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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    February 01, 2017

    Final Thought
    Growing Up Is Overrated

    Don’t wait until “retirement” to do fun stuff. Judge Vocke has less free time now, but has he “matured”? Ha! That word is not in his vocabulary.

    Hon. Timothy L. Vocke

    The November 1995 Wisconsin Lawyer ran an article called “Lawyers at Play.” I was one of the lawyers. Others included Clyde Wynia, a “paleontologist” who constantly found dinosaurs in his backyard (he was a metal sculptor, so I suspect that he had something to do with the birth of those dinos). There was a sailboat racer, a race car crew member, a Nixon impersonator, an airplane builder, and several other interesting characters. I was described as a “cellist/martial artist” who formerly was a pilot, wrestling coach and official, and SCUBA diver.

    Timothy L. VockeJudge Timothy L. Vocke (retired), U.W. 1973, operates Vocke ADR in Rhinelander.

    Well, I’ve been contacted again to see how I’ve matured in the last 20-plus years. Ha! Matured? No way; that word is not in my vocabulary!

    Although I’ve not matured, I have gotten older. (My wife of 42 years says so, and I believe her.)

    I did use my martial arts for quite a while. Some friends and I taught reactive self-defense to high school girls just before they left for college, as well as to judges, court reporters, and Civilian Conservation Corps adults (man, they were rough to play with … a state trooper instructor and I had to sit on one for about five minutes to get him to calm down). We taught a Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew last spring, and I still attend belt testing as a judge and go to seminars where, rather than actively participating, I teach.

    I have a good excuse(s) for my change in interests: nine knee surgeries, a nice new shining hip, and various other parts of my body that I’ve broken by having fun. The best teaching experience was when my buddy and I, the state trooper, were asked to teach take-down and arrest tactics to our local sheriff department’s SWAT team. Can you imagine how much fun it is to beat up police officers and not get maced, clubbed, or arrested?

    Tim Vocke and grandsons

    “Gumpa” Tim Vocke poses with his three grandsons and one of his favorite toys.

    Well, those times are over, but it was fun while it lasted.

    The cello continues to be one of my best friends, and I continue to practice and play in area churches as well as occasionally participate in a recital.

    But here is the big change: I retired from the practice of law in 2009. Oh, I still sit as a reserve judge occasionally,and I do mediations and arbitrations. My plan was to spend more time exercising, riding my motorcycle, playing the cello, and reading nonlaw stuff. After all, I’d have all this additional time. Yeah, right!

    I now have three grandsons, and they like to play with Gumpa. I’m involved in the Boy Scout Council as a VP, so I have lots of meetings to attend out of town. I was on the Government Accountability Board for five years. I’m involved with my church and synod … so, yes, lots of meetings. I honestly think that in 2017, I have less free time than I had in 1995.

    My advice to lawyers is the same as it was back then: play; have a balanced life; don’t take yourself too seriously; try new stuff; and follow your bliss.

    Meet Our Contributors

    What was the most memorable trip you ever took?

    Timothy Vocke stands next to alligator

    The most memorable trip was to St. Lucia many years ago. Mari likes to snorkel, as do I; and I liked SCUBA, so this seemed to be a great trip.

    Dummy (that would be me); turned my watch the wrong way in Miami … you know, changing from CST to EST. We missed our plane. We were on time the next day. We were greeted by an attendant who asked what had happened. They had delayed the plane and called our names several times, thinking that we were simply late. I mumbled what had happened and she said, “Oh, you poor dears; would a bottle of champagne help?” It did.

    We got to the hotel after a wild ride like Mr. Toad’s. At the pool, we met a nice British couple. (They later visited us in Rhinelander and among their questions was, “Do we have time to drive over and see the Grand Canyon today?”)

    We decided, for some reason, that we should play a round of golf. Mari and I don’t play golf, and apparently our friends Nick and Sue didn’t either. We learned that we needed to keep the ball on the fairway, because bulls were tied to stakes so they could graze off the fairways. Sue hooked her ball off the fairway, so we waited for her. We heard her scream; she ran back to us with ants crawling on her legs. As we finished the seventh hole, my caddy said, “You don’t want to play the last two holes, do you?” I asked why not. He responded, “Well, you aren’t very good … yet!”

    We haven’t golfed since.

    Timothy L. Vocke, Vocke ADR, Rhinelander.

    Become a contributor! Are you working on an interesting case? Have a practice tip to share? There are several ways to contribute to Wisconsin Lawyer. To discuss a topic idea, contact Managing Editor Karlé Lester at (800) 444-9404, ext. 6127, or email Check out our writing and submission guidelines.

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