KEWASKUM — The sons of a man violently killed by an intruder last week in Washington County remember him as a hero who was a mentor to many.
Ray Engelking was one of two residents shot to death by a man who broke into their homes to steal their vehicles.
Despite unimaginable grief, Engelking’s three sons take comfort in knowing their dad died while protecting their mother at their Kewaskum home.
“This young man and my old dad fought to the death to save my mom and give my mom time to hide and save her life,” Zach Engelking said.
Zach, Rhett and Shane Engelking said they wish the previously unknown intruder knew the man Ray was before taking his life. They describe Ray as someone who would have been willing to mentor the suspect through his struggles as Ray did for countless others.
“I can’t tell you how many times I met somebody for the first time in West Bend and they found out who my dad was and they said, ‘Oh my god, your dad is Ray Engelking, I love that guy,’” Shane said. “I lost track of how many times people told me that he was their favorite teacher.”
The 72-year-old dedicated his life to helping others. He spent 36 years in the classroom as an economics teacher at West Bend West High School. Shane said Ray often took struggling students under his wing.
“One of the things appreciated most about my dad is a lot of people who had the most trouble in society and school, they always were the ones that thought my dad was the greatest,” Shane said.
The Engelkings said Ray also helped rehabilitate young men as they exited prison to successfully readjust to society.
“Unfortunately this person who came to our house didn’t see my father. Because had he seen my father and my mother,” Rhett said. “Whatever desperate situation he was in, my parents would have been there for him.”
Rhett, Zach and Shane don’t want their father’s life to be remembered by the tragedy that ended up, but for the love and generosity that filled it.
To memorialize Ray’s legacy, his sons have decided to launch a scholarship fund for at-risk West Bend students to attend Moraine Park Technical College.
“What we really need to do is to help people who are struggling and to help lift them up so that things like this don’t get to this difficult of a situation,” Shane said.
The Engelkings are hoping to provide an opportunity for troubled students to learn a trade to launch a career and avoid a path of poverty and crime. If you would like to contribute, click here.