Earl Gerhard Ehrke, age 85, of Glencoe, died Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, at Glencoe Regional Health Services Long Term Care in Glencoe.
He was born Dec. 21, 1927, in Lester Prairie, the son of Frederich Jr. and Ida (Fruetel) Ehrke. Earl was baptized in the Christian faith as an infant Jan. 15, 1928, by the Rev. H. B. Witzke at his home, and was later confirmed in his faith as a youth March 17, 1940, by the Rev. Martin L. Seybold at the Evangelical and Reformed Church, now Prairie Community Church, in Lester Prairie.
Earl helped on the family farm and received his education at District 5 country school in McLeod County.
He was united in marriage to Gladys Vorlicek May 9, 1950, by the Rev. Walter Fischer at Czech Presbyterian Church in Silver Lake. Earl and Gladys made their home on a farm in Bergen Township until 2012, when Earl became a resident of Glencoe Regional Health Services Long Term Care in Glencoe. Their marriage was blessed with three children, Denise, Douglas and Mark. Earl and Gladys shared 52 years of marriage, until Gladys passed away Aug. 26, 2002.
Earl was a dairy farmer, plus partial owner of EFG Tilling, worked for Radtke Excavating in Lester Prairie, and did cleanup at Green Giant in Glencoe.
He was a member at Evangelical United Church of Christ in Lester Prairie, serving two terms on the church council, two minister search committees, and financial chairman for the building committee.
In Earl’s later years, he was a member at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Glencoe, serving on a search committee.
He was also a member of Western Fraternal in Hutchinson, Farm Bureau, and a board member of the Lester Prairie Farmer’s Elevator in Lester Prairie.
Earl raised dairy cattle, hogs, and worked the land, providing everything that his family needed to lead an enjoyable life. When work was done, Earl and Gladys often went to a polka dance.
Earl enjoyed dancing, hunting, fishing, bird watching, gardening, listening to music, playing cards, and traveling abroad and in the United States. He loved to play his harmonica, especially at nursing homes, jam sessions, and church services.
Earl had a sense of humor and enjoyed telling jokes. He cherished the time spent with his friends and family, especially his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchild.
He is survived by his children, Denise Landin and her husband, Kurt, Douglas Ehrke and his wife, Suzanne, all of Glencoe, and Mark Ehrke and Andrew Ruan of Beijing, China; grandchildren Brian Landin and his wife, Jill, of Richfield, Christine Dammann and her husband, Maurice, of Lester Prairie, Daniel Ehrke and his wife, Kristal, Carrie Schrader and her husband, Douglas, all of Glencoe, Karen Hecksel and her husband, Jason, of Silver Lake, Sharon Hecksel and her husband, Neil, of Lester Prairie, and Thomas Ehrke and his wife, Niki, of Clovis, CA; great -grandchildren Henry Landin, Miles Landin, Taylor Kriz, Travis Dammann, Cory Dammann, Lillian Ehrke, Eli Ehrke, Brooke Noeldner, Hunter Noeldner, Chase Noeldner, Tobey Noeldner, Andrea Nelson, William Hecksel, Samuel Hecksel, Benjaman Hecksel, and Joshua Hecksel; and a great-great-grandchild, Domanik Dammann.
Earl is further survived by a brother, Clarence Ehrke and his wife, Ramona, of Lester Prairie; a sister, Doris Gatz and her husband, Orville, of Wayzata; brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Dallas Ehrke of Glencoe, and Evelyn Esping and her husband, Gary, of Woodbury; numerous nieces and nephews; other relatives and many friends.
In addition to his wife, Gladys, Earl was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Ida Ehrke; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Art and Blanche Vorlicek; a sister, Edna Fenske; a brother, Walter Ehrke; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Jean and Harold Hlavka; and other relatives.
Funeral services took place Thursday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Glencoe, followed by interment at the Bohemian National Cemetery in Rich Valley Township, Silver Lake. The Rev. Linzy Collins Jr. officiated at the services. Organist was Lon Roach. The Rev. Linzy Collins Jr. performed solos, “Asleep In Jesus,” “My Jesus I Love Thee,” and “Beyond The Sunset.” Special music was provided on CD, “Far Side Banks of Jordan.” The congregational hymn was “Just As I Am.”
Earl’s great-grandchildren were honorary casket bearers.
His grandchildren were Earl’s casket bearers: Brian Landin, Christine Dammann, Daniel Ehrke, Carrie Schrader, Karen Hecksel, Sharon Hecksel, and Thomas Ehrke.
Arrangements were by the Paul-McBride Funeral Chapel of Lester Prairie. Online obituaries and guest book available at www.hantge.com; click on Obituaries/Guest Book.