July 7, 2009

Ken Vetrovec killed in Nevada motorcycle accident

Ken Vetrovec, former chairman of the Racine County Board, was killed Monday in a motorcycle accident near Ely, Nevada.

Vetrovec was on vacation, riding his red 2000 Indian Chief across country on historic Route 66. His trip started on June 22, and he reached the endpoint of Route 66 in Santa Monica, CA, on Sunday.

On Monday, he headed toward home on US 395, the East Sierra Scenic Highway, having logged 3,500 miles. His final blog post Monday morning is here. The pictures, left, are from the blog, Motorcycle Riding Route 66, which he created to chronicle his trip. As he wrote at the start, "If you share my love of Route 66, I hope that our paths will cross. If not on the road, then on this blog."

The Nevada Highway Patrol said the accident took place on US 6, about 37 miles east of Ely; Vetrovec's motorcycle drifted off the highway on a curve and struck a steel mile marker. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Trooper Jim Stewart recovered Vetrovec's camera from the crash site and said he apparently was taking pictures because the last image on his camera showed the curve where he crashed. He was wearing a helmet.

Vetrovec, 59, of Caledonia, was executive director of the Gateway Technical College Foundation. He served six terms on the County Board, representing the 15th District. He lost a bid for re-election in 2006.

He joined Rotary in 1979, was a member of Rotary West, and was planning to volunteer at the Great Midwest Dragon Boat Festival this weekend. Vetrovec, an Eagle Scout, was a 2007 recipient of the Cliff Dochterman Award given to a Rotarian for distinguished and dedicated service to Scouting.

He leaves his wife, Janet, and sons, David, Brian and Paul.

Bryan Albrecht, Gateway Technical College president, said today, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ken's family as he has led an inspirational journey in life. The Gateway community is deeply saddened by his loss and honors Ken for his compassionate service to others.

“Ken was dedicated to Gateway, our students and the Foundation. He will be missed, but his efforts to continually build the Foundation and its resources for the benefit of our students and community will be his legacy.”


  1. My sympathies to his family. He sounds like a great man.

  2. Very shocking and sad news. Ken was a true gentleman and a class act. My condolences to his family.

  3. This is a real loss to the Racine Community. Ken was a great public servant and volunteer. He will be missed!

    My condolences to his wife and children.

  4. Sad to see someone so dedicated to the positive things in this community lost in an accident. My sympathy to his family. He will be missed.

  5. I certainly seems as though Ken died doing something he enjoyed so immensely...he completed his ride.

    And how many leave this world that way, loving what we are doing?

    RIP Mr. V...

  6. I am very saddened by this news. Ken was one of the best representatives for Scouting that I've ever met. Our entire community has been diminished by his loss. My deepest sympathies to the Vetrovec family!

  7. My sincerest wishes to Ken's family. He was a great man, a great asset to the Scouting organization and a great father.

    When he spoke of his family his face would light up and glow. That is a true family man. Cherish the fond memories forever, they can never be forgotten.

  8. Kathy Burton7/07/2009 4:12 PM

    Ken Vetrovec was an outstanding member in the community. He was a great mentor and friend; and I will miss him.

    My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.

  9. I knew Ken a bit. Seemed like a good man to me. Condolences to his family.

  10. Altough I only met him once, He was pleasant,friendly and helpful. It was because of him that we had a beautiful hide on our lastest bike trip. He told us of a great road to ride. Thank you Ken for sharing your knowledge of the road with us. You will be missed.

  11. Ken had stopped in here, Henrys Ra66it Ranch, Staunton, Illinois on June 24th. What an enjoyable conversation we had about 66, his Indian cycle and life in general. He was truly doing what his passion was. Seems like it was today, as the vivid memory of him exists. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

    Rich and the other 25 of Montana's legacy

  12. Sad loss for our community. Strength and well wishes to his family. He will be missed.

  13. We had just spent the weekend with him in Grove, OK and he was so happy and relaxed. Our prayers go out to Ken's wife and children. He will be missed

  14. So sorry for your loss. Just found out about this today. Ken was on the Route 66 People web site which is how I found out. My deepest condolences.

    Lake Geneva

  15. Gerald Harrell7/09/2009 4:28 PM

    Old Coots on Scoots Chapter 43
    We met Ken last week on his route 66 ride. We had lunch together and shared motorcycle stories then he was on his way to California. We all enjoyed Ken's company and were shocked to here of his accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.