GLANDORF — Gene Warnecke recently retired after serving 26 years as the village of Glandorf’s mayor and had 32 years of service overall.
Warnecke, 71, decided to retire to spend more time with his wife Rose, three children, Adam, Nick and Kim and five grandchildren. Warnecke hung up his hat as mayor Dec. 31.
“If I would run again for mayor, I would be 75 by the time my term would be up. It is time to pass the torch to the next generation,” Warnecke said.
Charlie Schroeder, who has served as Glandorf Village Council president, will replace Warnecke as mayor, and his duties began Jan. 1.
Warnecke, who has served as mayor since 1992, has been a Glandorf resident since 1984 and raised his family in Glandorf.
He served on Glandorf Village Council from 1986 to 1992, was a park board member and was president of the Glandorf Fire District while serving as mayor.
There are currently 40 volunteer firefighters on the department. Under his leadership the department has added six employees and purchased five vehicles. The vehicles include a first responder vehicle to help fight brush fires, a tanker truck to haul water for fires, a new fire engine and a new pumper truck and an equipment truck.
He said he has been blessed to work with the village’s council members and employees.
“I will miss it a lot. It’s bittersweet, it really is, because I love the town and have been a part of seeing Glandorf progress,” Warnecke said.
There have been many additions and changes in Glandorf while he has been mayor including the addition of new businesses and St. Rita’s Complex on U.S. 224 that provides 24-hour medical services and houses the county’s EMA office.
He said another change was the John Deere dealer moving to U.S. 224 from Continental to consolidate the dealership.
“This is an agricultural community and they certainly support area farmers and are the main agricultural dealer in our county,” Warnecke said.
He said the population in Glandorf has grown to 1,100 residents with the 1980 census marking around 850 residents.
There have been at least 90 new homes built in the village since then, according to Warnecke.
He said he has always thought of Glandorf as more than just its corporation limit. As mayor, he has taken pride in keeping the village clean and developing Glandorf Community Park.
Changes to the park have been the addition of a play area and parking.
One of his favorite memories as mayor is when 50 residents from Glandorf, Germany, visited the village in 2004 and attended the village’s park festival.
In return Warnecke and his wife were able to take a group of Glandorf residents to visit Germany.
“To me, Glandorf is a great example of small town life. The people of Glandorf are hard working and industrious, and one of the things the residents have inherited in their German heritage is keeping thing nice and neat,” Warnecke said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.