The contributions of a Racine area couple who valued leaving a legacy over almost anything else was celebrated at a dedication ceremony Tuesday for a recently expanded manufacturing training center.
Otto Tarnowski was a sheet metal worker while his wife Beverly worked at the phone company. The couple had no children, invested wisely and believed that living a lavish lifestyle was far less important than giving back
"It's part of our bringing up, that we wanted to do something for the people that are less fortunate."
And they did so in a way that in the years ahead will benefit thousands of young people. With a million dollar donation, the couple became Gateway Technical College's largest individual contributors, making possible an expansion of Gateway's technology center in Sturtevant, a facility dedicated to training badly-needed workers for the manufacturing sector. Over the years Gateway President Bryan Albrecht struck up a close friendship with Otto: "He was an apprentice to a sheet metal worker. He also served in the military, as a WWII veteran, and had a strong passion for hard work. I'm sure, as he watches the challenges that our community had faced over the last several years, with high unemployment and helping young people find their fit in the world, work became an important part of his life and his cornerstone, and he saw that as a pathway to success."
Otto Tarnowski couldn't be at the dedication. He died Christmas Eve at the age of 86. For the benefit of out-of-town family and friends, internment was delayed until the dedication. They celebrated in the morning. Beverly: "We're very happy, and so we've spent quite a few years. I wish my husband was here to enjoy it, but he wasn't able to."
They mourned Otto's passing in the afternoon with a cemetery service with full military honors.