in football as an assistant football coach and was their athletic director. He became the high school principal after five years of teaching and stayed in the administrative field before becoming the high school principal at D.C. Everest High School, in Schofield, WI.
Gene then moved to Madison and while he was an administrator at West High School, he finished his doctorate in educational administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He previously received a master’s degree in administration at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
After three years in Madison, his family moved to Birmingham, MI. During his time in Michigan, he served as high school principal in Bloomfield Hills public schools and later as Assistant Superintendent in Royal Oak, MI. He then decided to return to Wisconsin and became the superintendent of schools in Middleton/Cross Plains Schools where he spent 12 years.
Following his retirement, he served in several interim superintendent positions in Highland and Randolph, WI. In his retirement, Gene and his wife Mary Jo traveled extensively in Hawaii and Hilton Head Island, SC. Often times they visited their children in Michigan, Indiana, and North Carolina. Gene was also an avid gardener and loved his pontoon boat on beautiful Lake Mendota in Madison.
Gene loved the Green Bay Packers having gone to see them in his early years, Milwaukee Brewers, and the University of Wisconsin Badger football team. Gene and Mary Jo had season tickets for years and enjoyed every game along with their friends who tailgated together for many years.
Gene is survived by his four sons, Gene of Richmond, MI, Greg of Rochester Hills, MI, Curt (Annette) of Swayzee, IN, and Mark of Richmond, VA. He is also survived by grandchildren, Careena, Tricia, Theresa, Molly, Allen, Nicholas; 8 great-grandchildren; and companion, Carol Cloutier.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Hildegarde (Hensel) Thieleke; wife, Mary Jo (Gross) Thieleke; and brother, Neil Thieleke.
In lieu of plants and flowers, a memorial scholarship fund has been established to honor a student from Lakeland College. Memorial donations honoring the life of Gene Thieleke may be made to: Lakeland College Advancement Office, W3718 South Drive, Plymouth, WI 53073.
A Celebration of Gene’s Life will take place in an outdoor setting from 3:00-6:00 p.m., with a service at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 5, 2020 at RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 2418 N. Sherman Ave., Madison. Due to current restrictions, guests will have the option to greet family outdoors or while remaining in their vehicles. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com.
Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
2418 N. Sherman Avenue
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