September 27, 2023 – Cyril “Pete” Korte, founder of Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc., has passed away at the age of 85.  Pete died Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at his home in Highland, IL.

He was born on Thursday, February 3, 1938, in Breese, IL, the son of Ben and Mary (nee Toennies) Korte.  He married Jane E. Korte (nee Luitjohan) on July 12, 1958 at St. Paul Catholic Church, Highland, Illinois.

In 1958, Pete borrowed $500 from his father-in-law to purchase a trencher and backhoe to install gas service for Illinois Power in the City of Highland.  The following year he was joined by Joe Luitjohan, his brother-in-law, and the two worked countless hours growing their business, which today focuses on construction management, general contracting, and design-build.

Pete was known throughout the construction industry and was a 50-year board member of the Southern Illinois Builders Association (SIBA), including two years as president.  He also had affiliations with the Midwest Truckers Association and American General Contractors Association, serving as a national director with the latter group in 1986.

He dedicated much of his life to service to the community and his home parish, St. Paul of Highland.  Among the organizations he was involved in were the Knights of Columbus, Highland Jaycees, and Highland Fire Department.  In 1976, Pete was Chairman of St. Paul’s Kirchenfest and the Highland Homecoming.  He also previously served as president of the Tri-Township Water District.

Camp Ondessonk, a Catholic youth camp in the Shawnee National Forest, was particularly dear to Pete Korte.  He served on the camp’s board for a number of years, launched their annual golf outing, and provided labor for a number of camp improvements.  Pete once explained his reasons for supporting Camp Ondessonk. “I believe in the growth of children. I am very passionate about the outdoors and feel it’s essential that children get as much outdoor experience as possible.”

The 28th Annual Camp O Golf Benefit is Saturday, September 30 at Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course in Okawville.

In 2004, Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. was named Family Business of the Year by the SIUE School of Business.  In an interview prior to receiving the award, Pete said, “Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. is one of my greatest achievements, and my mark on the world.  My life has been very successful, and the Lord has been good to me and my family.”

Cyril “Pete” Korte is survived by his wife, Jane; children, Gregg, Kevin, Gloria, Sandra, Janice, Tammara, and Karen; 28 grandchildren; 36 great grandchildren; 2 great great grandchildren; and brother, Jerome “Dick” Korte.

Visitation will be held from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Thursday, September 28, 2023, at Trinity Hall, St. Paul Catholic Church in Highland, IL (enter through the south entrance) and from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM on Friday, September 29, 2023, at Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland, IL.

Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 AM on Friday, September 29, 2023, at St. Paul Catholic Church in Highland, IL, with Fr. Pat G. Jakel, Pastor, Celebrant.

Interment will be at Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Highland, IL.

Memorial contributions may be made to Camp Ondessonk or St. Paul School Educational Foundation.

September 16, 2023 – Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. partnered with On Board Charcuterie to be a Monet level sponsor of this year’s Highland Street Art Fest. We sponsored Catie Whitworth, who with the assistance of her brother, Jacob, created a colorful, whimsical banana. Catie said she wanted to do something with a “1970s vibe.” Catie and Jacob are the children of K & L’s vice president, John Whitworth.  Their artwork placed 2nd in the Amateur 19-23 category.  The festival is joint venture of the Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Arts Council.

September 6, 2023 – A day that’s been years in the making took place on a bluff on the west side of Valmeyer. A brief groundbreaking ceremony was held September 6 for Waterloo’s new water treatment plant. The journey began in February 2019 when the Waterloo City Council retained HMG Inc. to design a new water treatment plant. In 2019 and 2021, the city purchased land from the Village of Valmeyer for the future site of the plant and the well. In April of this year, Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. was awarded the low bid of $15,988,500 to construct the plant. Officials from the City of Waterloo, K & L, and HMG participated in the groundbreaking.

August 8, 2023 – K & L is offering a new outreach program to area youth. Construction Time is a 40-minute program that includes the reading of construction-themed books, a discussion on construction jobs, and a chance to try on real construction helmets and safety vests. K & L’s marketing coordinator, John Goldsmith, leads the program, which is provided for free. The first Construction Time programs were held at the Greenville Public Library on June 1 and the Highland Public Library on July 12.  Another program is scheduled September 9 at the Glen Carbon Library.  Construction Time is ideal for kids from ages 5 to 8.  For more information, contact Goldsmith at (618) 654-9877.

