Suamico man, murdered nearly 50 years ago protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources, remembered with newly named boat launch

Local News

SUAMICO, Wis. (WFRV) – The memory of a Suamico man, murdered nearly 50 years ago protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources, will live on thanks to a renamed boat launch. His family lobbied for the change and today it was officially unveiled.

At a boat launch in Suamico, a ceremony is underway honoring the life of Neil LaFave. A Wisconsin DNR game technician murdered in the Sensiba Wildlife Area, while on the job in 1971.

“His last call of duty he was actively doing what he was supposed to be doing to protect our natural resources,” said DNR Chief Conservation Warden Casey Krueger.

On the day Neil LaFave was murdered, he’d come to this wildlife preserve to post signs, but never returned home. An investigation led to the arrest and conviction of a suspect who LaFave had cited for hunting violations earlier that year.. But while his killer was caught, his family kept seeking closure for this senseless act.

“We want his story out there so people are aware of what had happened in the Village of Suamico,” said Nikki DeGreef, LaFave’s daughter.

Last year DeGreef lobbied local leaders to rename the Suamico Boat Launch after her father. Last spring the Brown County Board approved her request and today in a ceremony unveiled the change.

“We rename the Suamico Boat Launch after this special man. It will now and forever be known as the Neil L. LaFave Suamico Boat Launch,” said Brown County Supervisor Tom Lund.

“It is closure, it is closure, it really is,” said Peg Greatens, whose husband was murdered. “This is just something that will be remembered by everybody now which is wonderful, just wonderful.”

“It’s just overwhelming all the support we received,” DeGreef said.

And now nearly 50 years after his death LaFave’s story of sacrifice lives on.

“Folks like Neil are why Wisconsin has the resources it does,” Krueger said.

Here at this newly renamed boat launch – dedicated to a true guardian of our wildlife.

Neil LaFave was murdered on his 32nd birthday and worked 9 years with the DNR.

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