Cause of contractor’s death in O’Fallon, IL, lakeside unknown

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Charles “Chuck” Poettker pulls children in a children’s train from barrel-shaped cars through a field with a four-wheeler.

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Praise and condolences shower Charles “Chuck” Poettker, 69, of O’Fallon, founder and CEO of a large Metro East construction company. who died boating on Saturday on Lake Kentucky.

Officials may take months to determine the cause of his death.

“Chuck was a very good swimmer,” says Lauren Freinberg, spokeswoman for Pöttker Bau from Breese. “He was at the lake with his wife and another couple. He has a boat there and jumped into the water from behind and just never got up. “

Some people wonder if Poettker has had a heart attack or some other medical emergency, she said on Monday.

According to a press release from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources on Saturday night, searchers found Pöttker’s body about two and a half hours after he disappeared.

An autopsy was performed Sunday by the Madisonville regional medical examiner’s office of Western Kentucky who worked for the Trigg County’s coroner’s office.

“We won’t know what happened until the autopsy and toxicology results come back,” said Sgt. Daniel Richardson, state conservation officer for District 1. “And the toxicology results are now about 10 weeks because the coroner’s office is doing this Has changed blood test provider. You are about 10 weeks behind. “

Funeral arrangements for Pöttker were expected to be announced on Tuesday. They are made at the Moss Funeral Home with locations in Breese, Germantown and Trenton.

Pöttker Bau has been active in Breese for 41 years. It has approximately 200 employees and a second location in Charlotte, North Carolina. The management includes the sons Kevin, Ryan and Keith Poettker, the daughter Kim Luitjohan and the long-term employees Tom Albers and Jon Carroll.

Breeser Mayor Kevin Timmermann called Charles Pöttker an “icon of the city”.

“You are an excellent family,” he said. “You are top notch. They are very community oriented. They take care of Clinton County because Clinton County took care of them. You do quality work. They know how to run a business. “

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The managers of Poettker Construction are standing in front of their new Breese headquarters in 2019. They are, from left to right, Tom Albers, Jon Carroll, Keith Poettker, Charles Poettker, Kim Luitjohan, Ryan Poettker and Kevin Poettker. Provided

Regulars at Kentucky Lake

Poettker was the sixth fatality that year in District 1 waters of western Kentucky, including the Ohio River, Tennessee River, Mississippi River, Cumberland River, Lake Barkley, and Kentucky Lake.

Last week, a 31-year-old man died on Lake Barkley after his boat hit a big wave, he threw it overboard and then rolled over it.

Poettker and his wife Linda were regulars at Kentucky Lake.

“He kept his boat in the marina,” said Richardson. “The one (Sedan Ridge) they had was 47 feet long. It had bedrooms and a kitchen, so they probably stayed on the boat for the weekend. “

The boat anchored in the Sugar Bay area of ​​Trigg County at around 3 p.m. on Saturday when Poettker jumped off the rear bathing platform into the water and disappeared, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources press release. He wasn’t wearing a life jacket.

The department launched a search after a friend called 911, Chief Communications Officer Kevin Kelly said Monday.

“Our fish and wildlife officers are out on the water so they responded,” he said. “They have sonar equipment on their boat. They started searching (for Poettker), but there are other district search and rescue teams in the area. I’m not sure when they got to the scene. “

Divers found Pöttker’s body around 5:30 p.m., according to the press release.

Pöttker Construction announced his death Sunday on its website, including the following statement from Keith Poettker, who is serving as president of the company:

“It is with great sadness and deepest heart that I announce the death of my father and role model Chuck Poettker. Under his outstanding leadership, Pöttker Construction has built millions of quality relationships and buildings and has become one of the leading construction companies and best employers. “

The Post credited Poettker with “promoting and maintaining a culture of respect, honesty, courtesy, and teamwork”.

It also noted that Poettker served in the US Army during the Vietnam War. In 1971, he received a Bronze Star for Heroism when his unit was ordered to rescue two door gunners and recover the bodies of the pilot and co-pilot of a crashed helicopter in Laos.

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Charles “Chuck” Poettker, wearing a blue tie, will be honored along with other local veterans at the 2018 Belle Scott Dinner at Scott Air Force Base. Provided

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Charles “Chuck” Poettker and his wife Linda pose for a formal photo at the Poettker Construction Christmas party in 2019. Provided

“One of the good guys”

Almost 300 people commented Pöttker Bau’s Facebook page since Pöttker’s death was announced on Sunday.

They describe him as friendly, generous, “one of the good guys”, compassionate, positive, funny, a “true gentleman”, well-versed, an admired business and family man and a “basic equipment in the construction industry”.

Several people have referred to his favorite line: “It’s been my best day since yesterday.”

“The response has been overwhelming,” said Freinberg of Black Twig Marketing + Communications in Clayton, Missouri.

One of the Facebook commentators is Chris Funston, 52, from Wentzville, Missouri. Pöttker hired him in 2007 when he was “desperately” looking for work after firing his job in housing construction during the slump in the market.

Funston had no experience in commercial construction or government contracts, which make up the bulk of Poettker Construction’s business.

“(Chuck) took a huge leap of faith by offering me a position he didn’t even have open,” said Funston. “Basically, he only created one spot because he had the feeling that I could fit into the company.”

Funston worked for Poettker for 10 years and rose to Senior Project Manager before leaving for a position with less travel.

Funston still considers Pöttker to be the best boss he has ever had and teaches him not only about the construction business, but also about the compatibility of private and professional life. He remembers that Pöttker once reminded him not to send work-related emails on Sundays.

“He really took care of his people,” said Funston. “He knew the names of all of my children, my wife. He made a point of going around every morning and greeting everyone in the office. He made sure that every single person in this building felt like family. “

Poettker began his career in 1972 as an apprentice carpenter and attended evening courses in construction management at Belleville Area College, now Southwestern Illinois College. In 1980 he founded Pöttker Bau.

The company reached three major milestones in 2019. It posted record sales of 30% year over year, completed a new 40,000 square foot headquarters in Breese and opened a second location in Charlotte, where Keith Poettker now lives.

Local and county officials worked hard to help the company develop a package of government financial incentives to keep its headquarters in Breese, the mayor said.

After Charles Poettker passed away, Timmermann said, “We have lost a man who built a company that Clinton County is very proud of.”

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Charles “Chuck” Poettker Provided

Teri Maddox has been a reporter for 36 years and joined the Belleville News Democrat in 1990. She also teaches journalism at St. Louis Community College in Forest Park. She holds degrees from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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