John H. Kafka passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November, 29, 2013, due complications from open heart surgery.
He was born on April 17, 1940 to Mathilda (Jorgensen) and Lawrence Kafka.
He attended Catholic Central High School and St. Norbert College, where he was class president for four years.
He was Fourth Degree Catholic Knight, an avid supporter of the local Lions Clubs, Rawide, and the Green Bay Packers, of which he was a former member of the Board of Directors.
John and his wife Ann, owned and operated Riverside Ballroom for 44 years. While the ballroom was his proudest achievement, during that time he participated in many ventures. These included The Forum, The Warehouse and Lusterock, to name a few. He was also a stellar salesman for Advance Mixer of Ft. Wayne, IN.
He showed his love of music by hosting "Riverside Presents." Shows were taped on Friday evenings and aired on Sunday mornings. He and Ann also co-hosted tours to Europe with the John Kafka All Star Bank for 14 years, including a trip to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
Some of the best bands in the country performed at Riverside Ballroom during his ownership. He as proud to have Lawrence Welk, Russ Morgan, Guy Lombardo and Jan Garber bring their orchestras to the ballroom to perform.
But John's favorite music was Polka music. One of his favorite bands was the Romy Gosz Orchestra, and sometimes sat in with them when they performed. He also enjoyed attending the All Saints picnics in Denmark to listen to the local bands perform.
John initiated a "Polka Day" at County Stadium (now Miller Park) in Milwaukee. He was co-chair of the 1st International Picnic Committee. The event was held behind Riverside Ballroom and later became known as Bayfest.
He developed many friendships and was well known for his story and joke telling. Any comment made would prompt a joke from John.
He will be fondly remembered by special friend Ken Tedford and his wife Kristi and their son Kenny, the present owners of Riverside Ballroom, and the entire staff at Riverside.
He will be deeply missed by his niece and caregiver BJ, her husband Bob, and their supportive family, godson Charlie, Beckie, Jason and Jessica.
John is survived by his ex-wife, Ann, the love of his life, daughter Annemarie and son John Henry. He is further survived by brothers and sisters, Norma Malewiski, Clayton, Clem (Terry) and Carol (Harry) Kreft.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Doris and her husband Gene Lodl, brother-in-law Ben Malewiski and sister-in-law Marcy Kafka.
Please remember the fun times and know that he lives on in our hearts and in his stories. He is at peace in the great Polka Palace in the sky.
Family and friends may visit at All Saints Catholic Church, Denmark, on Tuesday, December 3, from 3:00-4:45pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 5:00pm with Rev. Ron Colombo officiating. Burial in All Saints Cemetery, Denmark. Meal to follow services at Riverside Ballroom. Cotter Funeral Home of Denmark is assisting the family. Online condolences at www.cotterfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established.
Einprosit, Einprosit Der Gemutlichkeit! Zicke Zacke Zicke Zacke! Hoi Hoi Hoi - Prosit!!
Cotter Funeral Home
860 North Webster Avenue De Pere, WI 54115
Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, 2013