Former Vilas County Board member John Annin of Land O’ Lakes has died at 82.
Annin served on the Vilas County Board in the mid-2000s, and was one of several outspoken board members who pushed for a full-time aquatic invasive species coordinator for the county. In November 2007 the board voted unanimously to fund that position full-time, a vote that “was met with cheers and applause from the large crowd of residents packed inside Lincoln town hall in Eagle River,” according to The Lakeland Times.
Annin also provided valuable input to the current Vilas County Land and Water Resource Management Plan, which will remain in effect until 2024. Throughout the 2000s he was actively involved in the Wisconsin Lake Leaders program as well.
Annin’s connection to Vilas County dates back to 1948 when his father, Gerald E. Annin, purchased a beautiful six-acre point on Black Oak Lake, one of the clearest lakes in the state.
After retiring to that property in 1999, Annin devoted countless hours to Black Oak’s ecology. He helped enroll the lake in the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network, spearheaded the creation of a Lake Management Plan, helped raise nearly $100,000 in state grants and other funds, and helped create a rapid-response program to confront potential invasive species introductions.
“John tirelessly and patiently did more for the ecology of Black Oak than just about anyone,” said Walt Bates, former president of the Black Oak Lake riparian association, and a close friend. “He has left an important legacy of service and environmental stewardship to the children and grandchildren of property owners up and down the shoreline of this lake.”
John Arthur Annin was born in Kansas City, Mo. on November 30, 1938 and moved to Madison, Wis. shortly thereafter. He was the only son of Gerald E. and Josephine D. Annin.
A graduate of Madison West High School, Annin double-majored in Mechanical Engineering and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Wisconsin. After graduation, he embarked on a highly successful career in the agricultural equipment manufacturing industry, that included navigating the farm crisis of the 1980s.
During three decades in the farm machinery industry in Minnesota and Iowa, Annin rose from the drafting board to the position of CEO for more than one company.
Throughout his career, Annin was actively involved in the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association, and the Equipment Manufacturers Institute. In 1995 he was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering.
Annin is survived by his wife of 61 years, Marilyn Annin, three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the Black Oak Lake Preservation Foundation, P.O. Box 151, Land O’ Lakes, Wis. 54540.
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