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Kewaskum and West Bend mourning the loss of Ray Engelking

February 6, 2021 – Kewaskum, WI – The communities of Kewaskum and West Bend are mourning following the death of long-time retired economics teacher Ray Engelking.

Engelking passed away on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at the age of 72.

The new twin high schools, West Bend East and West Bend West opened in fall of 1970. With that came a lot of newly hired teachers; one of them was a very young Ray Engelking, fresh from Indiana State University.

Photo credit: West Bend High School yearbook, circa 1970

Engelking taught economics at West Bend West High School for 35 years, retiring in 2005.

The Engelking family released a statement regarding the death of their father.

Engelking Statement on the Killing of Ray Engelking


The Engelking family of Forest View Road in Kewaskum would like to provide this statement to address the public inquiries into the events of Wednesday February 4th, 2021. Our family has read the details of the Press Release prepared by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, and we want to affirm that the details contained therein are consistent with our understanding of what occurred at our family residence during the timeline set forth by law enforcement.

First of all, we want to thank local law enforcement for their respectful and thorough response to the assault, forced entry, and murder at our family residence by a previously unknown individual. We also want to extend our deepest condolences to the other families traumatized during these events; we join in their sorrow.

Secondly, we want to confirm that while protecting the security of Deborah Engelking—the mother to his three boys and grandmother to three girls —our “Papa,” Ray Leonard Engelking was indeed killed by a bullet fired during a violent confrontation with the intruder, who assaulted Mrs. Engelking.

She has not exhibited any lasting physical injury thus far, but the emotional wounds are considerable. Without hesitation, she handed over keys to her vehicle but it wasn’t enough. Similarly, Papa was an avid sportsman with deep reverence for life and commitment to research-backed gun safety measures.

He would have gladly relinquished every gun he owned if it meant preserving any life lost or traumatized that day. Tragically, our family has now joined a long-suffering group of families who have lost loved ones to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence. Despite all of this, and despite the constraints the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on our interactions with loved ones, we are not giving into fear.

We are navigating difficult emotions at this time, but with the limited distance we currently have from the situation, our only regret is that the young white man who came rampaging through our peaceful neighborhood had not had the opportunity to sit for a semester in one of Mr. Engelking’s classes or spend a season with him on one of the many sports teams Papa coached in this community.

Sadly, the fugitive did not know a man who would have been willing to be a coach, teacher, or Big Brother to him or any individual navigating the struggles of poverty, addiction, or an otherwise troubled past. Papa compassionately practiced the Christian value of forgiving those who knew not what they were doing, and he labored for a criminal justice system that prepared and supported offenders to fully rejoin society as equal citizens. We have been disappointed by the lack of context in some of the responses expressed on our behalf by members in our community.

Frustratingly, the 72 bright years of our father’s life have been reduced politically to the circumstances of the last 5 minutes. Our family deeply believes in the transformational power of publicly accessible education to give people hope, support, and options in the midst of a challenging world. As the community mourns our loss at the hands of a manic individual, we hope they will also be aggrieved at the tragic and violent circumstances that originated in our community and set him on this course long before any confrontation with our neighborhood.

Like his personal hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Papa was convinced that in the presence of justice, a beloved community could create a “qualitative change in our souls and a quantitative change in our lives.”  Finally, we request that our family be granted a generous time to grieve and process in private how our family can continue to carry on the heroic light Papa brought to each of our lives.

This is a working story and more information will be added when details are available.
Please keep the Engelking family in your thoughts and prayers.


  1. I’m So Sorry …Your Papa Was a Wise Man .We have to Walk our Christian Values in Our Community. ..Observe Concerns And Act So We don’t Get to this Point Ever Again ..God Commands We Help and Love Each other …I Absolutely Agree With Your Wise Papa …Sending Love and Light and Hope to you and your Family …you’re in my Thoughts and Prayers

  2. I am so very sad about what happened to your father, my prayers go out to you and all your family, we can not bring him back but we can definitely remember the very GREAT PERSON he is and that is so very much to me it was a great social studies teacher that had to put up with me at 15 and try to make sure I got the idea of what he was teaching, I got through that and then met up with him again at my marriage which he was a photographer and I was so very lucky to have him there because noone could of done a better job ,I have lost touch with him in the last years but I always consider him as my mentor and someone that I always thought as a great overall person, he will be missed in all are lives,
    Praying for all

  3. We have lost a wonderful man in so many respects. My condolences go out to his family and his multitude of friends. I was one of his young students in the early 70’s and his class was one of my favorites and lessons learned there have followed me through life. We continued a friendship after reconnecting a few years after graduation through our love of photography. He and his beautiful wife graciously had me out to their beautiful home to take pictures both inside and in their gorgeous backyard. These moments always lasted for hours. A kinder human being is hard to find. Every time I drove past the entrance to their road I thought of the Engelkings. When I heard there was a home invasion on that road my mind immediately went to them. It was not because I thought it could be them, it was because it is natural for my mind to go there with wonderful thoughts. I was in shock when I heard it was their beloved home that was shattered in this incident. I pray for the family and for our society. We lost a good one.

  4. My heart breaks for the Engelking family. Mr. Engelking was a teacher of mine back in the 80’s, and he was one of my favorites. He made class interesting and made you want to learn, and his kind and thoughtful approach made him a favorite among students. Mr. Engelking had a profound effect on my life as a student who never saw himself going anywhere. He genuinely cared about his students and he is one of the teachers that made me believe I could do better. 19 years later Mr. Engelking would be teaching my son in the very same school, who also has fond memories. This was a good man and I am bless to have known him. I will keep the Engelking family and friends in my prayers.

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