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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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August 7, 2020

6/19/2020 7:29:00 AM
Ken Kropidlowski

Ken Kropidlowski, age 85, died peacefully in his sleep Thursday, June 11, 2020. Ken was born Feb. 1, 1935, in Amherst, to Irene and Henry Kropidlowski. He loved fishing and family more than anything else in the world. He had a small repertoire of jokes and felt confident enough in them to tell them over and over again. Every story, instruction or direction included a peppering of off-color words designed to make the person on the receiving end blush, giggle or both. When it came to cursing, he had no peers.

Ken graduated from PJ Jacobs High School in Stevens Point and served in the Army. After being set up on a blind date by friends, he married his soulmate, Yvonne (LeMay) and moved to Rhinelander. They shared many happy years together until her passing in 2008. Ken spent most of his career in charge of maintenance at the Rhinelander Medical Center. His ability to fix, make or jury-rig anything broken left engineers with advanced degrees in awe.

Kenny was known by many, loved by most. He gave every person the benefit of the doubt in all situations but he gave it only once. If he wasn't on the water or working in his shop, he was usually shopping at Trig's and Walmart. He went partially for supplies but mostly for the audiences. Countless jokes (few of which were clean) were test driven daily. If you saw a small crowd gathered at either place, you can bet Kenny was holding court. Lots of laughs were had, the loudest were usually his.

Ken's real passion was life on the lake. He has forgotten more about fishing than most of us will ever even know. For Ken, the only thing better than fishing was the exaggerated stories that accompanied the day's catch. He also felt compelled to share his knowledge of fishing with anyone just not the location.

Ken is survived by his son Jan (Carol) Kropidlowski and his son Jeff Kropidlowski, both of Rhinelander; his son Keith Donavan of Whitefish Bay; grandchildren: Melissa (Braden) Bayne-Allison, Jared (Natalie) Kropidlowski, Callie, Joseph and Madeline Donavan, Shawn, Devin, Aiden and Elliott Kropidlowski; three great-grandchildren as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife Yvonne, his parents Henry and Irene Kropidlowski of Stevens Point; his brother James (Norma) Kropidlowski and sister Patricia (Pat) O'Keefe, both of Stevens Point. There will be a memorial/celebration of life later this summer. Until then, friends and family are encouraged to sign the guestbook, leave a photo or an online condolence at

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 6, 2020
Article comment by: wILLIAM RODD


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