Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Konkle leaves after 43 years

by Jade Bolack

June 06, 2013

WALWORTH — She doesn't know many of the students, but she still played a major role at Big Foot High School for 43 1/2 years.

Barb Konkle, secretary and jack of all trades in and out of the school, will retire at the end of this school year, but she won't be staying home.

"We're going to continue traveling," she said of her and her husband, Wayne.

Konkle, who attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville but never earned a degree, is an expert single-action shooter, photographer and dancer.

She has the awards to prove it, too.

"I got the MRS degree," Konkle said. "I got married instead of finishing. I just thought I'd be having kids and I wouldn't need it. And I've had a job ever since."

Besides working at the school, Konkle and her husband taught dance classes for several years.

"We started out just taking one class," she said. "Then we kept going. We went through the classes, intermediate and up. Then we took lessons at other places. And when the teacher there decided to retire, she asked us if we would teach."

So, they became the fun dance teachers, according to an old business card.

They don't dance much anymore, but Konkle still knows the steps.

"Swing was my favorite," she said. "We really enjoyed ballroom dancing."

The husband and wife team photographed weddings for several years, and they even sold some prints at art shows.

"We would travel around to those shows with our prints," Konkle said. "We sold some as recent as December 2012."

Before the photography, there were shooting competitions.

"After my children left home for college, I saw I had the time for something else," she said. "My husband taught me to shoot. It's really fun. We dress up in period style clothing. It's target shooting, but it's not bull's-eye targets. You just have to hit the plate and make it ding."

Konkle and her husband shoot lever-action shotguns and single-action pistols in competitions. They've both been state and national champs more than once.

"My husband is a pro," she said.

"He taught me all of it. I don't like to practice, though. I just go to the competitions."

The Konkles own 60 acres of land, and often host police and tactical team practices on their property.

During all those adventures, Konkle has switched jobs at the high school more times than she can count.

"I was a receptionist, guidance secretary, attendance secretary, teachers' secretary, copy machine worker and food service cashier," she said. "I just kind of moved around where they needed me."

Wayne was a high school teacher at Big Foot with Konkle.

"We'd drive together," she said. "That helped save money, since I was only making minimum wage when I started, $1.75 an hour."