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John Hosmanek (Kusd Superintendent 1979-1989)

John Joseph Hosmanek, 94, died peacefully at home, on January 21, 2021, after taking his daily neighborhood stroll.  He was three days shy of his 95th birthday.

John was born in the Carrollville neighborhood of OakCreek, WI on January 24, 1926, to the late Josef and Susanna (Hruso)  Hosmanek, hardworking immigrants from Slovakia.

His youth was spent exploring the open fields and Lake Michigan shore, which surrounded his family farm, and instilled in him an appreciation for, and lifelong love of nature, a love he passed on to his children and grandchildren.

At the age of 17, upon his graduation from South Milwaukee High School, John joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the First Marine Air Wing on the Solomon Islands, Philippine Islands, Okinawa and China. Upon his honorable discharge in 1946 as a Staff Sergeant, he enrolled at the Milwaukee State Teachers College, attending under the G.I. Bill.  On August 28, 1948, he married his high school classmate, Angeline Wolsey. They enjoyed 57 years of marriage, until her death on March 26, 2005.

In 1950, upon his graduation from the State Teachers College, he joined Angeline in Sheboygan, WI where he taught History and English at Southside Junior High School.  In 1952, John was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship, which took him to New York City and Washington, D.C. to study the relationship between the United Nations and the U.S. Congress.  John earned his Master’s Degree from Marquette University in 1955 and was named Assistant Principal at Southside Junior High School in 1956.

In 1960, upon the recommendation of his friend and former Sheboygan neighbor, Otto Huettner, John and Angeline moved, with their young family, to Kenosha.  John began his career in Kenosha as an Assistant Principal at Lincoln Junior High, under the watchful eye of Principal Florence Donnelly.

In 1962, John was named Principal of the newly built Lance Junior High School.  In 1966, he became Principal at Tremper High School.  He left Tremper in 1970 to serve as Assistant Superintendent.  In 1975, John earned a Doctorate of Education degree from Marquette University.  He served as Superintendent of the Kenosha Unified School District from 1979 to 1989.

John received numerous awards and recognition for his work as an educator and served on many local, regional and state boards.  He was President of Urban League of Kenosha, President of the Rotary Club, President of the Friends of the Museum and served as chairman of the VFW Voice of Democracy competition. He also served as President of the Kenosha County Historical Society and the Wisconsin Slovak Historical Society, where he was the newsletter editor for many years.  A letter he wrote to Lee Iacoca, upon the announcement the Kenosha Chrysler Plant would close, initiated the establishment of the Chrysler Trust, which provided assistance for educational pursuits of Chrysler employees and their families.  In addition, he co-taught school business management classes at the Marquette University and Carthage College.

Upon his retirement he traveled often, making many trips to eastern Europe with his wife, children, and grandchildren. He enjoyed a last memorable trip to Slovakia with his daughter when he was 88.

John enjoyed gardening, photography, playing Scrabble, and attending Wilmot stock car races and Milwaukee Admirals hockey games.  For several years, he drove a stock car at Wilmot, maintained by the Tremper Car Club.  He won one checkered flag and was voted most popular driver at the track.  He was an avid reader, and his many books were a cherished possession.  As well, John was a local history buff, and in 2005, his book, “Kenosha, A Postcard History” was published by Arcadia Press.  He was a Green Bay Packers fan, as well as a Milwaukee Brewers fan.

Throughout his life, John maintained a happy, positive outlook, had an amusing story for every situation and always valued his time with family and friends.

John was preceded in death by his wife, parents, his brother Joseph Hosmanek, and sister Ann Narloch.  He is survived by his sister, Susan Zembrzuski of Port Washington, WI and his five children, Thomas of Blue Grass, IA, Joan (Henry) Turner of Kenosha, WI, Jane Kaiser of Franklin, WI, Mark of Muscatine, IA, and Jean of Kenosha, WI, as well as his two grandsons, Dr. Andrew (Elizabeth) Hosmanek of Wilton, IA, and John Kaiser of Franklin, WI, numerous nieces and nephews, and his longtime caregiver, Yuri.

A memorial mass and military honors, in celebration of John’s life will be planned for a future date when family and friends can gather safely.

In memory of John, and during this time of isolation, especially for the elderly, please reach out by phone or card to those you care about.  John was blessed to have so many people remember him in this way over the past year.  Further memorials to St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church (2223 51st St., Kenosha, WI 53140) or the Wisconsin Slovak Historical Society (P.O. Box 100164, Cudahy, WI 5311) would be gratefully accepted.