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Legion Park Event Center hall to honor Broskes
LPEC rendering
The proposed Legion Park Event Center will replace Art Hall.

One of the two halls in the Legion Park Event Center will be named the Bill and Mary Lou Broske Hall.

Mary Lou Broske is making this gift to the Platteville community in memory of her husband, Bill, who died early this year. 

Bill Broske lived to be 92 years old and was very civic, community and internationally minded.

Bill graduated from Rewey High School and served in the U.S. Army in World War II, from 1944 to 1946. He was in the Pacific Theater and also the occupation of Japan afterward.

“During one attack, Bill endured the loss of two of his buddies who were standing at his sides,” said LPEC committee chair Sheri Engelke. “This left Bill with the feeling that he had a special purpose in life and with a drive to excel and give back to the world.

After leaving the Army, Bill’s plan was to take advantage of the GI bill and become a dentist. Bill’s father had health problems, so Bill returned home to work with his father in the cheese and butter manufacturing business. After 25 years in the cheese business, Bill sold the corporation. He then worked for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for 18 years as a cheese and food inspector.

Bill received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and his Master of Science in Agricultural Industries from UW–Platteville. He was known worldwide as an international cheese judge.

Upon his retirement, Bill became involved in volunteer work with developing countries — helping them develop sustainable ways to make cheese and market their own cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream from all types of animals may it be cattle, sheep, water buffalo or goat. Romania actually named a cheese American Bill after him.

Bill was a member of First English Lutheran Church, a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a member of the local Masonic Lodge, a board member of the UW–Platteville Foundation, a member and past president of Rotary International Platteville, and a member of the UW–Platteville Friends of International Students.

"Bill loved people, dairy, and cheese — all necessary to make a great Wisconsin community,” said Tom Lindahl, Bill’s longtime friend and confidant and emeritus Dean of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture at UW–Platteville. “He particularly enjoyed international travel and the people he met. Over the years, we had many wonderful discussions about his trips and the people he met. I will never forget his stories and his joy in telling them. He loved Platteville and this gift is a very appropriate way to recognize his desire to give back to the community that gave him so much joy. We miss him and this hall will help all of us to never forget him."

John Cottingham, emeritus professor at UWP and former DATCP Administrator was Bill's undergrad and master’s advisor.

“Bill worked on his B.S. degree over several years while he was a multiple products grader at DATCP,” said Cottingham. “Early morning and night classes, over several years, allowed him to complete both degrees. His M.S. thesis analyzed rancidity in cheese. When I was deputy secretary at DATCP, I fully realized how widely Bill's knowledge was recognized and how helpful it was to the industry. After his retirement, Bill continued to share his knowledge and his love of people around the world. Katie and I also enjoyed a personal friendship with Bill and Mary Lou as we traveled with them to Alaska, England, Scotland and Ireland.”

Mary Lou is a lifelong educator who loves children and whom children love. A graduate of UW–Oshkosh, she was teaching second and third grade in Green Bay when she met Bill. They lived in the same apartment building and met at the swimming pool.

When asked why she was attracted to Bill, Mary Lou said, “Bill was a gentleman. He was very interesting to talk with. His stories were fascinating.”

Shortly after meeting, Bill took Mary Lou to meet his mother, who absolutely loved Mary Lou. Bill married Mary Lou Kirk on July 1, 1972.

Bill and Mary Lou moved to Platteville in 1972. Mary Lou taught elementary school (primarily second grade) for 22 years in Lancaster. After retirement, Mary Lou was active in supporting Bill’s international volunteerism in developing countries and continued her role as an educator by substitute teaching. She continues her support of International and National Teacher organizations to include Delta Kappa Gamma. She is supportive of state and local writing programs – most specifically with Grant, Lafayette and Iowa counties.

“Mary Lou is a kind, thoughtful, and fun-loving person,” said Zehra Muslu, Mary Lou’s lifelong friend. “For the last 30 years that I’ve known her, she never seized to amaze me with her desire to please everyone. I think Bill and Mary Lou had promised each other to work hard and live harder. I remember not so long ago her having a big party for a friend a day after she and Bill came from an international trip. For the most of us, it is almost unthinkable to stand upright, let alone give a party as jet lag makes it impossible. But for Mary Lou, it is always about making others happy and feel appreciated. Her generous, kind approach has made numerous international students feel “at home” with her. It is her way of saying that the world is a wonderful place to live and friendship is the best investment one can make. We need more Mary Lous in the world.”

“For as long as I have known Mary Lou, she has tried to help others and to make the world a better place,” said Colleen Garrity, another friend. “Education of children has always been a passion of hers. As a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, she was the long-time organizer of the Children’s Literary competition. This labor of love encourages students to be creative and to show off their writing and drawing skills. Few things bring a larger smile to her face than hearing a young child read aloud. I am not surprised that Mary Lou has found another way to give back to the community she loves.”

“Mary Lou called recently to ask me and Tom to visit her about ‘naming rights’ as a tribute to Bill,” said Gene Weber of Inspiring Communiyt. “My mind immediately flashed back to my initial introduction to this kind, generous and thoughtful couple. Over 40 years ago, my wife Jan typed Bill’s master’s thesis. Mary Lou and Bill invited us to dinner at the Timbers Supper Club to celebrate Bill earning his master’s degree. That evening Bill shared his enjoyment of stopping by our home to visit with Jan about the thesis and seeing Jan typing at the kitchen table with three little boys under foot — a fond story he retold most every time we saw him in later years.

“Bill enjoyed celebrating accomplishments with those who worked with him. I was not surprised when Mary Lou wanted to celebrate Bill’s life with such a wonderful gift to their community. Mary Lou sets a great example for all of Platteville as we continue to grow our culture of giving back.”

All donations are helpful to support the event center, from $10 to $250,000 and anywhere in between. All donors’ names will be added to the entrance kiosk. A donation of $1,000 or more assures recognition within the facility.

To donate, send checks to Inspiring Community, Inc., P.O. Box 503, Platteville, WI 53818 and note “Event Center” on memo line.