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Albert E. Reif

Conservation Warden Wall of Honor

Einar P. Johnson

Researched by Judith Borke,
Wisconsin Conservation Warden Museum

Albert E. Reif, Supervisor for the Kettle Moraine State Forest at Campbellsport, was serving as a special conservation warden during the 1942 deer hunting season when he was shot by a man he was questioning in Florence County about illegal deer hunting. On November 18, Reif and Warden Floyd Sanders encountered the man after hearing gun shots prior to the hunting season. While Sanders searched the interior of the man's car, Reif was shot once through the temple. Sanders and the assailant then engaged in gunfire until Sanders exhausted the ammunition in both his and Reif's guns. The assailant then escaped into the woods. The assailant was arrested after ten days of search by Wisconsin and Michigan officers, and found guilty of second-degree murder.

Reif, 33, was born in Switzerland in 1909 and immigrated with his parents to Milwaukee when eight months old. He graduated from South Division High School and in 1932 received a forestry degree from the University of Michigan. He had been with the Wisconsin Conservation Department for ten years and contributed greatly to acquisition of land for the Kettle Moraine State Forest. His likable personality and professionalism earned the admiration of all his friends and associates.

Reif was survived by his wife, Cunera, and children Albert Jr., 10, Robert, 9, and Donna, 4. Funeral services were at Borgwardt Chapel in Milwaukee with the Masons officiating. Burial was in Arlington Cemetery, Milwaukee. A memorial in his honor is at Mauthe Lake near the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit headquarters. It is a cenotaph with an inscribed plaque on a rock along a nature trail. Around 1970, the Albert Reif Memorial Woods was established on his son's property near Portage. His name is engraved on the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial on the State Capitol grounds in Madison.

(Sources: The Florence Mining News, Feb. 20, 1943, p.1; Milwaukee Journal, Nov. 19, 1942; Milwaukee Sentinel, Nov. 19, 1942; Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, Dec. 1942; personal communications with widow Cunera Diedrich and son Albert Reif, Jr., 11-5-1997, and with grandson Ron Reif, 10-29-1997; warden memorial reporting form at Conservation Warden Museum, Poynette.)