Zaeske, Karl Robert
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Jul. 22, 1932 - Aug. 24, 2014
Karl Robert Zaeske passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with renal cell cancer on August 24, 2014 at Tidewell Hospice House in Sarasota, Florida. Cremation has been accorded and a memorial service in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be held at a later date. Current arrangements are being handled by Toale Brothers Funeral Home in Florida.
Karl was born in the Town of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin on July 22, 1932 to Ernst F.W. and Dorothy Louise (Koch) Zaeske. After graduating from Shorewood High School in 1950, Karl held a variety of jobs prior to attending college. One of his favorites was as a swim pool lifeguard for the town of Mequon. This led to many future years of swimming at Marquette University, teaching his children and grandchildren to swim, and always making sure he had a pool in every place he lived. Karl graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1950 with a BS in Business and continued his studies at Marquette towards an M.B.A. He also studied at Columbia University in 1976 and completed the Executive Business Program at the University of Iowa in 1991.
Karl took pride in the time he spent in 1954-1961 with the USMC, achieving 1st Lt. in 1956. During his days in the Marines he met the love of his life, Jeanette M. Johnson. They were married in South Carolina in 1957 and celebrated their 57th anniversary on the day of his passing. Karl and Jeanette lived in a variety of places as he changed employers or positions. Most of their years were spent in the Milwaukee area, raising their three children in Brown Deer, Wisconsin while he worked for A.C. Electronics, Delco and GMC as an Accountant, Cost Analyst, and Manager of Market Research for the Aerospace industry, specifically with the B-52 and Titan Missile programs. Karl was also elected to two terms as a Trustee for the Village of Brown Deer during this time in Milwaukee. GMC then moved he and his family to Santa Barbara, California, where they fell in love with the West Coast. Karl's expertise in aerospace and economics moved him back to the Midwest, where he spent 25 years at Rockwell Collins as a Manager of Economics and Market Research Analysis in multiple business lines until retiring in 1997. His expertise in the aerospace industry markets earned him national respect and a seat on and then Chair of the National Transportation Research Board for aerospace related activities. He also served two terms on the Board of Collins Credit Union.
Upon retirement Karl and Jeanette moved to Sarasota, Florida where he spent the next 17 years enjoying gardening, gatherings with friends and business clubs, working out at the gym, reading Westerns, and fishing.
Jeanette survives Karl, along with his three children: Ross Zaeske (Melissa), Dana Nietert (Mark), Cheryl VanDonslear (David); two of his brothers, Frederick Zaeske (Jane), Alan Zaeske (DeAnne), and one sister-in-law, Carol Rowe Zaeske; several grandchildren, Matt, Karl Robert II, and Stevie Zaeske; Ryne, Travis and Alanna Nietert; Jenna and Luke VanDonslear; and three step-grandchildren, Gage, Siera and Toni Ferreira O'Donnell. Karl is also survived by many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, co-workers and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Kurt Zaeske, and his sister Dorothy Zaeske.
Karl lived his life with the highest level of integrity and loyalty to those people he loved and respected. He was hardly a one to sit still and take a breather. He enjoyed making those with him 'think' about everything around them just a little bit more; continually challenging and stretching his and their minds and opinions. For always being 'that guy' who liked to shake the cage a little bit, we all are praying that he is finally at rest with the Lord.
Published in Herald Tribune from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 2014