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‘A big loss to our region, state’; Walworth County Visitors Bureau director dies

New Walworth County Visitors Bureau Director Tim Malenock stands next to some materials that the bureau uses to help promote tourism in the area

Walworth County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Tim Malenock stands next to some marketing materials in April 2021 that the visitors bureau uses to help promote tourism in the area. Malenock died Oct. 14.

Walworth County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Tim Malenock discusses his excitement for his new job.

Walworth County Visitors Bureau’s Executive Director Tim Malenock died Thursday, Oct. 14, the Walworth County Visitors Bureau Board confirmed on Monday.

“His energy and experience will be missed by the county’s tourism industry. Tim made a mark on the industry during his short time in Walworth County,” the Walworth County Visitors Bureau Board said in a statement.

He was 42.

No information has yet been made public about his funeral arrangements.

Before being hired as the visitor bureau’s executive director in March of this year, Malenock worked as the director of visitor services and group sales for the Milwaukee Public Museum.

He also has held tourism promotion positions with the Milwaukee Art Museum and John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

“It is a big loss to our region and state,” Visit Lake Geneva CEO and President Stephanie Klett said after hearing about the loss. Visit Lake Geneva is not directly affiliated with the county’s visitor bureau, but is a tourism partner.

“I was blessed to work with Tim as a fellow promoter of Walworth County Tourism. He was so happy to be here, and with his work background, Walworth County was very lucky to get him,” Klett said.

“The first thing you notice about Tim is his big booming theatrical voice, yet his style and personality is very laid back. He’s easy to like because he doesn’t need or want the credit. He loves promoting people, attractions, and events. Anything that’s positive ... More than anything Tim was kind and soulful. He will be sorely missed.”

Following news of Malenock’s passing, VISIT Lake Geneva made the announcement it was postponing its annual dinner and impact awards scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Talking about the position in April about a month after being hired, Malenock said he was excited for the new position with the visitor’s bureau and even at the time talked about how the position wasn’t about him—it was about helping the community.

“I’m just really excited to be in this role to be able to help the local businesses and organizations to elevate them more and to make them shine because this is not about me,” Malenock said. “It’s about working with these businesses and this community to elevate this county as a tourism destination, so it’s a great honor.”

Before working in tourism, he used to work in retail management, working for Gap, Inc and managing an Old Navy Store, and then was introduced to the industry through the Shedd Aquarium.

“I’m a big, avid fan of travel and tourism around the country so it’s a rewarding industry to be a part of. There’s such great people in it. It’s about forming strong relationships,” Malenock said.

As for free time, outside work, family came first which is what he said when talking to the Regional News in April after stating the position.

“I spend time with family. I have family in Chicago, family in Ohio,” Malenock said.

What else did he love? “Gardening and landscaping,” he said, and, “things that are related to superheroes.”

In talking about how to proceed going forward, the county visitor’s bureau board said, “We remain absolutely committed to promoting the Walworth County tourism industry, which is recovering from the pandemic’s impact on travel and socializing.”

“To make sure nothing gets in the way of industry promotion, we are dusting off continuity plans and talking to tourism partner organizations in the area. The board will move quickly, but deliberately to make sure the decisions we make will continue the momentum Walworth County tourism has achieved in the last six months. We expect to share updates about our plans in coming weeks.”

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