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PROFILE: Commissioner Tom Rethlake

January 25, 2012

Post and Mail photo / James Thomlison
Commissioner Tom Rethlake


COLUMBIA CITY — Whitley County Commissioner Tom Rethlake grew up on farmlands in Huntington County where he attended the now defunct Union Center High School. While there, he played basketball and baseball.

He went on to play both sports for four years at Huntington College, being named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II all-conference team for basketball during a season in which he was one of the leading scorers in the state.

“I enjoyed college very much. It was a small school so it was something I could relate with,” Rethlake said. “It was a good atmosphere.”

In 1958, after earning his degree, Rethlake began teaching business and physical education at Avilla High School (now part of East Noble High School).

In 1968, having earned his master’s degree in secondary school administration, Rethlake became assistant principal and athletic director for Columbia City High School.

A decade after joining the school, he relinquished his assistant principal duties to focus exclusively on running the athletics department.

In 2000, Rethlake became a Whitley County Commissioner and has held the position ever since. He has served as chairman three times in his 12 years of service, most recently in 2011.

Rethlake has been married to his second wife, Jeanne, for 12 years. He has three children and 13 grandchildren.
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