The family is planning to have a memorial service later this summer. A date or place has not been established at this time.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church 716 College Avenue Racine, WI 53403 or The West Racine Kiwanis Scholarship Fund 6553 Williamsburg Way Racine, WI 53406.
TUCSON, AZ: Lyle R. Kanetzke, age 94, passed away on January 6, 2019 at the Southern Arizona VA Hospital in Tucson joining his beloved wife of sixty years, Merilyn, in heaven. Lyle was the second son of Frederick and Martha (Kohlman) Kanetzke.
Lyle grew up in Racine, graduated from Washington Park High School and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for one year before joining the U.S. Army in 1943. He served as a gunner and Chief of Section in the field artillery in Europe. Lyle was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to the University of Wisconsin where he earned his Bachelors in Business Administration with Honors in 1949. Upon graduation he joined J. I. Case as a trainee.
Lyle married Merilyn R. Washburn on February 18, 1950 at First Presbyterian Church in Racine. Lyle’s career took him and Merilyn first to Michigan then Indiana. They returned to Racine in 1957 where they raised their three daughters; Barb, Sue and Jan. Lyle and Merilyn made Racine their home for almost fifty years before moving full-time to Tucson, AZ in 2005.
Lyle had an exceptional career with J. I. Case. From 1967 – 1970 he was General Manager of Sales and Marketing for the company’s construction equipment division. He then held a similar position for the company’s agricultural equipment division from 1970 – 1978. He was Vice President of Leasing and Rentals until 1983 when he retired at age 58 due to a severe hearing loss associated with his earlier military service.
Lyle was an active member of the Racine business community. He was a member of Kiwanis and the Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI). During his tenure as SMEI’s Racine chapter president, Lyle was instrumental in launching Junior Achievement (JA) in Racine. Lyle remained on JA’s board well into retirement. In 1975 SMEI voted him Outstanding Marketing Executive of the year.
Lyle was a man of strong faith. He and Merilyn were dedicated members of First Presbyterian Church in Racine where they both served as Sunday school teachers and members of the Elders’ Board. Lyle also served as a Trustee and a founder of the First Presbyterian Foundation that was established to help finance church expansion.
While career and community were important to Lyle, his greatest joy came from his family. He and Merilyn were proud of their three daughters and their families. One of his fondest memories was Christmas 1999 when the entire Kanetzke Klan – Lyle, Merilyn, 3 daughters, 3 sons-in-law and 8 grandchildren (ages 11-21) – took a week-long Western Caribbean cruise to celebrate Lyle and Merilyn’s upcoming 50th Wedding Anniversary. The logistics were challenging but the memories priceless. Lyle’s home was filled with numerous family mementoes and family photos.
Survivors include his three daughters, Barb (Keith) Kuehn of Vail, AZ, Sue (Paul) Charnon of Aurora, CO, and Jan (Bob) Wilhelm of Dublin, OH; eight grandchildren, Tim (Dhen) Kuehn of Noonan, GA, Jen (Loren) Meyer of Fort Worth, TX, Mike (Liz) Kuehn of Chandler, AZ, Becca (Justin) Faull of Aurora, CO, Jake (Jen) Kuehn of Coppell, TX, Stacey Wilhelm of Dublin, OH, Sarah (Matt) Wojtovich of Hoffman Estates, IL and Greg (Sara) Wilhelm of Bethel Park, PA; twelve great-grandchildren, Tyler Kuehn, Mason Kuehn, Ryan Meyer, Nixon Faull, Annabelle Kuehn, Davis Faull, Victoria Kuehn, Charlotte Wojtovich, Joshua Kuehn, Caleb Wilhelm, Eva Kuehn, and Penelope Wojtovich. Lyle was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Merilyn; three brothers, Jerry, Cliff and Fred; and infant great-granddaughter, Lillie Wojtovich.
A memorial service is being planned for this summer in Racine. Interment will be at West Lawn Memorial Park cemetery. Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home & Crematory in Racine is assisting the family with these arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church 716 College Avenue Racine, WI 53403 or The West Racine Kiwanis Scholarship Fund 6553 Williamsburg Way Racine, WI 53406. The family wishes to thank the staff at the Arizona Veterans Home-Tucson for their exceptional care.