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.