Remembering former La Crosse Mayor Pat Zielke

Remembering former La Crosse Mayor...

Former mayor Pat Zielke died Wednesday at the age of 85. He was La Crosse's longest serving mayor.

If you asked anyone who knew Zielke to tell you about who he is, you would learn he left his fingerprints on just about every part of the city.

"I think if you say La Crosse, Pat Zielke's name would come up pretty quick," said La Crosse Center Director Art Fahey.

But if you asked Zielke himself, he might tell you otherwise.

"No I never think of myself as history, but I guess it's something you should be proud of," Zielke said in a 2014 interview.

Zielke was the kind of man to do a lot, and take very little credit for it. He is described as "Mr. La Crosse" and a humble leader.

Fahey says Zielke had a big impact on the development and growth of Downtown.

And perhaps that's why the city's former Mayor is loved and respected by so many.

"He was kind to people," said current Mayor Tim Kabat.

"He had the leadership and the knowledge and the ability to put it all together and we're still living with his legacy right now."

He's been a large part of the La Crosse Center since it was built in the 80's and he's made a difference in where it stands today.

"He was here with the original building, he was here with the expansion and he was with us on expansion number two," Fahey said.

A lot was developed under Zielke's time as mayor.

But those who now sit in the chair he once sat in, say it wasn't his title that made Zielke stand out.

"To leave the place better than how you found it and I think Pat did that very well," Kabat said..

Zielke was also involved in the development of Valley View Mall and the La Crosse Regional airport.

He served as mayor from 1975 to 1997.


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