Robert Carl Mahnke
March 8, 1943 – March 17, 2013 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
After a short and rather one-sided battle with esophageal cancer, Robert Mahnke died on March 17, 2013. He is survived by his mother Florence, sister Suzanne, wife Pamela, sons Peter and John and grandsons Owen and Ryan.
Bob was a renaissance man of sorts. His medical history alone is more interesting than most people’s lives. He survived; being gored by a bull, 12 years on dialysis, a hip replacement, two kidney transplants and 63 days in intensive care for Aspergillosis.
However, illness did not define Bob, it was the remarkable life he lived. He was fiercely proud of his Yale degree and Milwaukee Country Day education and continued to read philosophy, religion, poetry, military history and fiction for the rest of his life. For work he spent his days outside, in all weather, ankle deep in manure as a livestock broker at the Milwaukee Stockyards where he ran John P Bruemmer & Sons. Outside of work, Bob’s main passion was racing sailboats. This hobby grew into helping run the Milwaukee Yacht Club where, over the years, he held every position on the board from Director to Commodore, but his chief focus was junior sailing and he spent years running the junior program and foundation. Bob had many other interests including; furniture making, wooden model building, gardening, bread baking and cooking.
But Bob will be best remembered for the impromptu ‘salons’ that seemed to spontaneously occur in his den. People just seemed to appear at his door to talk. Much bourbon drinking, pipe smoking, gossip and discussion flow around him. Generations of Milwaukeeans have spent countless hours with Bob and walked away mentored, enriched, angry, tipsy or bemused by his charm, intelligence and humor.
Bob will be missed by all, especially his family to whom he was devoted.