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Remembering Dr. J.W. Remke, Jr., Generous and Dedicated Commmunity Leader

Location: Washington, DC

Remembering Dr. J.W. Remke, Jr., Generous and Dedicated Commmunity Leader -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 25, 2004)



Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of Dr. J.W. Remke, Jr. of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Dr. Remke was a dedicated community leader, a distinguished optometrist and businessman admired throughout Tennessee for his willingness to help others. Dr. Remke was always happy to use his time and his energies to build a better life for his community and its families.

Joe Remke knew early in life what he wanted to do and where he wanted to live. After graduating from the University of Tennessee and the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, he returned to his hometown of Lawrenceburg and soon opened his own business, the Remke Eye Clinic. For the next 50 years, Dr. Remke could be found helping his friends and neighbors see better-in Lawrenceburg, Waynesboro, Hohenwald or Lewisburg, even a few politicians in Nashville and Washington, D.C. For Dr. Remke, work was a joy, more a hobby than anything else, and something he looked forward to. Even at the age of 79, Dr. Remke saw patients every day, right up until the time of his brief illness.

Dr. Remke's commitment to his patients was truly outstanding-just like his commitment to his community. He was a founder of the 21st Century Council, the first economic and community development organization in Lawrence County. Thanks to his leadership, major employers including the Jones Apparel Group soon established operations in the area. I don't know of any community leader in Tennessee who has done more to attract industry to his community. Whenever there was a local need, Joe Remke gave generously. He had served as President of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, as Chairman of the Lawrenceburg Power Board and as president of the Lawrenceburg Lions Club. Dr. Remke, along with his late wife, Peggy Jo Remke, were equally dedicated to supporting the activities of their church, Lawrenceburg's Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Even with all of his work with community organizations and local businesses, Dr. Remke was perhaps celebrated most for his generous spirit and wise counsel. I benefited tremendously from such advice when he was kind enough to help me in my earliest campaigns. Whether it was a new business idea that needed help or just a relaxed visit with an old friend, folks from Lawrence County to Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville always knew they'd find the support and guidance they were looking for in a chat with Dr. Remke.

On behalf of his many friends in the Fifth District of Tennessee, I send my deepest condolences to Dr. Joe Remke's wonderful family.


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