Officials react to news of long-time official's death

Hall of Fame inductee Roger Menke passed away Wednesday unexpectedly


LEE COUNTY – The area athletic community was struck and saddened this week with the passing of a mainstay in high school athletics.

Long-time Iowa sports official Roger Menke died unexpectedly Wednesday at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Menke was transported to the Iowa City hospital following a traffic accident on Hwy. 218 just south of the Hwy. 16 intersection in Lee County.

Emergency crews said Menke was suffering from a medical issue that caused his vehicle to leave the roadway near a creek bed. He was able to contact emergency crews for help and was transported by Lee County EMS.
Menke’s obituary is listed in today’s e-edition and at https://www.pencitycurrent.com/stories/king-lynk-funeral-home-obituary-roger-j-menke-63-bonaparte,62644.

Menke is a 1979 graduate of Fort Madison High School and was a member of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Iowa High School Athletic Association for close to four decades and officiated a wide arrange of high school sports.

He is a member of the Iowa Coaches Association Hall of Fame, inducted in 2018. Menke was also a replay official for the Big Ten Conference.

Area high school officials reacted to the news of Menke’s passing over the weekend.

Fort Madison Athletic Director Jeff Lamb said Menke was part of his athletic career at Fort Madison high school and will be missed.

“Roger has been officiating as long as I can remember at Fort Madison.  I still remember baseball games I was a part of as a player that he was behind the plate calling the game,” Lamb said. “Most of our students will not know how much his presence and willingness to do that job made a difference in their lives as often those individuals go unnoticed. He and his family have made countless events go on without missing a beat because they were willing to step up and do what so many others wouldn’t.  Roger will be dearly missed in our community and surrounding areas.

“Fort Madison Community School District’s Activities Department would like to extend its condolences to the Menke family. We considered Roger a part of our community here as his presence was appreciated greatly by our department for his countless hours of officiating and helping our district."

Central Lee Superintendent Dr. Andy Crozier said Menke’s contributions to area schools and athletes was numerous.

"Roger made a significant contribution to football, basketball, and softball through his officiating in Southeast Iowa. He was always highly respected by coaches, athletes, and the various communities he officiated for. His reputation as an official went beyond our area as he worked multiple state tournaments in multiple sports for the IHSAA and IGHSAU,” Crozier said.

“Roger was also a great mentor to young officials in the area. He always provided excellent guidance and advice to new officials trying to find success in their early years.  Losing a member of the high school sports community is always difficult. Losing an official of this caliber is even more difficult. His leadership and advocacy for officiating will certainly be missed."

Holy Trinity Catholic Athletic Director John Goetz said Menke has been a friend and critical part of his career for decades.

"I met Roger years ago and we played softball on the same team. Later I grew to know him as an official. I always considered him a great friend, but he was an even better person. He always helped me out at (Keokuk Cardinal) Stritch and Holy Trinity Catholic. Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife Sharon and his family. He will be missed," Goetz said.

Menke is survived by his wife, five children, and 12 grandchildren. Funeral services are planned at King-Lynk Funeral Home Tuesday at 9:30 with visitation beginning at 3 p.m. Monday at Ss. Mary and Joseph Church in Fort Madison.

Fort Madison, death, obituary, Roger Menke, official, Pen City Current, IHSAA, IGHSAU,


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