2017-02-26 / Insight

‘I know every rock in the township’

Ron Cischke has served Goodland Township for 46 years
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

Ron Cischke has served as Goodland Township supervisor for 46 years. 
Photo by Phil Foley Ron Cischke has served as Goodland Township supervisor for 46 years. Photo by Phil Foley GOODLAND TWP. — Ron Cischke wasn’t born in Goodland Township, but he’s spent nearly all his 79 years in the eastern Lapeer County community and 46 of them as the township supervisor.

He’s been the Goodland Township supervisor as long as most county employees have been alive and gives no indication of closing the books anytime soon.

“If you don’t keep your mind and body active, you go to pot,” he said.

He said his love of public service probably got its spark when he was a student at Imlay City High School. “I was active in 4-H and FFA,” he recalled. In 1953 his parliamentary team went to Kansas City for a national competition and came back with third place.

“A bunch of us ended up in township government,” including Bob Sutton, who served as Lapeer Township’s supervisor for years, he said.

Cischke said he’ll likely serve his township as long as his wife, Ruthie, will let him.

He said he was milking cows on his farm on Blacks Corners Road when Harold Williams approached him on New Year’s Day in 1969 about taking over as supervisor.

The state had just switched from a board of supervisors system to a board of commissioners for running the county. Prior to 1969 the county’s 18 township supervisors, plus one representative each from Imlay City and Lapeer met once a month to decide county issues.

“I think that was the best form of government we ever had,” Cischke said. “Everybody had an agenda and nobody got left out.” He said each township supervisor knew what was going on in his community on a daily basis. “All those old supervisors smoked cigars and drank whiskey,” he said with a smile.

When the state created the county commission Williams decided to serve on it, which meant he had to step down as Goodland Township supervisor. Cischke was appointed to the seat and he’s been there ever since.

Cischke came to the township in 1948 with his uncle’s family, which had a farm on 19 Mile at John R. He was born in East Detroit, one of seven children.

He took a run to become a state representative in 2000 and lost. Cischke enjoys being township supervisor because it offers an opportunity to have a direct impact on people’s lives.

“I love people. I love helping people,” he said. “Every four years I say, ‘This is it,’ but it gets me out of the house.”

Over the years Cischke has farmed, owned a construction company, drove a milk truck and worked for the Construction Code Authority. He said between farming and hunting, “I know every rock in the township.”

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