Kathy Dahlke’s Profile

Growing up in Massachusetts, Kathy was the third of four daughters born to second-generation Italian and Irish immigrants. Her parents worked hard for what they had, and all the girls were expected to pitch in. They worked in soup kitchens and helped neighbors in addition to their chores. Kathy didn’t own a pair of blue jeans until she was thirteen. She lived in hand-me-downs, and she never took anything for granted.

Kathy’s dad dreamed that his daughters would earn college degrees – and they all did. Now, Kathy’s oldest sister is a homemaker, the second-oldest is a church administrator, the youngest is an Honorable Chair and subject-matter expert in the DC energy sector, and Kathy is a business executive. At the time, though, Kathy had to hold down three jobs while going to college. A merit scholar, she graduated cum laude from the University of Lowell in Massachusetts.

Kathy has always been active in charities and in the community – as a career coach or a volunteer, first with Junior Achievement and later with Hunger Task Force. She rode the 62-mile Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association and is an 8-time walker in Avon 39, a 39.3 mile walk to end breast cancer. Kathy is also a competitive ballroom dancer. “If I am going to do something,” she says, “I put my whole self in.”

A professional opportunity led Kathy to Wisconsin, where she met Jeff Dahlke. Here, Kathy has found herself. She transplanted her roots in the friendly soil of Wisconsin and made a home where she can enjoy polkas, hunting, and a good Friday night fish fry.

Jeff and Kathy Dahlke

Who would have thought… a Wisconsin farm boy and an east coast girl? Though they seem from opposite worlds, they share the same values about working hard – that no job is small or unimportant – and they both go above and beyond to help those who need it.

“I never expected Jeff,” says Kathy. “I never saw him coming. He challenges me and he makes me laugh. Jeff got me planting and tending my first garden. And I love being ‘gamma’ – I love the grandkids. Through Jeff, I am learning to love everything there is to love about Wisconsin. And there is a lot to love about Wisconsin!”

“I knew Kathy would be my wife as soon as I met her,” says Jeff. He calls her his bride – and has since the day they married. That day he vowed: “It took me 30 years to get it right. I’m glad you’re the one I’m getting it right with.”

Kathy is a devoted wife but she doesn’t nod her head along with her everything her husband says. She is feisty, and wouldn’t have gotten as far as she did without that spark in her personality. She has an honesty that may only be rivaled by her husband’s. She’s candid on the subject, saying, “I don’t agree with him on every issue. But I believe in him wholeheartedly, and I fully support what he is doing.”

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