Mark Torinus, newspaperman, outdoorsman and tireless community advocate, will be remembered for the efforts he put forth to improve the lives of those around him.
Torinus, 60, died Aug. 21, at his home in Brookfield. He was formerly the president of the Greater Delafield Community Fund and served as chairman of the Village of Summit Zoning Board of Appeals at the time of his death.
Family and colleagues remembered Torinus as a good man, caring and thoughtful.
Torinus "was one of the good guys in the world," said Phil Schuman, president of the Greater Delafield Community Fund.
"He and I would go to the bars and solve the world's problems together after a meeting," Schuman joked.
Brother-in-law Scott Krienke said Torinus "loved life" and was "intellectually curious."
"I could talk to him for hours," Krienke said. "He was very engaged and interested in my perspective on things."
Krienke has known Torinus since fourth grade, when they played on the same basketball and football teams.
Torinus' personality when he was young was similar to how he was later in life.
"He loved nature and that carried on to later in life," Krienke said of the avid outdoorsman. "He was always a very intellectually curious person, which you can see in his careers."
Torinus was an accomplished hunter and angler and wrote a book titled "Prairie Pothole Fever" about his experiences while duck hunting.
Torinus was the youngest of six children. He graduated from Abbott Pennings High School in De Pere, where he was senior class president. He then graduated from Dartmouth College in 1975. He wrote and helped edit the Daily Dartmouth, became president of the fraternity Kappa Kappa Kappa and graduated cum laude in government.
From 1975-83, Torinus co-owned the Menominee Herald-Leader in Menominee, Mich., with two older brothers, ultimately serving as editor and general manager. The paper was eventually sold in 1982 to Bliss Communications, owner of The Janesville Gazette.
Sidney "Skip" Bliss, owner of Bliss Communications, described Torinus as a "visionary" in an Aug. 23 obituary in The Gazette.
Torinus served as editor at The Gazette until 1991, during which time he helped start the paper's Sunday edition and helped found the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1994, he began a new career in the nonprofit sector, working as campaign director for United Way of Northern Rock County. In 1996, he became president of the Wisconsin Foundation for Independent Colleges, Inc., during which time he helped low-income and first-generation students attend college through the College Readiness 21 program.
Torinus joined the Greater Delafield Community Fund in 2004 and was elected president in 2006.
Board member Audrey Kellner said Torinus had a "gentle authority."
"He guided people through decisions," she said. "When you have that ability to draw people out, that is a good leader. It was a pleasure to know him and to work with him."
Board member Kevin Greene said Torinus' experience in the nonprofit sector was essential, allowing the fund to expand its coverage area. The organization currently provides financial support to 29 organizations, Schuman said.
In 2010, Torinus suffered a heart attack while fly fishing alone in Iowa. The harrowing incident was reported on by the Lake Country Reporter in January 2011.
"He couldn't call for help on his cell; the phone was in his truck," the story noted. "Trying to make his way back to the vehicle, Torinus passed out three times."
He was eventually found in his vehicle in the middle of the road by a farmer and his wife. The farmer was an emergency medical technician and administered aspirin, working with 911 until help arrived.
Torinus almost died on the operating table, but a doctor was able to massage his heart back to life.
He remained with the Greater Delafield Community Fund for a year after the incident, but eventually left to become a coach for future leaders of family companies for The Executive Committee.
"Mark stayed with us, and we were very happy he did that after the heart attack," Green said.
Torinus is survived by his wife, Maryclaire; their three children, Nathan, Sarah and Anne; and two grandchildren, James and Juliette.
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