Ronald Frank Graunke, age 75, of Delano, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.
He was born March 2, 1944, in Delano, to George and Evelyn Graunke, the seventh of 14 children.
Ron served in the US Army for two years, and was stationed in Germany.
He married the “neighbor girl,” and the love of his life, Audrey, May 24, 1965, at St. Mark Lutheran Church in New Germany. Their union was blessed with three children and six grandchildren.
Ronnie was a member of the Operating Engineer’s Local 49B, and worked for Tri-State Drilling for 39 years.
He had a larger-than-life personality. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Ron loved camping, fishing, and went on many memorable hunting trips with his sons and brothers. His “catch of a lifetime” was a 195-pound halibut in Alaska in 2004.
Ronnie loved to “tinker,” take trips to the cabin, give ATV rides to the grandkids, and go to breakfast with his Tri-State buddies and his “Wednesday Wildlife Crew.” He loved to host parties for the Graunke family at their home in Watertown, play cards, and drive his sweetheart around in his 1966 Buick convertible and his “Lil Red Express.” He also loved to travel, and he and Audrey had visited all 50 states.
Ronnie is survived by his wife of 54 years, Audrey; children Lori Green, Jeff (Lori) Graunke, and Barry (Amy) Graunke; and grandchildren Megan, Jason, Calin, Reed, Ben and Chet.
He is further survived by his siblings, Patty Snodgrass (Larry), Lois Svoboda, Richard (Fran), Frank, Leroy (Blythe), Roger (Ginger) Graunke, and Carol Poliwoda; sister-in-law Leona Fiecke; and many nieces and nephews.
Ronnie was preceded in death by his parents, George and Evelyn; mother and father-in-law Art and Evelyn Domjahn; step father-in-law Alvin Domjahn; siblings Glenn “Bud,” Dale, Dennis, Barb and Judy Graunke, and Marlys Winsemann; and brothers-in-law Gene Fiecke, Leo Svoboda, and Duane Poliwoda.
Funeral services took place Monday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. at the Watertown Evangelical Free Church in Watertown, followed by military honors. There was visitation Sunday, Dec. 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Iten Funeral Home in Delano; and continued Monday from 10 to 11 a.m. at the church, prior to the service. Private family inurnment will be in the Watertown Public Cemetery at a later date.
Arrangements were with the Iten Funeral Home.