obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00


A hardworking man devoted to the family he adored, Warren Harwick will be remembered not only for his intellect, but for his love of travel and treasured times spent with family. Warren lived fully and completely at every opportunity. He experienced a wealth of travel, and a wide variety of adventures throughout his life one can only dream of. He was a fine example for his children to live by, and leaves much to be cherished in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

From the world of fashion to the world to politics, forces clashed in the 1920s to produce one of the most explosive decades of the century. An age of prohibition, prosperity followed many new advancements, discoveries, and inventions of the day which greatly improved the American way of life. Yet nothing compared to the delight experienced by Harry and Florence (Case) Harwick when on August 7, 1923 they welcomed the birth of their son, Warren J. Harwick in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Raised in the quaint borough of Darby, as the youngest, young Warren joined his older brothers, Robert, Harry, Richard, and William. His father designed railroad under carriages while his mother looked after their bustling household. She also kept busy as a volunteer working with homeless children, often bringing home infants and small children to care for until families to call their own could be found.

As a youngster, Warren was a child of his generation. He enjoyed a childhood typical of the times, creating endless adventures with his brothers and neighborhood friends. He and his siblings thoroughly enjoyed summers at their cottage in Clementon, New Jersey where fun times were had by all. A family of faith, the boys abided by the firm rule to put on shoes and dress for church to attend services every Sunday. During his youth, Warren enjoyed hobbies such as stamp collecting and first-day covers. Photography was a lifelong hobby he enjoyed. In fact, he was a photographer for his high school yearbook, and even built his own dark room.

Warren attended Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia like his father and brothers, who had already graduated. It was during this time when Warren met the young woman who stole his heart. He took notice of Inga Rihm, a freshman at Drexel, and introduced himself. However, with the onset of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy’s V-12 Program. Warren and his brothers served during the war, which made for worrisome times for their parents.

Warren finished his engineering degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT he was elected president of the student branch of the American Society of Engineers, competed on the swim team, and found time to design and make his own holiday cards. After graduating from MIT with his bachelors degree in mechanical engineering, Warren went on to Naval Reserve School at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. After Inga graduated from Drexel, she married Warren on August 24, 1945, the same day he was commissioned as an Ensign. The newlyweds traveled by train to San Francisco, California where Warren was shipped out to the Pacific as the engineering officer on the USS Karin, a refrigeration ship supplying frozen food to the fleet at Bikini Atoll.

After he completed his tour of duty, he returned home to Inga in Philadelphia where he worked at the Franklin Institute. They moved to Boston and Warren used the GI bill, earning his master’s degree from Harvard University in mechanical engineering. The GI bill also allowed Warren and Inga to purchase their first home in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. There Warren and Inga welcomed three children into their lives with the births of Victoria, Warren, Jr., and Ronald, and where Warren became very active in civic affairs.

As one of the youngest engineers to be certified, Warren earned his professional engineering license in Pennsylvania. He worked at the Budd Company, and in 1958 joined GE in Burlington, Vermont. While he was manager of sales for its Missile and Space Division he was involved in the development of the M61 Gatling Minigun. He remained with GE, moving to their Advanced Research and Development Center in Schenectady, New York as manager of mechanical equipment involved in the development of many exotic concepts like the mechanical walking truck.

In 1965, Rex Chainbelt recruited Warren to manage its new Research and Development Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By now, Warren’s family took in stride the experience of moving, with the Milwaukee move as their sixth. During this time, they also added a German foreign exchange student, Armin, to their family for a year. Both at the GE and Rex Research Centers, Warren invited several young German engineers to work with him. They returned home with a better knowledge of American engineering methods and business practices. GE felt it was a good foreign trade program, and through the years, Warren remained in touch with them.

In 1970, Warren was named president of Racine Hydraulics. As an engineer, Warren enjoyed the concept of selling new designs, many which he originated. They returned to Milwaukee in 1975 when Warren bought the Plastic Air Valve Line from Rexnord, and they began their own company, ALPS. Designing leak inspection systems, they were used by most dairies to inspect molded plastic milk bottles as they were extruded from the blow molding machine. In time, Coca Cola bought the patented process.

Warren and Inga sold their company in 1990 and instead of retiring, Warren began consulting for Buck GMBH in Germany. He and Inga lived for months at a time in Germany, renting a cozy vacation apartment near the Black Forest. While there, many friends and family came to visit, and they delighted in showing them around Europe. Knowing well his love of railroads and trains, Warren’s German friends even presented him with a railroad sign he carried home on the plane. It is now proudly displayed in the Luther Manor Train Room.

