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Kenneth Van Dyne Fiske

Kenneth Van Dyne Fiske, 92, Woodstock, died Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, at his home, the Cold Springs Schoolhouse.

He was born April 18, 1925, to Kenneth M. and Eunice (Van Dyne) Fiske in Chicago.

He graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and served with the U.S. Navy during World War II. Upon completing his service (lieutenant junior grade), he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in agricultural engineering. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and the Wisconsin Agricultural Alumni Association.

In 1954, he married Darlene Sharp, Chicago, and moved into the Cold Springs Schoolhouse, where they lived from their marriage until his passing.

Upon his return to McHenry County, he worked in Chicago as a television producer at NBC, creating the show “Out on the Farm” (which included the first live color remote broadcast).  He then went on to work with the National Safety Council, Velsicol Chemical Company, and was a founder of the Northeast Illinois Natural Resource Center, based at the Morton Arboretum.

In 1971, he became the first executive director of the newly-formed McHenry County Conservation District.  He retired to form his conservation consulting firm, Conservation Services, with his wife, and the pair traveled all over the world tracking and creating inventories of birds and plants and eradicating invasive plant species. The team worked with the Hawaii Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of Hawaii and the Ding Darling Nature Preserve on Sanibel Island, FL.

He was named to the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the U.S. Merchant Marine Alumni Association’s Outstanding Professional Achievement Award in 2006.  He and his wife were named the Nature Conservancy’s Volunteers of the Year in 1987 and Refuge Volunteers of the Year by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2004.

Survivors include three daughters, Diana (David) Wilson, Crystal Lake, Jennifer Fiske, Woodstock, and Nancy (Ron) Readel, Richardson, TX; two grandchildren, Matthew (Kate) Wilson, Spokane, WA, and Timothy (Nina Beck) Wilson, Milwaukee, WI; two great-grandchildren, Elliot and Nora Wilson, Spokane; a sister, Virginia Boorom, Portland, OR; his beloved cat, Serena; and his devoted caregivers, Ewa Major and Dom Vorachak.

He was preceded in death by his parents and wife.

All services were private.

Memorials can be made to the McHenry County Audubon Society Birds in the Classroom Grant Program or the First United Methodist Church of McHenry organ restoration project.

Arrangements were made by Schneider, Leucht, Cooney & Merwin Funeral Home,

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