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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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March 29, 2023

1/13/2023 5:29:00 AM
Dennis John Kosloski

Dennis "Koz" Kosloski was a life-long learner, teacher, coach, musician, athlete, sailor and camper. He was a devoted husband, a loving father and grandfather, a role model to many, and sometimes even a carpenter, artist, inventor, referee/umpire, dance instructor, and software designer. On Jan. 3, 2023, Dennis passed peacefully, surrounded by family, after a short struggle with an aggressive lymphoma.

Born and raised in Rhinelander, by his parents Victor and Hester (Haney) Kosloski, Dennis' childhood cultivated his passions for sports, music, and the Northwoods. He played hockey in the park, shot his .22 down by the river, and learned baseball from his father who had played professionally. At Rhinelander Union High School, Dennis competed for four years in football and wrestling, in which he earned two conference championships and placed twice in the state tournament. After graduation, he attended Wisconsin State University-Superior, where he continued to wrestle, earning three conference titles and wrestling twice at nationals. College is also where he met Alice (Riggle), his wife of 51 years - playing clarinet together in the band, or playing cards in the student union, depending which one of them you asked. Dennis earned a B.S. in Physical Education on the morning of May 29, 1971, and married Alice later that afternoon. They moved to Manitowoc the next fall - the perfect place to teach, coach, and sail on Lake Michigan.

His entire 40-year teaching career was within the Manitowoc Public School District, as was the majority of his coaching career. He served as head wrestling coach at Lincoln High School for 21 seasons, holding the same role for shorter periods at Lakeland University and Mishicot High School. His teams' results reflected his efforts, and he was inducted into the George Martin Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2014. He also spent many years on Lincoln's football coaching staff as well as coaching freshman football and golf at both Washington and Wilson Junior Highs. In 2005, Dennis was enshrined in the Lakeshore All Sports Hall of Fame. An avid musician, he played for 40 years with the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble as first chair clarinet and concert master. He later taught himself to play the guitar and banjo and also picked up saxophone and harmonica. He played each of his instruments in several other community groups, including the Mystic Moods at the Manitowoc Senior Center. Occasional solo gigs throughout the lakeshore area and in Eagle River provided opportunities to play all his instruments and even sing.

Dennis also touched many lives at Camp Menominee for Boys in Eagle River where he worked first as counselor and then as waterfront director. The face of the waterfront for 42 years, he taught hundreds of campers to swim, sail, canoe, and water ski; after 20 years, the bath house was affectionately adorned with a new wooden sign: "Koz's House." Koz's Campfire, where his one-man band performed folk songs from his big white binder, was an event that many looked forward to each summer.

Dennis dearly loved Alice and his four children, Jennifer, Emily, Allyson and Michael. He openly proclaimed his love for Alice (his favorite dance partner), even as he was being scolded for watching too much football, buying a new "toy," or dumping his camp stuff in the living room. His children attribute their love of performing, music, teaching, sports and competition, camping and the outdoors, trying new things, and patience, in part, to their dad. Dennis' nine grandchildren will greatly miss the presence of their fun-loving grandpa on the annual summer cross-country trip, where he was known to drive up with a trailer piled high with bikes, kayaks, fishing poles, archery gear, and water toys.

Dennis/Koz will be missed greatly by his family, friends, and the countless students, athletes, campers, and fellow musicians whom he impacted. It was his wish, however, that those who survive him celebrate his life rather than mourn. Remember Dennis - a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend-each time you play music, dance, compete, and spend time outdoors. Share your gifts, and enjoy life fully.

Dennis is survived by Alice (Riggle) Kosloski; Jennifer Kosloski (Stephen Herrick) and Meredith, Hazel, and Veronica; Emily Kosloski (Padraic Duffy) and Frederick and Clara; Allyson (Jeffrey) Lehrman and Madelyn, Ian, and Stella; Michael (Brittany) Kosloski and Calder. Dennis is also survived by his brother Timothy Kosloski (Susan Pattinson) and nephew William (Cearra) Kosloski. He was preceded in death by his parents, parents-in-law (Arma and Harriet Riggle), and siblings-in-law.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023 at First Lutheran Church, 521 North 8th Street, Manitowoc. Rev. Andy Wendle will officiate with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship is being established in Dennis' name.

The Lakeshore Family Funeral Homes, Reinbold & Pfeffer Family Funeral Home, Manitowoc location is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2023
Article comment by: Craig Strid

Many good memories of the Southside kids. Dennis lived in the upstairs across from the Daniels lot where we
gathered to play football. His neighbors Welk and Prosser joined in. Dennis provided music for our last High School reunion. He was amazing.
My prayers and condolences for his family.
Dennis be with God
Craig Strid

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