Warren and Inga were longtime members of Lake Park Lutheran Church. As a father and grandfather, he was a source of great encouragement to his family. When his children and grandchildren graduated from college, he gave each of them one of his favorite books, the Go-Getter, to inspire them to, “Succeed by meeting your challenges”. He also had a real traffic light fitted with all green lights at his office door to symbolize, “GO! GO! GO!”

Throughout the years, Warren and Inga had an unrivaled wanderlust. They traveled to hundreds of interesting and sometimes exotic destinations. They spent time traveling the jungles of Borneo in longboats, eating food that was often unrecognizable, and explored bat caves. For many years, they took vacations all over the world with the Walkers, and the more adventurous, the better. Additional highlights of their travels included experiencing the Iguassu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil, The Great Wall of China, and the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River where Warren learned some of the construction challenges from a Chinese student engineer. They went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, as well as in Indonesia, Key West, Cozumel, and Hawaii. Warren was elected “Chief” of a Maori Village in New Zealand. After exploring Machu Picchu in Peru, they traveled down the Amazon and Warren caught a piranha and had it grilled for dinner. They also took in a three week safari through Tanzania, witnessing thousands of animals migrating across the Serengeti. Wherever he went, Warren had his camera ready.

Warren was willing to try anything new. In Vermont, the whole family learned to ski at Stowe, and Chalet Cochon in Canada. They also skied out West, and with friends in Austria. They loved sharing their penchant for travel. In 1962 they spent three months with their children touring Europe. In 1994 and 1995, Warren and Inga took their grandchildren to Europe to see the sights. On one Easter vacation, they took the entire family to Las Vegas. Although biking wasn’t one of his favorite sports, Warren was a “good sport”, and at the age of 73 enjoyed the 225 mile Elderhostel bike tour with Inga along the Danube in Austria. He especially liked stopping for coffee and cake, or a cold glass of beer!

Over the years, Warren kept up his hobby of model trains and his membership to the European Train Enthusiasts Club. He helped set-up the train display at Milwaukee’s German Fest each year, and always built a big Marklin model train yard in his basement. He liked having children over to see the little German villages and the trains he had traveling over bridges and through tunnels. No matter where they lived, Warren always had a workshop for his projects.

When Warren first moved to Milwaukee, he became an avid Packer fan. One of his greatest highlights was watching the team practice for the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. In 2003 for his 80th birthday, their children treated them to a Green Bay Packer game at Lambeau Field. Warren and Inga were active in the Lake Park Lawn Bowling Club where he served as president in 1995 and 1996, overseeing the merger of the men’s and women’s clubs into one. Together with their family, they shared a wonderful reunion at Annapolis, Maryland to celebrate Warren and Inga’s 60th wedding anniversary.

After Warren suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2007, he lived at East Castle and in 2008 moved to Luther Manor Special Care. Inga sold their home and moved into the Terrace at Luther Manor so she could visit him each day. Warren knew he was loved, and was exceptionally cared for by the staff at Luther Manor. He enjoyed riding on the big wheelchair swing in the garden, and the sing-a-longs with his favorite tune being, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”. He especially liked going for ice cream with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Warren J. Harwick passed away on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at the age of 91. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 70 years, Inga. He was the dear father of Victoria (David) Olsen, Warren (Marybeth) Harwick, Jr., and the late Ronald Harwick; proud grandfather of Jodi (Andrew), Kristin (Teck Kim), and Lindsey; Brandon Harwick and Tiffany (Tom); cherished great-grandfather of Charlie, Allison, Ava, Lex, and Kol; and further survived by other relatives and friends.

Family and friends will gather at Luther Manor Faith and Education Center, 4545 N. 92nd St. on Saturday March 7, 2015 from 1:00 PM until the time of his memorial service at 2:00 PM. Memorials to Lake Park Lutheran Church or Luther Manor Foundation are appreciated. The family gratefully appreciates the compassionate care that Warren received all these years from the Luther Manor staff. To share a favorite memory or photo of Warren and to sign his online guestbook, please visit

Past Comments

ALPS-Air Logic Power Systems

Warren was the founder of our company, ALPS, and because of his visionary leadership, ALPS continues to prosper. We are saddened to hear of Warren’s passing. His legacy remains strong with the ALPS employees who worked with Warren.

Warren Stumpe

When Warren left Rexnord’s R&D Operation to become President of their Racine Hydraulics Unit, I was forunate to be offered the job to replace him, which I did in 1971. When my family moved from Connecticut to Wisconsin, we took a look at buying his and Inga’s home in Glendale too, but we didn’t. I was fortunate to follow in his footsteps.

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