‘Fox Lake in her heart’: Former Mayor Nancy Koske dies

Nancy E. Koske, a longtime Fox Lake resident who served as the town’s first female mayor and as a village trustee, has died. She was 72.

Koske died Wednesday at home, surrounded by family.

Born Nancy Tipperreiter, Koske was a Chicago native but moved to Mundelein as a child. She graduated from what is now Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein and went on to work at Sub Surface Construction in Grayslake and what is now the Cottages assisted living center in Fox Lake.

Koske began her political service as a Fox Lake School District 114 board member, a post she held for 12 years. She was elected mayor in 2001 and served one term, until 2005, when she lost a reelection bid to Cindy Irwin by just 20 votes.

After a two-year break from political service, Koske was elected trustee in 2007 and went on to serve until retiring from political life in 2021.

During Koske’s years of municipal service, the village staff moved into the current village hall, the FoxComm 911 Dispatch Center opened, Lakefront Park expanded and Fox Lake expanded north to the Wisconsin state line, among other developments.

In a 2011 Daily Herald questionnaire, Koske explained why she thought she was a good candidate for reelection.

“I make decisions that are based on what is in the best interest of Fox Lake,” she said. “I love Fox Lake for what it is and what it can be.”

Media consultant Lee Filas got to know Koske when he was a Daily Herald reporter covering Fox Lake. He remembers Koske as a dynamic woman and an excellent public servant “who deeply loved her family and Fox Lake.”

Current Mayor Donny Schmit served as trustee alongside Koske and was mayor for her final years of elected service. She encouraged him to run for office, Schmit said, and they ran on the same ticket.

Schmit recalled having “spirited discussions” with Koske and then talking about their grandchildren together afterward.

“She had Fox Lake in her heart,” he said.

Koske was more than a politician. She sang with several cover bands and performed at Blarney Island in Antioch, the Lake County Fair and elsewhere.

Visitation is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at Hamsher Lakeside Funerals and Cremations, 12 North Pistakee Lake Road, Fox Lake. A funeral will follow there.

Burial will be at Grant Cemetery, which is on West Molidor Road east of Route 59 in Ingleside.

Koske’s survivors include: her husband, Robert; daughters Krista Koske, Kathrine Kotloski and Kelly Koske; three grandsons; and three siblings.

Instead of flowers, memorials can be made in Koske’s name to the Fox Lake Parks and Recreation Department, 66 Thillen Drive, Fox Lake, IL 60020. Those donations will help provide jobs for local students.

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