Obituary of Joachim Ernst Willi Zenk
Joachim (Joe) Ernst Willi Zenk, 83, passed away peacefully on February 11th at home in Orono, Maine. Joe was born on September 6th, 1939, to Ernst Zenk and Ilse Strosin Zenk in the war-torn Baltic city of Stettin, Germany- now Szeszcin, Poland. His childhood was occupied with surviving the domineering and horrifying regimes that pushed his family to migrate through Europe and then immigrate to the United States as farm workers. When he was a teenager his family found a home in West Bend, Wisconsin where he and his sisters could attend schools, work, and make friends. He graduated from UWMadison with degrees in English Literature and History, then from UWMilwaukee with an advanced degree in History.
He was thoughtful, playful and athletic, and enjoyed the reciprocity of teaching, debate, gymnastics, tennis, and skiing. He believed in the beauty of nature and in giving to others through concern and physical work. As an adult he managed the feelings of fear and responsibility he carried as a war refugee by reading about politics and considering others’ experiences. Acts of kindness in his memory may be done anytime, anywhere.
Joe is survived by Jane, his wife of 59 years (they met skiing); his daughter Martha, her spouse Andrea and their child River; his son Carl’s children: William and his wife Jocelyn, and Laura and Jackson and their mother Sara; his daughter-in-law Becca and her daughters Hannah and Allie; his brother-in-law Carl Enderstein and his son Christoph; his sister Barbara Palermo and her daughters Danya and Shiri; his brother-in-law John Rosenwald, his wife Ann Arbor and their daughter Heidi.
He is preceded in death by his sister Marianne Enderstein and her son Michael, and by his own son, Carl Zenk.
His favorite activity may have been shoveling snow, and during his last shoveling session he was full of advice: to lure danger and then step out of its way, to playfully obey gravity, and to use the right tool. He was very loved and is already missed.
A service will be held in a forest in spring–after mud season. Details to come.