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August 2014

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Wilkinson loses battle with cancer

Pewaukeean Greg Wilkinson, 50, reached the end of his battle with cancer on Friday, Jan. 11.

As the former president and show director of the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club, he was a leader in the community. He was also a key figure in creating the annual water ski Adaptive Community Approach Program (ACAP) at the beach.

Mike Rotar, who knew Wilkinson through the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club, said it's been hard for everyone this week. They skied together and traveled for competitions, but Rotar said Wilkinson really loved working with ACAP.

"(Wilkinson) was just an amazingly open person. He would strike up a conversation with strangers all the time and genuinely care about what they said," he said.

He was vital in bringing the public dock to Pewaukee; it is used every summer by all beachgoers when it is not being used by the ski club. His enthusiasm was contagious in the community as he taught new barefoot skiers or lifted the ban on early morning water skiing.

"(Wilkinson) was very instrumental in bringing the dock to the public. The ski club needed a place to ski, and the public needed a place to dock their boats when they wanted to visit the village … It was a long process, and he never gave up," said Joyce Shepet, friend and coworker.

Jodi Zelinger said Wilkinson always had to "push the envelope," and they were the folks on the lake at 5 or 6 a.m. - or even right after Thanksgiving.

"I'm going to miss this summer. The one memory I have etched in my mind is when Greg (Wilkinson) and Mike (Rotar) would come by in the morning and pick me up to go skiing," Zelinger said. She said Wilkinson loved life and gave of himself to help others all the time.

Wilkinson was also an entrepreneur and partner for marketing firm GrowthPoint Inc., where he will be missed by coworkers Bruce Hammond, Joyce Shepet and many more. Before joining GrowthPoint Inc. he worked for Microsoft, and for Rockwell Automation before that.

Hammond, GrowthPoint founder, said Wilkinson was an enormous asset to the company.

"He was a very personable guy who had empathy and a real interest in people. His business relationships were always very personal for him because of that," Hammond said.

Friend Terri Mahoney-Ogden said Wilkinson's calm and positive approach to creating change made him a successful leader in the Lake Country community.

"He is one of those guys who does not just talk about wanting to fix a problem or implement an idea. He was a true leader who went about it so that he was well-liked by everyone who worked with him. A life well-lived, albeit too short," Mahoney-Ogden said.

He is survived by his wife, Penny; son Colin; and dog Chuck. He is also survived by his parents, Mary and Marvin Wilkinson of Rochelle, Ill.;, in-laws Diane and Dan Makutz of Racine, Bob Radewan and the late Linda Radewan of Racine; brother Floyd Wilkinson (Anne); sister Sandi Halwachs (Ken); brother-in- law John Radewan (Laurie); sister-in- law Debra McNamara (John); sister-in-law and devoted guardian angel Lori Radewan (Francisco).

Visitation with family is from noon until the 4 p.m. celebration of his life Sunday, Jan. 20, at Westbrook Church with fellowship and light hors d'oeuvres. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested in Wilkinson's memory to ACAP (Adaptive Community Approach Program), 121 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186.

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