June 30, 2023 – A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday, June 30 for the new East Medical Clinic at Marshall Browning Hospital in DuQuoin, Illinois.  The 4,700 SF clinic was created from the north portion of Marshall Browning Estates, an assisted living facility.  Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. led the construction effort, transforming apartments to exam rooms, reception area, conference room, breakroom, and waiting room.  Following the ribbon cutting, tours were given of the facility and many attending commented on how beautiful it was.  Dan Eaves, hospital CEO, commented, “It’s a facility I’m very proud of.”  Representing K & L at the ribbon cutting were Gregg and Celeste Korte, John Whitworth, Al Toennies, Chris Kattenbraker, and Jason Schwarz.

June 12, 2023 – Middle school and high school students from various school districts, including Highland, participated the week of June 25-16 in the Madison County Regional Office of Education’s Construction Camp. This is the third year for the weeklong camp, which is open to 7th through 12th graders.  Students create a variety of projects alongside career and technical education (CTE) teachers and seasoned construction professionals.

Jason Schwarz, a project superintendent for Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc., spent a day helping seventeen 7th graders build doghouses that will be donated to the Metro East Humane Society.  He demonstrated the proper use of tools and provided a helping hand when needed.  Each student was given a K & L construction pencil to take home.  Schwarz commented that he enjoyed working with the kids and encouraging them to consider a career in the building trades.

June 9, 2023 – Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. (K & L) recently partnered with Operating Engineers Local 520 to donate carpenters and laborers to a foundation pour at the latest Habitat for Humanity house in Collinsville.  Howard Concrete Pumping also donated manpower and equipment to the project.  Over the course of several days, six K & L employees – Travis Catron, Travis Lappe, Jim Lautz, Jason Schwarz, Kyle Schwarz, and Jacob Theising – spent a total of 70 hours helping.  K & L thanks our own Travis Catron, who coordinated the concrete pour with Local 520’s Rusty Redman.

This is the Lewis and Clark Affiliate’s seventh house in Collinsville, but 70th overall since 1995.  The Lewis & Clark region also includes chapters in Alton, Bond County, Edwardsville/Glen Carbon, and O’Fallon.

Kim Hicks, Collinsville Family Nurture Chair, said, “Besides volunteering at the build site and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, our Habitat partner is a working mom with one daughter.  She is also a proud member of the Army National Guard. Her vision is to work alongside community volunteers to provide a beautiful, affordable home in which her family will thrive.”

Anyone wishing to share their building skills can contact Vince Livie, volunteer coordinator, at  or by messaging their Facebook page, Lewis & Clark Habitat for Humanity, Collinsville, IL.

K & L will be a corporate sponsor of Highland Speedway in 2023, the 62nd consecutive season of racing on the quarter-mile dirt track.  K & L will be sponsoring the new Driver’s Profile Wall, located on the chain-link fence near the ticket shed.  Between 20 and 30 drivers will be highlighted on the fence with individual signs.  K & L’s logo will be prominently featured in the display.

Racing begins on April 1 and will include Super Late Models, Modifieds, ProMods, Street Stocks, and Warriors.  According to a press release from Highland Speedway, “two Sprint Car events are also on the schedule, and for the first time in many years Midgets will return.”

K & L looks forward to supporting Highland Speedway, which attracts thousands of race fans each year.

Last fall, K & L was a sponsor of Chad Lappe’s team in the 24-Hour Laps for Leaps event at Highland Speedway.  Teams vied for the most laps recorded in 24 consecutive hours.  The Lappe team finished second.  Funds raised benefited Leaps of Love, a group that supports children with brain tumors and other cancers.

Korte & Luitjohan Contractors purchased toys for 10 children in Caritas Family Solution’s annual Angel Tree program. K & L employees Traci Albers, Bill Blechinger, Janet Gillespie, John Goldsmith, Lisa Pontious, and Cynthia Simpson did our shopping. John Whitworth, K & L vice president, delivered the toys to Alexis and Cody in Caritas’s Highland office on Friday, December 2, 2022.  K & L President Gregg Korte serves on Caritas’s board of directors.

Korte & Luitjohan President Gregg Korte delivered toys November 30th to Hillsdale Demolition & Contracting for their 1st Annual Community Toy Drive. Ley Woods, Hillsdale’s general manager, accepted the donation. The company was founded in 2014 by Lakkia Davis-Hynes, whose grandfather had also been in the construction industry.