William John Kowalke Sr. (80) of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin passed away peacefully on Thursday, November 30, 2023 after a battle with lymphoma and Parkinson’s Disease.
William (Bill) was born to Willard and Margaret Kowalke on August 26, 1943, in Chicago, IL. At the age of 18 Bill began his elevator career at Reliance Elevator in Chicago. He eventually came to own Lakeland Elevator in Waukegan and worked until he retired at age 70. Bill was always very mechanical. He mounted a lawn mower motor on his bicycle when he was a boy to make delivering papers easier. He was always fascinated with cars and could often be found with his head under the hood. When he was young, he would sit on his front porch teaching his cousin the model of each as they drove past the house. As much as he enjoyed his fast cars and boats, he was happiest flying his plane or helicopter. He even had opportunities to fly for a Milwaukee news channel. He volunteered many hours as a ski boat driver with the Aquanut Ski Show in Twin Lakes. He spent many seasons pulling both the junior and senior teams and especially enjoyed the ballet lines and pyramids.
Bill was a master of Dad jokes with an amazing wit and sense of humor. He would go to a doctor’s appointment and tell them he was there for his “dis-appointment.” He said that he wrote a book called, “Learn How to Walk in 5 Easy Steps.” Bill loved eating and was convinced that dessert should be eaten first. He needed a t-shirt that said, “I came for the food.”
Bill is survived by his son William (Janine) Kowalke and daughter Deborah (Lee) Rumpel; his 5 grandchildren, Brandon Kowalke, Ian Rumpel, Graham Kowalke, Samuel and Joseph Rumpel; his 5 great-grandchildren, Asher, Verity, Primrose, Margot, and Beatrix; and his siblings Robert Kowalke, Midge (Dennis) Harrington, Donna Forbes, and Lisa (Dan) Pietrusiewicz. Survivors also include stepchildren and step grandchildren along with nieces and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his first wife, Marjorie Taylor, his second wife, Peggy Wood-Kowalke and his parents, Willard and Margaret Kowalke.
A memorial service will be held at Lakeland Church in Gurnee at 440 Hunt Club Rd, Gurnee, IL on Wednesday, December 6, at 5 pm.