Bald Facts 03/02/11
Doctor's offices are small worlds.
Recently, I was at the doctor's office waiting my turn. There was just one other man in the waiting room and I looked him over and he reciprocated.
He said to me, "I must know you. I have seen you before."
I said to him I also thought he looked familiar and then it dawned on me, it was Sheriff Ray Klink. I identified myself and he said, "You are the historian of Sussex and I love to read your Bald Facts."
Small world I thought.
Ray Klink, 79, was the longest-serving Waukesha County Sheriff after never losing an election. If he had opposition it was about as one-sided as a firing squad. He retired in 1992 and recently passed away in January.
Ray in his retirement was an active participant with the Butler Historical Society. I ran into him there several times and we talked about that and his youth participation in Land O' Lakes Baseball. He was one of several Klinks who played the sport and was inducted into the LOL Old Timers Baseball Hall of Fame. He was often called by commissioner Bobby Groth to give talks at the annual LOL awards banquet and the speeches were always well-received.
A little-known sidelight of Ray was his involvement in youth sports. We talked about that as we waited for the doctor's call that day. Our agreement was "Kids sports are multi-million dollar business today. If you don't get started at fourth grade or so, you never play in high school."
We agreed that with the system in place today there is no place for late bloomers. Start early or forget it.
May Ray rest in peace
Ray Klink, longtime sheriff, dies at 79
Klink had passion for Sheriff's Department
Former Waukesha County Sheriff Raymond Klink, who was a presence with the department for decades, died Monday evening at the age of 79.
Klink, a native of North Lake, was remembered as being a sociable, likable, outgoing man who had a passion for law enforcement and the outdoors.
Klink served as sheriff from 1979 to January 1992. He was the longest-serving sheriff in the department's history.
"He was a wonderful guy," recalled his younger brother Pat Klink. His brother was an avid sportsman, in particular enjoying fishing and baseball.
"We did a lot of fishing," Pat Klink said, adding they didn't fish as much while his brother was sheriff.
"He liked sports. He was a great baseball player," Pat Klink said.
Ray Klink played for numerous Land O' Lakes clubs, including Lannon, Hartland, Stone Bank and North Lake. In 1979, he was inducted into the LOL Hall of Fame as a North Lake player.
In fact, Ray Klink was such a good ballplayer he had a tryout with the Boston Braves, Pat Klink said. He didn't get a shot at the majors though. "He was too young," Pat Klink said.
Ray Klink served in the U.S. Army and joined the Sheriff's Department as a deputy in 1958. He later became head of the Juvenile and Drug Enforcement Division and earned degrees from Waukesha County Technical Institute and Milton College in criminal justice.
Sheriff Dan Trawicki knew Klink for many years, both attending St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Brookfield. Klink was active in the parish and was part of a group that started the athletic association there. He coached baseball and basketball for many years in the 1960s.
Klink hired Trawicki as a deputy in 1979.
"He was a great leader, a good-hearted man," said Trawicki.
Trawicki said Klink was instrumental in rewriting the juvenile code in the 1970s and also started the department's canine unit. The D.A.R.E. program was also initiated under his watch.
"Ray was a lover of dogs and believed they could be used in law enforcement," Trawicki said.
Although the County Board did not want to fund such a program, that did not deter Trawicki's former boss.
"Ray went out and raised $60,000 in the business community to get the program started," said Trawicki, who helped coordinate the effort in the mid-1980s.
"Even to this day Ray has been involved in raising funds for the canine unit. He did so right up until the time of his death," Trawicki said.
Trawicki said Klink had a passion for the Sheriff's Department and the outdoors. Klink enjoyed hunting, fishing and social events, Trawicki said. Klink also enjoyed golf.
"He was outgoing with his employees and well-respected. He was a great guy," said Trawicki.
Klink is survived by his wife, Margaret; daughter Robin (Brian) Higgins and granddaughters Emily Margaret and Molly Rae; brother Pat (Jan) Klink; sisters-in-law Judy Klink, Sue Klink, Joyce Armstrong; niece Marge (Doug Teisi); other family and friends; and his dog Star.
He served on the Board of Trustees for Milton College, and during his time as sheriff also served as emergency government coordinator for the state of Wisconsin.
Visitation will be from 9 until the 11:30 a.m. memorial Mass on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at St. Dominic's, 18255 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield. Memorials are suggested to the Girl Scouts Wisconsin Southeast - Chinook Program Center.