Kenneth Rohlk

Kenneth A. Rohlk, 89, of Aurelia died on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at MercyOne Medical Center in Sioux City. 

Private graveside services will be held in Holstein Cemetery. Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake was in charge of the arrangements.

He was born May 21, 1931, at home on a farm north of Holstein, one of 12 children of John and Lillie (Wiese) Rohlk.

Kennie started his education in Quimby until 1938 when his family moved to a farm north of Alta. He continued his education at Highview Consolidated School until 1945 when the family moved again to the Vilas farm north of Storm Lake. He graduated from Storm Lake High School in 1950.

Kennie was united in marriage to Catherine Stereo on Aug. 4, 1951. On Nov. 6, 1951, Kennie enlisted in the United States Army and was deployed to serve during the Korean War in 1952. He was the youngest tank commander in the 23rd Infantry Regiment Tank Company and spent 10 months on the front lines. During night patrol Kennie was shot three times by a sniper. He received medical care and returned to the front lines. For his sacrifice, Kennie was awarded a Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged on Aug. 7, 1953 but continued to serve his country in the Army Reserves until 1966. He is quoted as saying “This is the greatest country ever.  There is nothing like it. We should be thankful for what we have.”

Upon returning to Storm Lake, Kennie became partners in the Paul Park Construction Company where he began a 60+ year career that continued until the time of his death. He was responsible for building many notable landmarks throughout Northwest Iowa, but he was always grateful that Harry Schaller at Citizens Bank took a chance on him so he could get his start to bid and construct the Spencer Hospital. Kennie was the contractor on many projects including the Siebens Fieldhouse, Siebens Forum and Schaller Chapel on the campus of Buena Vista University, First Federal Bank, Security Bank, Commercial Bank, and the Storm Lake Public Library. Kennie was most proud of his work on the Cherokee County Courthouse and the clock tower at Lakeside Presbyterian Church. He thoroughly enjoyed overcoming the technical challenges of each project.

Kennie and Janice (Conover) were married in 1992 at Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Storm Lake. Together they enjoyed everything farm life had to offer. Kennie’s love of the farm developed from a hobby into a second career. The farm was another venue for him to pursue his passions for construction, nature, conservation and the love of learning. Kennie was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting trips to Montana and Ontario, waterfowl hunting through the years with his brother Johnnie, and pheasant, quail and deer hunting trips to southern Iowa at Larry and Phyllis’ farm. All together Kennie was passionate about wildlife. His passions led him to be a member of many professional organizations and clubs throughout his lifetime. He was an active member for many years in Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever and was proud of the conservation efforts and awards he received for his work at the Hanover farm. For many years Kennie also served as a layman on the judicial nominating commission in the State of Iowa. He always said it was his goal once getting out of the service to accomplish something every day; he lived up to that promise and set an example for those that knew him.

Family was important to Kennie and he treasured spending time on the sidelines of his grandchildren’s sporting events and having them join him in farming activities. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife Janice Rohlk of Aurelia; children: Ryan (Patty) Rohlk of West Okoboji; Tammi (Jeff) Galvin of Lincoln, Neb.; grandchildren: Maggie and Olivia Rohlk, Joe (Meagan) Johnston, Nick (Mallory) Johnston, and Quinn and Abbie Galvin; brothers: John Rohlk and Gary Rohlk; sisters: Joelle (Branch) VerHoef, Phyllis (Larry) Craig, Jane (Rich) Adams; many nieces; nephews; extended family and friends.

Kennie was preceded in death by his parents John and Lillie Rohlk; brothers: Eldon (Norma) Rohlk, Robert (Arlene) Rohlk, James Rohlk; sisters: Orpha (Norval) Binder, Zetta (Arnie) Neilsen, Jeanette (Frank) Trimble; sisters-in-law: Connie Rohlk and Gail Rohlk.

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