Renice Konik and Jim Kramlinger of Mequon are making the most of life, and they are having fun while doing it.
The couple is active both physically and mentally, a lifestyle that keeps the seniors “vibrant,” in Jim’s own words.
After five years of marriage, it seems that Jim could not have chosen a better word to describe the pair. Their passion for life was infectious in a recent phone interview, which had interviewer and interviewees alike laughing by the end.
Between the two of them, Jim and Renice enjoy seemingly infinite hobbies, including golf, hiking, gardening and biking.
“The goal is coffee shops and treats,” Jim said of their bike trips. “So, we bike until we get one and then we rest, have our coffee and our treat, then we bike a little more, and that’s a biking day.”
On top of their physical activities, Jim and Renice — who do not think of themselves as old, though they are 81 and 80, respectively — stay sharp by auditing college classes and spending time with their own circles of friends.
“My most memorable classes were classes that I’ve taken at the university from Rachel Baum,” Renice said, referring to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “I took many classes from her.”
Among these classes were courses on the Holocaust, which helped prepare Renice to volunteer at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee.
“My favorite thing is when I would act as a docent, taking school groups,” Renice said. “And several times, Jim and I would partner, or team, when we had middle school and high school kids, and he was great with the high school kids.”
“They develop such wonderful programs,” Jim added. But he protested that his volunteerism at the museum was minor compared to that of Renice, who has been putting time in at the museum since it opened to the public in 2008.
“He is being very modest,” Renice teased, reminding Jim that they had worked together several times. “And he was excellent. I’ll say that; he won’t tell you.”
“She’s my best supporter,” Jim said.
The couple see the Jewish Museum Milwaukee as more than just an opportunity to stay active. They praised its programs and changing exhibits, calling them educational and exciting. In addition, they complimented the museum’s staff on their intelligence and willingness to share information. Working as docents gives Jim and Renice an opportunity to pass that information on to younger generations.
Though the pandemic halted the volunteering opportunities at the museum and caused Jim and Renice to be physically isolated from their families, the couple managed to maintain a positive attitude even through their moments of sadness.
“While we were away from so many people, we were lucky to have one another,” Jim said.