CHIPPEWA FALLS — Eugene Rineck was a gentleman who was proud to serve his country and his constituents during a 24-year stint on the Chippewa County Board, friends and colleagues say.
Rineck, 93, formerly of Chippewa Falls, died Saturday. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Pederson-Volker Funeral Chapel, 44 E. Columbia St., Chippewa Falls.
“Gene was always the ultimate gentleman, always, always,” said former county Supervisor Marilyn Holte of Chippewa Falls. “He was kind, easy to work with. He was very sincere about the work he was doing. He was reliable in every way. He was very loyal to his constituents.”
Former County Board Chairman Paul Michels of Bloomer recalled Rineck’s desire to serve.
“I found Gene to be very patriotic and a servant to the citizens,” Michels said. “He had that military-type discipline character.”
Former Supervisor Evelyn Maloney of Chippewa Falls was saddened to hear Rineck had died.
“He was such a nice guy,” Maloney said. “He had a sense of humor; he was a nice gentleman. He always had kind words. He meant well in serving. He felt very dedicated to the county.”
Former Supervisor Larry Marquardt of the town of Hallie said Rineck was a good supervisor.
“A great guy; great veteran,” Marquardt said. “He always stood up for the rights of Americans.”
Rineck also was heavily involved in the Chippewa Falls Patriotic Council, a group of veterans who provide services at military funerals but also attend parades and other functions.
Former Chippewa Falls Councilman George Adrian is a member of the Patriotic Council and performed duties alongside Rineck. He said they would do maybe three events a month.
“Like all of us, it was very important to him because it got all of us veteran groups together,” Adrian said. “The Patriotic Council worked out well, and Gene was a big part of it. I started in 1981, and he was already on it.”
Adrian recalled Rineck as a positive person.
“He had a good sense of humor, a dry sense of humor,” Adrian said. “He was always smiling. I don’t think I ever saw him mad. He was always willing to listen to you, even if he didn’t agree with you.”
Rineck was born in 1925 and raised in the town of Wheaton. He graduated from Chippewa Falls High School in 1943 and immediately joined the Army. He was deployed to Italy and saw combat.
“When you see people dead alongside you … that’s something you’ll never forget,” Rineck told the Leader-Telegram in 2012 when he retired from the County Board.
After his honorable discharge in 1945, Rineck returned to the family farm, where they raised buffalo. He served on the Wheaton Town Board as chairman for a few years and was asked to join the Chippewa County Board in 1988. He never expected to stay 24 years.
“I don’t know where those years went,” Rineck said in 2012. “They flew by.”
Rineck’s retirement from the board occurred because the board shrank from 29 members to 15 in 2012 and Rineck lost in a primary.
“The phone won’t be ringing off the wall anymore,” Rineck joked at the time. “I’m quite satisfied I’m not on the board anymore. But I’ll miss the people — I have a lot of friends on the County Board.”