Obituary: Russell “Skip” Kaeske

July 24, 1946 – Oct. 26, 2019

After a startling and swift encounter with cancer, ending in a draw, Russell “Skip” Kaeske, 73, died, each participant going in the opposite direction.

Skip was welcomed into the family of Louis and Ada (Froemming) Kaeske of Cedarburg. He attended school and graduated from Cedarburg High School in 1964. From a very early age, Skip knew he wanted to be a teacher. This led him to pursue a degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He used his talent and passion for educating others to teach in several schools in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) District. He retired as an English and social studies teacher from Fritsche Middle School in 2003.

It was at one of those MPS schools where he met his wife, Sue, after a group of fifth-grade students played matchmaker on the playground. Shortly after their first date, they were married on Nov. 29, 1974, and “the rest is history.” Skip began his adventure of parenthood on a cold January evening, and it was his best role to date! His daughters were his great loves, and he passionately followed their education, sports and activities.  

Skip had a talent for nurturing any person, pet or thing that came to his door. Many times, he was hesitant to allow them entry, especially the stray cats and racoons. Once they spent time on his lap, he was committed to loving them forever. He spent summers raising not only his own girls but often nieces, friends or anyone who would smell the Weber smoke and had an appetite. We will always remember his talent for hosting a gathering or mixing up an incredible old fashioned.

We all knew him from different chapters of his life: elementary school, high school, college, the basketball court, the baseball field, classroom, local and state school board, church board, ordained officiant, golf course, as a writer/poet (Piks), winery tour guide, pit-spit contest judge, county baseball league officer, and supporter, or anywhere people gathered.      

Throughout the worlds in which he moved, he maintained a moral compass that guided his life. If you knew Skip, you knew him as honest, loyal, ethical, welcoming, inclusive, thoughtful, creative, a thespian, well mannered, a public speaker, an enlightening teacher, the best grandpa, well read, hilarious, genuine, analytical, spiritual, a gracious host, an amazing sense of humor and a loving family member.

For all his life, Skip made connections with just about everyone. It shaped his personality and your experience when he met you. He remembered your name and knew your high school basketball coach or your cousin’s third grade teacher. Up until the end, he connected with everyone he encountered, including the EMTs who rushed him to the hospital. He had more contacts than AT&T and more jokes than Congress.

He is survived by his wife, Sue (Jarman) Manson-Kaeske; niece, Jennifer Blahnik (Robert Hawley); daughters, Chelsea (Nicholas) Mittermann and Marne Kaeske; grandsons, Afton, Lucian, and Marlon Mittermann; brother, Michael (Joanne) Kaeske; as well as many cherished nephews and nieces, cousins, and friends.

Skip went to meet God and Jesus along with his loving parents; his in-laws, Leora and Glen Jarman; brother in-law, Glenn Edward Jarman; and many other family members and good friends.

A memorial service to honor Skip’s life will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23, 10:30 am, at the Community Church of Fish Creek, 9420 Cottage Row in Fish Creek, with Pastor Gary Scharrig officiating. A reception will be held following the service at Alexander’s of Door County, 3667 Hwy 42 in Fish Creek. Skip will be laid to rest in Blossomberg Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Friday, Nov. 22, 4-7 pm, at Casperson Funeral Home, 10708 N. Bay Shore Dr. in Sister Bay. A prayer service will conclude the evening at 7 pm. Visitation will continue Nov. 23, 9-10:30 am, at the church.

Because of his lifelong dedication to students of all ages, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to an educational organization of your choice. Memorials to the family will be used to pay off lunch accounts for students in need.

Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos of Skip can be shared through his tribute page at

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