Bernard R. Gehrke, 96, of Independence, died Tuesday, January 27, 2015, at ABCM Rehabilitation Center in Independence.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, February 7, 2015, at St. John Lutheran Church in Sumner with Rev. Susan Friedrich officiating. Interment will follow at St. John Lutheran Cemetery in Sumner. Friends may call from 9:30 to service time at the church on Saturday. Becker-Milnes Funeral Home in Sumner is assisting the family.
Bernard Richard Gehrke, son of Robert and Amanda (Hack) Gehrke, was born July 6, 1918, in rural Sumner, Iowa. He was baptized on July 23, 1918 and attended country school through eighth grade. He married Eleanor Schortau in March of 1940. The couple had four children.
He farmed near Sumner and Hawkeye for many years, and also drove a feed truck for Fridley Feed Mill and a gravel truck for Croell Redi-Mix both of Sumner. He enjoyed deer hunting, square dancing, horses and music. He was proud of his children who all served in the military. After his divorce, he moved to Independence where he met his longtime companion, Phyllis Murdock, and found another career among the Amish near Fairbank.
He is survived by Phyllis Murdock of Independence; three children, Ronald “Butch” (Peggy) Gehrke of St. Charles, Illinois, Barbara Jo Gehrke of Waterloo, and Rodney “Skip” Gehrke of Lynchburg, Missouri; seven grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; as well as five nieces; two nephews; and a great niece. He is also survived by his many friends in the Amish community.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his oldest son, Richard (Erika) Gerke of Denver, Iowa (and Phoenix, Arizona); four sisters, Edna (Pete) Metcalf of Hawkeye, Gladys (Ray) Warner of Fayette, Hertha (Neil) Stiyer of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and Ruth (Percy) Foster of Sumner; one brother, Robert (Tootie, Betty) Gehrke of Sumner. Also preceding him in death were his parents-in-law; six brothers-in-law; and five sisters-in-law.