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Dr. John Mielke dies, and the Fox Cities lose a leader and benefactor

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 8:23 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A man known for his thoughtful leadership and charitable giving across the Fox Cities is being remembered. Dr. John Mielke of Appleton passed away Wednesday at the age of 87.

While Dr. Mielke spent the first half of his life focusing on health care, he later served on the Appleton Area School board, where he left behind an unforgettable mark.

“He was such a positive influence throughout his 26 years on our board of education but also just a pillar in the community," Appleton Area School District Superintendent Judy Baseman said.

Dr. Mielke also helped to create the Appleton Education Foundation which supports innovation and grants for teachers and special programs. Since it’s inception, $4.9 million has gone out.

“Just a great visionary, a great leader, and the Appleton Education Foundation is so incredibly blessed to benefit from his leadership from his compassion, from his generosity," the foundation’s Julie Krause said.

Others remember Dr. Mielke for his ability bring community leaders together.

“He was always one to look for the big idea and absolutely loved to get people together to talk about them," Curt Detjen with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region remembered.

On the school board, Dr. Mielke was especially interested in giving the youngest children a head start.

“One of his most recent pieces was the Community Early Learning Center, which again is focused on that area he found to be so important, the birth-to-5 time frame," Superintendent Baseman said.

The superintendent also said Dr. Mielke was behind an award ceremony that would take place at the beginning of each school year to recognize outstanding educators, which she said was always a high point.

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