ELKHORN — County Board Supervisor Tim Schiefelbein is remembered by his colleagues as a quick study, a hard worker and someone who politely shared his opinions.
Shiefelbein died because of a long-time health issue on Dec. 4. He was 55.
During the Dec. 11 County Board meeting, the board held a moment of silence for Schiefelbein, and a lit candle was placed at his seat in remembrance.
Prior to running for the county board, Schiefelbein worked in the Walworth County Sheriff’s office for 29 years and reached the rank of captain before he retired because of health issues.
Undersheriff Kurt Picknell said that Schiefelbein started his career as a correctional officer in the county jail and later became a deputy sheriff.
Throughout his career in law enforcement, Schiefelbein worked with both the dive team and drug units. He retired as a captain. “He took his job very seriously,” Picknell said. “He always worked with the purpose of serving justice.”
In 2012, after retiring from law enforcement, Schiefelbein ran for the Walworth County Board. He represented one ward in the town of Sugar Creek, and all but one ward in the city of Elkhorn.
The illness that caused him to retire from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department also played a role in him running for the county board. In 2012, he told the Regional News that he was running for the position in an effort to thank the community that supported him.
“I am seeking this office as a way to repay the community for the incredible support shown to my family and myself during my illness, which led to my career ending with a disability in 2010,” Schiefelbein wrote. “With my experience in county government at an administrative and provider level, I have a strong knowledge of the people and departments involved.”
Supervisor Daniel Kilkenny served on four different committees with Schiefelbein.
“He served with a great sense of purpose,” Kilkenny said. “Although we didn’t agree all the time I found him extremely principled and dedicated.”
County Administrator David Bretl said Schiefelbein came to the board as a long-time former county employee, which isn’t always an easy transition.
However, Bretl said Schiefelbein handled the transition well, and he kept an open mind when handling county issues.
County Board Chairwoman Nancy Russell said that Schiefelbein would ask good questions and was serious about his job as an elected official.
“He was a good contributor from the get go,” Russell said. “I felt he was well-liked.”
Russell and Bretl both said that Schiefelbein wasn’t shy to share his views on issues.
“He stated his opinion in a professional way, and he never attacked people personally,” Russell said.
“He called them as he saw them” Bretl added.
Bretl first met Schiefelbein when he was a county employee, but said he didn’t get to know him until he was elected to the board. Schiefelbein brought experience from the administrative side of law enforcement to the board. However, he shared with Bretl that he missed the action involved with being a police officer.
“One of the occupational hazards of rising through the ranks is you get a lot further from the action,” Bretl said. “His real passion was being right at the front line and going after the bad guy.”
Schiefelbein’s background with Walworth County made him a quick study of county issues, Bretl said.
“He took his job very seriously,” Bretl said. “I’m amazed at how quick of a study he was, and I have worked with hundreds of elected officials, he was a very quick learner.”
Picknell said Schiefelbein was also passionate about taekwondo and, according to his obituary which ran in the Janesville Gazette, he earned a fourth-degree black belt.