Once upon a time on August 28th, 1961 Gordon and Jo (Neely) Dornink had their first child Jeffrey Alan Dornink in Freeport, IL. Over the next five years the family grew to include Rick and Mike.
The Dornink boys were true farm boys and enjoyed riding their ponies, playing tricks on their Mom like bringing a baby calf into her bedroom, milking cows, and successfully showing their Registered Ayrshire dairy cattle for many years in county, district and national shows. Jeff graduated from Dakota, Illinois High School in 1979 and from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville in 1985 with his Bachelors in Agriculture.
In 1986, Jeff was hired to manage the dairy at the University Farm at Platteville and began to coach local 4-H, FFA and collegiate dairy judging teams. Jeff was united in marriage to Lynette Erickson on April 4, 1992 at Adams Lutheran Church in Argyle, Wisconsin. In December of that year Jeff and Lynette were thrilled to welcome their son, Tyler Erick to their family. In 1999 Jeff began a career as the Dairy Herd Management instructor at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore. He completed his masters degree in 2010 from UW-Platteville. Jeff intended to retire in late August and so looked forward to his next adventures, that no doubt would include dairy cattle, learning, and maintaining the relationships he’d made over the years with countless students and friends.
However, God had another plan for Jeff and on Thursday, July 26, 2018 he died at St. Mary’s Hospital, Madison. Jeff’s career in the dairy industry and in life included the care and love of his family, co-workers, students who truly were friends, and of dairy cattle. He considered milking cows and doing chores his therapy and cared for many friends’ cows and heifers on his farm. Jeff was an active community member serving on numerous councils and boards over the years in the ag industry, in his community and in his church.
Sometimes life can be hard to understand, you won’t always have the right answers, and it won’t always be easy. Life can throw many twists and turns at you but it always helps to have a good teacher and mentor in your life. A friend and mentor that will be honest with you, tell you what you need to hear and at the same time reassure you that it’s going to be okay and to keep going forward. Telling a good story that makes people laugh always helps people deal and learn from their obstacles and Jeff had a good story for almost every situation as they seemed to apply to any audience. Jeff Dornink has been and will always be a rock for people to lean on. He was a family man, a teacher, a coach, and a man of faith that will be dearly missed.
Jeff is survived by his wife, Lynette, of 26 years; son, Tyler; mother, Jo Dornink; brothers, Rick (Beth) Dornink and Mike (Kim) Dornink; mother-in-law, Barbara Erickson; sisters and brother-in laws, Peg ( Bob) Kapke, Glenda (Ron) Camron, Gloria (Louis) Scherer, Bev (Bob) Wartenweiler, Harlan Erickson, and Helen (Dave) Rabe; 19 nieces and nephews; 29 great-nieces and nephews; and amazing aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, Gordon Dornink; father-in-law, Eldridge Erickson; and niece Bobbi Jo Kapke and nephew, Brian Kapke.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August, 4, 2018 at Jeff and Lynette’s farm, 18450 Bethel Grove Road, Belmont, Wisconsin. Family and friends may gather from 12:00 p.m. (Noon) – 4:00 p.m., with the memorial service being held at 1:00 p.m. Please bring your own lawn chair as this will be outside. Rev. Connie Matye, of Peace Lutheran Church, Belmont will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Jeff Dornink Memorial Fund which will be used to fund scholarships for students at SWTC. These memorials may be sent to the home address or directly to the SWTC Foundation offices. The Melby Funeral Home & Crematory, Platteville, is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at www.melbyfh.com.
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