In Memory

John Engel

John Engel

John Michael Engel, 78 of Madison, WI passed away peacefully at home on September 19, 2023, after a three-year battle with ALS. He was born on November 2, 1944, son of the late Andrew and Patricia (O’Brien) Engel.

After graduating from St. Catherine’s High School, he began a life that was highlighted by service to others. After serving in the United States Air Force, he spent 30 years as a social worker for Racine County Human Services Department, where he worked as a unit supervisor in Children and Families and Child Protective Services and as a mediator in Family Court. His public service extended to his community as well. In the early 70’s he volunteered to be a Big Brother, fostering a relationship that continued throughout his life. For 8 years he represented the 12th district as alderman on the Racine City Council including serving 2 years as City Council President. He served on the Parks and Recreation Committee and on the Water and Wastewater Commission. He also served on the board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Catholic Charities, Catholic Cemeteries and St. Patrick’s Parish Council.

John was in his element when telling stories or building up to an always well-delivered punchline. He enjoyed playing city league sports in Racine where he often was the softball or basketball team manager. In his late 40’s he became an avid bicyclist with some of his fondest memories from his long rides across Iowa during RAGBRAI.

John’s greatest pleasure came from being with his family. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sandy (Hachikian). He and Sandy moved to Madison to be closer to their children, Andy (Katie Rezin) and Katie (Matt Hirsch) and their grandchildren Grace, Lily and Max Engel, Sophia and Phoebe Hirsch. He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Julie Hachikian and Alice Garoukian of Racine, brother-in-law John Hachikian (Virginia) of Atlanta GA, former daughter-in-law, Danielle Engel, “little brother” David (Lynn) Chars, and many loving nieces, nephews, other relatives and dear friends. In addition to his parent’s he was preceded in death by his brother Bill Engel, sister-in-law Elaine Engel, in-laws, Peter and Mary Hachikian, and brothers-in-law Mike Garoukian and Arthur Petersen.

A Memorial Mass celebrating John’s life will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, 11:30 A.M. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1100 Erie St. Racine, with Fr. Antony Thomas officiating. Relatives and friends are welcome to meet with the family for Visitation on Tuesday from 10:00 A.M. until the time of Mass at the church. Private interment will be held at Southern Wisconsin Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery, town of Dover.

In lieu of flowers, donations have been suggested to the ALS Association, Wisconsin Chapter or St Patrick Catholic Church.