MADISON - Milton Reinke died peacefully at Agrace HospiceCare on July 29, 2013 at age 90, a mere blink of an eye in the 13.7 billion year old universe. He was born on November 7, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Charles Albert and Betty Ann (Krauss) Reinke. Milt recognized his insignificance as merely one of seven billion that now occupy earth - a good ego equalizer.
During WWII, Milt was a pilot in a four engine B-24 bomber shot down over Germany and spent 1-Â½ years as a POW. After the war, he married his girlfriend from Kindergarten, Nancy Jane (Shedd) on December 18, 1945. They both graduated from the University of Michigan.
Milt worked 38 years for DNR in field supervisor and administrative positions throughout Wisconsin. He served as Director of State Parks and Recreation for three years and Chief State Forester for 14 years prior to his retirement in 1986. He loved his work, as so many others did during that era. He visited ten European countries to enhance his forestry knowledge and obtain new forestry ideas and methods, often leading group of woodland owners and foresters. None of his travels was ever on state expense or time. Milton received many awards including induction into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame and elected Fellow in the Society of American Foresters.
Milt is survived by his son, Dean (Kathy) Reinke and son-in-law Dan Walker; his grandchildren Amy (Andrew) Kelm, San Carlos, CA, Jennifer (Scot) Latek, Madison and Heather Reinke, Aurora, IL; great grandchildren Jackson and Ainsley Kelm and Sydney and Harrison Latek. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Nancy Jane Reinke and daughter, Nancy Susan Walker.
To protect friends against verbose pontification, there will be no visitation or services. A gathering is planned at Sagittarius, the Black Hole in the center of our galaxy. Turn right and go 27,000 light years. Don't text en route to avoid thousands of stars. Buy travel insurance. Hope you can make it! Steer clear of the 17 trillion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. See ya!
Milt's family respected his wishes and printed his obituary in its entirety as he wrote it. His family would like to thank Agrace HospiceCare, Oakwood and UW Hospital staff for his care in his final 13 days of life and allowing him to die with grace and dignity of which he was so adamant. Memorial contributions may be made to Agrace HospiceCare Fitchburg, WI in Milton Reinke's name.
Milt or Bumpa as so many family affectionately called him will remain in our hearts forever. Thank you for showing us the beauty of the trees, flowers and sharing your love of flying. We will uphold your family traditions most especially Sunday night dinners when you told so many stories from your life.
You will be missed! We love you, Dad & Bumpa!
Milton and his wife Nacy were life long friends and buddies who I first became acquainted with in grade school (College Hill, Cincinnati). He and I took many driving trips together, including one to Fort Ticonderoga, NY. There, we appropriated a large cannonball that we took back to Cincinnati and eventually contributed to the
World War II scrap drive.
While we kept in touch with Milton with numerous phone calls over the years, Lorlee's and my last phone call with him was on his 90th birthday in November of 2012. and lasted over an hour. Those phone calls will be missed.
Milton and Nancy will always be remembered for the great times we had together and as loyal friends. The same can be said for his brother, Fred.
In recognition of Milton's desire to enter the center of our galaxy, we are making a memeorial contribution to one of our favorite organizations, The Planetary Society, whose mission is to "create a better future by exploring other worlds and understanding our own". We would not be surprised to get a phone call from outer space one of these days (we will be listening)).
At one of the DNR retiree summer picnics, I talked to Milt and told him I had learned a lot from him, particularly his lectures on the value of management plans. I told him I was preparing a management plan for our woodlands, and that contrary to what he thought at the time, I was paying attention to what he said back then. There were no compliments on managing our woodlands for the future, as I expected, but instead his reply was "Then you were the only one who ever listened to me. Nobody else did". You could always count on him for a fast, off the cuff and completely spontaneous response that would take you back a step or two. I only wished I could have gone with him on one of his trips to the Black Forest in Germany.
Du Wayne Frederick Gebken
Milt (I called him Uncle Milty) showed me the world by letting me join in on trips to Germany and Alaska. I will always remember Milt's engaging smile, entertaining story (or two or three), and talking about cars, flying, forestry and life. Milt was always the gentleman and how he lived life is what we should all strive to achieve. Milt's last words here made me laugh and I believe that would have made Milt smile.
Milton was, as the Reader's Digest would say, a truly unforgettable character. He was a tremendously loyal person and extremely hard worker. He not only was a proud representative of the forestry profession but devoted to assure that everything he did as a forester was scientifically and socially correct. He established friendships all over the world, especially with his good friend in Germany. As a DNR lawyer that worked with Milton for so many years, I cherish the memories of working together. In later years, we were fortunate to venture up to Chippewa County with his colleagues to visit the area where he started his career with the DNR.
Milton, you will be missed by me and the many, many others that were fortunate enough to work with you. Your sense of humor and extensive knowledge will not be matched.
In his retirement, we enjoyed years of fellowship with Milton and Nancy, in the stock club. Many great times were had at those meetings.
Goodby dear Friend.
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