Robert B. Markle
Conservation Warden Wall of Honor
Researched by Judith Borke,
Wisconsin Conservation Warden Museum
Robert B. Markle's death resulted from an automobile accident while the conservation warden was pursuing spear fishing violators outside of Park Falls, Price County, Wisconsin. The incident happened on May 8, 1966 as he and Special Warden Leo Stecker attempted to approach the violators' car after observing them spear fishing at night on Bass Lake with the aid of an underwater light. Upon seeing the officers, the violators sped away, with the two wardens in pursuit. Markle's car hit a frost heave, which threw the car out of control, overturning and pinning Markle under it. The violators kept going and were later apprehended.
Markle had served 30 years as a conservation warden, most of them at Mellen. He was the 1946 recipient of the annual Haskell Noyes Award given for outstanding warden service, and had recently been promoted to district warden. Much earlier, he had been an infantryman through four campaigns in Europe during World War II. He was highly respected and a friend to all who knew him. Conservation law enforcement officers from Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as state and county traffic officers attended the funeral at Park Falls Lutheran Church. Military burial was at Nola Cemetery. Markle was survived by his wife, son and daughter.
A stone marker with inscription was placed near the concession building at Copper Falls State Park, Mellen, as a memorial to Robert Markle. In addition, signs were erected in Ashland County in 1967 naming County Highway GG the R. B. Markle Memorial Drive. His name is engraved in the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial on the State Capitol grounds in Madison.
(Sources: The Park Falls Herald, May 12, 1966 and May 11, 1967; "Death of a Warden," by Dave Duffey, Outdoor Life, February, 1967, pp. 41-43 & 91-93; warden memorial reporting forms at Conservation Warden Museum, Poynette, where photos are also available.)