Senator Rick Gudex remembered for public service


FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) – The Fond du Lac community is mourning the loss of State Senator Rick Gudex. Gudex was found dead Wednesday morning in the Town of Eden in Fond du Lac County. The medical examiner determined he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

State Senator Rick Gudex was 48 years old at the time of his death. A one-term state legislator, back in April he told WisconsinEye why he wouldn’t be seeking a second term and would instead be returning to a private sector job in manufacturing.

According to Gudex, “Given some circumstances and kind of a decision that came my way, or an opportunity that came my way, I decided to go back after this first session.”

It was an understandable move to those who knew the married father of two.

Fond du Lac Fire Chief Peter O’Leary says, “He missed the people he worked with. When I last talked with him, he enjoyed his time in the Senate, but he was looking forward to getting back into private life.”

While Gudex spent more than twenty years in manufacturing, he also spent many years in local politics, first as mayor of Mayville and then as a member of Fond du Lac’s city council, even serving as president.

That’s where Tom Harre, the former Fond du Lac city manager, had an opportunity to see Gudex in action. “Man of stout principles, a man of trust, the type of person to me that exemplifies all of the right things about public service and the reasons people do it,” recalls Harre about Rick Gudex.

As a state senator since 2012, he truly impacted those he worked with and for.

Craig Molitor from the Fond du Lac Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says, “He was efficient, effective. He had empathy for the people. He was a huge supporter of his district and Fond du Lac specifically.”

And Gudex was involved in his community, preparing to take a leadership role in the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus.

“We could do more for the community through his ideas. He was very good at fundraisers. He’s all around a very good person,” says Dick Taddey, a fellow member of the Knights of Columbus Council 664.