John Charles Haack, 63, of Shell Lake, Wisconsin, died Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, at UW Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.
John was born November 16, 1958, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Charles and Bernice (Huth) Haack, the youngest of five children. After graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran HS in 1976, he attended UW-Stevens Point, majoring in wildlife biology and received his degree on May 18, 1980. Six days later on May 24,1980, he was married to Valerie Peyton in Weyauwega, Wisconsin.
The couple moved to Northwest Wisconsin, eventually settling permanently in the Shell Lake area in 1984 where they raised their family. John’s family was everything to him – he spent his lifetime teaching Valerie, their three daughters, Tabatha, Amanda, and Jennifer, and eventually his nine grandchildren, how to take care of the environment and enjoy being outdoors as much as he did.
John began his career in August of 1980 with the Wisconsin DNR in Spooner, Wisconsin, holding several different positions throughout his years with them. In the late 1990s, he accepted a position with UW-Extension as a natural resources educator which he molded and refined until he retired in August 2017 with 37-plus years of service as a state of Wisconsin employee.
He continued his life-long love of learning and teaching by volunteering as a Wisconsin Hunter Ed instructor, giving nature talks, and hosting workshops at Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary, leading tours for the Natural Resources Foundation, and serving as curator to the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum.
John became even busier in retirement than he had been during his career, using the extra free time to pursue his personal interests, unbridled. He had countless hobbies, including, but not limited to, fishing, hunting, wild rice gathering and processing, beekeeping, welding, woodworking, gardening, SCUBA diving, swimming, canoeing, biking, hiking, camping, maple syrup making, growing shiitake mushrooms … the list goes on. Those who knew him well can attest that it was a rare moment to catch John idle.
He was well known for sharing his knowledge of so many topics with anyone who would seek him out. It was impossible to ask John a question and get a hurried answer, as he always made time to explain and help the listener to understand important details. He was born to teach.
John is survived by his wife, Valerie; daughters, Tabatha (Rakesh) Muraharishetty, Amanda (Giancarlo) Farfan, and Jennifer (Drew) Knoop; nine grandchildren, Tara, Meena, and Ian Muraharishetty, Savannah and Levi Farfan, and Hudson, Evelyn, Eden, and Elliot Knoop; as well as his sisters, Barbara Gulczynski and Jean Haack.
John was preceded in death by his father and mother, Charles and Bernice Haack, and his brothers, Tom and Jim Haack.
An Open House Celebration of John’s Life is planned for Tuesday, Dec. 21, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Knoop Wedding Barn, 22938 Cty. Rd. H, Shell Lake, WI 54871.
Pastor Andrew Palmquist will share an opening prayer and message. Following, hot food and beverages will be served while leaving the mic open for friends and family to share treasured memories about John. Guests are encouraged to dress warmly for a Wisconsin winter day as the heated space in the large barn is limited.
Weather permitting, there will also be outside gathering spaces heated by warming fires to allow for social distancing and the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors as he would have preferred.